The architect claims that reviews in international publications identify the project mostly as a ‘regionalist interpretation of modern architecture in India’, and praise it for not falling into the superficial rhetoric of 'post- and neo-modernisms' (sic)

The Library is admired for its exploration of local sources in all senses. As one critic put it, ‘Sources of inspiration and the material of its construction largely emanate from the soil on which it stands’ (Jain 2002, 5).1 Also much emphasised is its reconciling of binary constructs around tradition and modernity, or east and west, as in: ‘marrying modernity and traditions while resisting pastiche banalities and global formulae’ or ‘a contemporary architecture rooted in traditional wisdom’ (Arun Rewal 2002, 14, 19).2  Or the building is said to have demonstrated ‘that it is indeed possible to straddle the fine line that demarcates modernity, tradition and innovation without subscribing to a revivalist agenda’ (Singh 2002, 28, 21).3 Reviews in foreign publications identify the project mostly as a ‘regionalist interpretation of modern architecture in India’, and praise it for not falling into the superficial rhetoric of post- and neo-modernisms (Pavesi and Quintelli 2006, 54).4

The ‘pursuit of Indianness’ is seen by Krishna Menon (2001, 28)5 analysis explains the crux of the Library complex: ‘The architect’s buildings draw from memory and geometry. He utilises these tools to create two related constructs, one poetically ambiguous and another structurally precise.’

  • 1. Jain, Jyotindra, ‘Cultural Context’, Raj Rewal, Library for the Indian Parliament, Architecture Research Cell, Delhi 2002, 5-6
  • 2. Rewal, Arun, ‘Cultural Context’, Raj Rewal, Library for the Indian Parliament, Architecture Research Cell, Delhi 2002, 14-19
  • 3. Singh, Rahoul B., ‘Context and Innovation’, Raj Rewal, Library for the Indian Parliament, Architecture Research Cell, Delhi 2002, 21-9
  • 4. Pavesi, Claudio, Quintelli, Carlo, ‘The Modernity of Tradition: Parliament Library, New Delhi’, Rassegna (Bologna), June 2006, 44-53
  • 5. Menon, Krishna A. G., ‘Raj Rewal, Recent Works’, Architecture + Design (New Delhi), July-August 2001, 25-9 (also, anonymous in the same issue: ‘Sagacious Spatial Enclosures’ 70-7)[/fm] as having not just a regional but a universal relevance. Menon questions worn-out statements such as ‘within the Indian tradition, built in a contemporary idiom, without mimicry of past historical styles’. Yet, according to him, such clichéd explanations sound timeless in Rewal’s case ‘because he translates the familiar into a credible architectural design; one marvels at Rewal’s felicity in resolving the “messy complexity” of building in India, and attempting, and achieving the intended rasa he has attributed to be appropriate for architectural design of this building’. (Rasa, literally meaning liquids or juice, refers to something that appeals to and moves the mind.) Arun Rewal’s (2003, 19)Rewal, Arun, ‘Memory and Geometry’, Raj Rewal, Selected Architectural Works, Exhibition Catalogue, Architecture Research Cell, Delhi 2003, 19-21

Source: Aga Khan Award-Contest application