24th Sep 2019
The Institute of Architects, Northern Chapter (IIA-NC) along with IIA Haryana Chapter and SPA Alumni Association, New Delhi have been actively involved in issues concerning Architecture and the built environment. Its members also form part of the committee on the Central Vista and other professional bodies.
Any urban redevelopment in Delhi is fraught with consequences more so as it serves as a role model for redevelopment in the rest of the country. In the context of the planned redevelopment of the Central Vista and Parliament House, the members of IIA had attended the pre-bid meeting with the CPWD and raised the issues related to the conduct and format of the redevelopment process. They had also suggested a comprehensive way forward. Subsequently, there have been some statements by the Hon’ble Minister and other officials.
However, there has been no detailed response or clarification on the issues raised by the IIA NC or the recommended way forward as per guidelines issued by the Council of Architecture. The CPWD appears to be moving full steam ahead on its current course with the site visits also planned for 26 Sep 19 in what appears to be unseemly haste. This will lead to disastrous consequences as any redevelopment in such a sensitive zone needs to be planned in a holistic manner.
Please find attached herewith a brief note on the subject and in order to highlight the issues further, we invite you / your colleague journalist to a Press Conference on 25 Sep 2019 at 4:00PM at the ITPI Conference Room, Institute of Town Planners, India, 4-A, Ring Road, I.P. Estate, New Delhi – 110002
|Ar. Shamit Manchanda
Chairman, IIA Northern Chapter
|Ar Punit Sethi
Chairman, IIA Haryana Chapter
Chairman, SPA New Delhi Alumni Association
BRIEF NOTE ON THE REDEVELOPMENT PLAN FOR CENTRAL VISTA AND PARLIAMENT BUILDING
The architectural fraternity is extremely concerned with the hasty and unplanned manner in which a major national landmark area like the Central Vista and Parliament is sought to be altered. The CPWD design brief in the tender document inviting bids does not include any data or inputs which are required for planning a project of this nature and is extremely vague and open-ended. It lacks any purpose or direction leaving it to the lowest bidder to decide. As responsible professionals, we are also extremely concerned at this methodology of selection of the lowest bidder akin to a supplier of goods. Would we be willing to go for the lowest bidder in the case of other professionals like doctors and lawyers is a question which we need to ask. We note with deep concern that despite the apex professional bodies like the Council of Architecture and the Indian Institute of Architects has written to the concerned Minister and also to the CPWD to conduct an open design competition as per the existing norms by COA and even internationally, no response has been forthcoming. In fact, the CPWD appears to be going ahead on its current course with full speed as it has planned on a site visit with some architectural firms on 26 Sep 2019 (Thursday) and is planning to ring in the bids with a delay of just one week from the original date ie by 30 Sep 2019.
It is deeply disturbing that the rich cultural heritage in one of the most environmentally sensitive areas of the country and serving as a symbol of iconic value for the entire country is sought to be altered in such a meretricious manner. It is nobody’s case that the Central Vista Area needs to be developed and that the building infrastructure is in dire need of up-gradation. What is extremely worrying is the manner in which this is being planned.
The IIA NC, therefore, recommends that an advisory team is drawn from eminent professionals including architects, urban designers, art historians and other associated professionals be formed to lay out a roadmap and prepare a comprehensive design brief for the development of the area. Architecture. As the first stage, a comprehensive positive urban development plan should be worked out with widespread consultations with other associated professionals, prominent public individuals, stakeholders and the general public. The second stage would include the detailed planning of buildings along with their repurposing and adaptive reuse. This would be coupled with an integrated open space development plan in an interdisciplinary approach with the incorporation of advice from landscape architects, conservation architects, transport planners and related stakeholders. This would be in conformity with the best practices all over the globe. It is needless to say that architecture is neither about the numerical strength of working hands nor can financially measurable parameters to ensure the best results. The selection of the lowest bidder sought to be followed in such prestigious urban redevelopment projects is an open invitation for an unmitigated cultural and environmental disaster and needs to be strongly discouraged.