Can anyone imagine a similar challenge to the Sydney Opera House, Eiffel Tower, or the Guggenheim Museum?
Change and continuity are constants in every city – but a good city is one that balances the two adeptly. It ensures that while developing and absorbing change, there is enough space for memories to persist, for the preservation of iconic heritage monuments. In a good city, the deep structures, the buildings that provide a continuum, are not built upon.
Delhi has several deep structures, not least among them the historic Hall of Nations and Nehru Pavilion at Pragati Maidan – which the government is hell-bent on demolishing, despite opposition from heritage conservation groups and architects.
The government claims that it wants to build a convention centre in place of the complex in Pragati Maidan, but architects and planners have questioned the wisdom of this choice. A convention center is already being built near the Indira Gandhi International Airport close to the hotels in Gurgaon and Delhi, and another is planned in Dwarka. Yet another is slated for up-gradation in Greater Noida. Planners say that even if the authorities were to overlook the international model of building convention centres near airports and hotels, the secured edge of Safdarjung Airport provides a more viable option than Pragati Maidan – above all, it would not further clog Delhi.