Department of Architecture and Design25 February 2016
The Honourable Nirmala Sitharaman
Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Ministry of Commerce and Industry Government of India
New Delhi 110107
Dear Madam Minister,
During a recent research trip to Delhi with colleagues from the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), I had the chance to get to know the eminent architect Raj Rewal and some of his seminal contributions to the face of modern Delhi. The work of Mr. Rewal is of key significance for modern and contemporary architecture not only in India and South Asia, but on a global scale. The Museum of Modern Art in New York is currently working on an acquisition of seminal projects by Mr. Rewal for our permanent collections, which will not only ensure their lasting significance, but also the possibility of presenting these works to an international audience on a regular basis.
Among the key projects we seek to represent in our collection are the Hall of Nations and the Nehru Pavalion, both in Pragati Maidan. I had a chance to personally visit these structures during my trip last month and was immensely impressed by the structural innovativeness and great spatial conception of both these projects. In particular, the Hall of Nations is known in Europe as in United States as the first large-scale spatial structure in concrete in the world. Built in a time of great optimism for the future, both structures were seminal in forging a new, modern identity for Indian society and architecture. They are architectural masterpieces and important witnesses of an important chapter in Indian history.
It has come to our attention that the Hall of Nations is currently under accurate threat of being demolished and replaced by a new building. In my capacity as The Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art, I would like to express my strong concern about these plans. The Hall of Nations and the Nehru Pavilion are outstanding representatives of Indi’s post-independence architectural heritage and for this reason must be preserved. The Museum of Modern Art is fully committed to helping in any way we can to ensure the preservation of these important monuments of modern architectural culture.
Prof. Dr. Martino Stierli
The Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design