India Habitat Centre
Interiors for Auditorium, Conference block and Library
The office was invited by Joseph Allen Stein to provide the interior architecture of the main conference/ cultural complex of the India Habitat Centre. The scope required detailed design of the total work that cost about 35 million Rupees in 1994. The services required careful coordination of complex service lines negotiated so that the interiors architecture reflected the structural skeleton designed in Stein's office. Customised furniture pieces were developed for each area that are still in use (last updated, November 2014). Plantation rubber wood along with Indian stones has been extensively used throughout the design providing warmth to the colour pallete.
A complex of public buildings each pursuing habitat related objectives such as HUDCO, TERI, NABARD, DUAC etc form the main components of India Habitat Centre – such collective public buildings are not uncommon in Delhi as can be found in the CGO complex, the well executed Scope complex, Bhikaji Cama Place – Nehru Place etc. However, they all suffer from the common problem in its urban context that these large part of cities where these exists, become dead after the office hours are over. What makes IHC apart, is its unique composition of integrating components that keep it culturally alive the whole day and through late evenings. The incorporation of auditorium for performances, the conference rooms, the banquet halls and a well stacked unified library (a unique idea in itself) imparts IHC the quality which has made it today the most successful cultural centre serving whole of Delhi in the midst of office complex.
Interior Architecture of the Cultural Zone
It was this special component of the IHC that the office was invited to design the interiors, of by the principal architect Joseph Allen Stein. The challenge was to carry the theme of honest expression of forms material and structure made of mainly concrete and brick infill walls. This challenging design problem was carried out by the use of recycled rubber wood, as wall paneling and stone in the flooring while the ceiling truthfully expressed the coffered structure of large span spaces, such as the auditorium and conference rooms. The vocabulary was spartan yet expressive like that of the main structure. The terracotta and grey was gently converted in the interiors to the light beige of rubber wood the green marbles of floor highlighted with white, gray and occasionally yellow Jaisalmer stone.