Extension to the India International Centre
A small yet significant addition to one of the most important architectural works of the city
SGA underwent a stringent selection process for need based expansion to the Centre: a building that has attained the status of a heritage structure for the city of Delhi. Joseph Stein’s architecture of the sixties has a timeless quality that seeks to find a sense of place through built volumes that are more gestures in the landscape than buildings. To add to a structure so etched in the collective consciousness of people without mimicking it was the biggest challenge for the office. Our response was to use the material technology of the existing but deviate from the linear arrangement of the Guest Room block and the Fellows Flats. The 300 person multipurpose hall, along with flexible conference rooms, a basement office space and a second floor gallery space creates a knot at the end of the line in the north east corner of the site. The new Kamala Devi Chattopadhyaya block brings a very useful addition to the growing needs of the Centre.
Though there is a timeless character to the architecture, the buildings of the Centre were planned for a limited number of members and activities. Membership has increased exponentially, from170 to over 5,000 today, and there has been a dramatic increase in programmes and activities. The IIC is today the first choice for all major cultural programmes and intellectual activities in the country. Consequently, the users of the Centre, as well as those who organize programmes and activities experience a variety of inconveniences and problems. For example: there is no pre-function area for the Auditorium, resulting in crowding in the foyer and disturbance to those working in the Library and when all day seminars are held at the Auditorium there is no covered space for meals, resulting in crowding of the central area of the IIC, and destroying its tranquility. Considering these and other constraints that the Centre faces, it was decided to submit a proposal to the Board of Trustees for creation of additional infrastructure.
Selection of the Architect
The proposal emphasized that:-
i) Creation of additional infrastructure should be directly related to removal of existing operational constraints and the provision of additional space required for efficient functioning of the Centre in its present range of activities.
ii) Additional facilities should result in decongestion of the central area of the Centre.
iii) Certain additional facilities, particularly additional residential rooms, should be constructed, keeping in mind the need for generation
of additional revenues; All of this must be achieved by maintaining inviolate, the vision and creations of Stein.
It was therefore decided to choose an Architect and a Project Management Consultant from amongst only those who had worked with