Structuring Form Celebrates the Innovative Rigour of Structural Engineer, Mahendra Raj

The exhibition will be on display till December 25, 2019 at the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi, India.

Akbar Hotel, New Delhi, India

The Kiran Nadar Museum of Art is presenting Structuring Form, a special exhibition detailing seven architectural projects, raised by the structural engineering genius of Mahendra Raj out of his 250 projects. The exhibition highlights the collaborative alliance between the architect and the structural engineer (and teams), which often remain understated. The productive process and nature of working together may enter explorations of new construction materials, arriving at exciting patterns and textures, sourcing low cost materials and articulating in built forms, the dramatic play between space and scale.

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium, Ahmedabad, India

The projects like the Hall of Nations, the Akbar Hotel, and the NCDC Office building in New Delhi, the Hindon River Mills in Ghaziabad, the Municipal Stadium and Tagore Memorial Theatre in Ahmedabad, and the Indoor Sports Stadium in Srinagar find a special place in this exhibition, alongside chronicling the career of this engineering innovator.

Hall of Nations, New Delhi, India

Architects like Charles Correa (Municipal Stadium, Ahmedabad), Raj Rewal (Hall of Nations, New Delhi), BV Doshi (Tagore Memorial Hall, Ahmedabad), Kuldeep Singh (NCDC Building, New Delhi) are considered hallmarks of modern India architecture. It was arguably their partnership with a structural engineer like Mahendra Raj that phenomenal modernist architecture found space on the developing Indian terrain. Mahendra’s career can be mapped together with the period of India’s post-Independence modernisation, a period marked by massive constructions flourishing across the country that would eventually change its urban landscape.

Tagore Memorial Hall, Ahmedabad, India

The ambition of a budding nation like India was marked by widespread building of structures like stadia, theatres, bridges, dams, factories, airports, hospitals, universities and banks. The first prime minister of Independent India Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru hailed modern industrial buildings as the new age temples of modern India. Throughout the several ups and downs witnessed by the Indian economy over the decades, the developmental work that entailed a nation’s infrastructure was distinguished by recruiting a resourceful, avant-garde pioneer like Mahendra Raj.

Hindon River Mills, Ghaziabad, India

Concrete as a building material was popular across the world, when Mahendra Raj executed these structures, however the material had its own limitations. In the 1960s, India was far from intense mechanisation unlike the western countries, Raj used this shortcoming to his advantage and experimented with structures, with the availability of affordable material and labour.

NCDC Office Building, New Delhi, India

For Exhibition "Structuring Form: Innovative Rigour of Mahendra Raj", All contemporary colour photographs are (© 2019 by Ariel Huber, 'Photography: Ariel Huber, Lausanne')

All drawings and archival photographs are copyright (© 2019 by Mahendra Raj Archives), Mahendra Raj Archive