Bala Krishana V Doshi, Mahendra Raj and Jatin Das attend the architects’ meet

Bhubaneswar, Sept 20: India’s two best known architects, Bala Krishna V Doshi and Mahendra Raj, shared their views on modern architecture with young architecture students of the city at an event organised by the JD Centre of Art held at IDCOL Auditorium here Wednesday. Sharing his experiences as an architect in independent India, Doshi said: “Being new citizens of a country which had just achieved independence, everybody in the country tried to give their best in the different activities they were involved in. We were more focused to prove ourselves than to think about earning.” “Being an architect, my focus was to create buildings which would be unique. We had limited resources but were inspired and had lofty dreams. We believed nothing was impossible,” added Doshi.

The internationally acclaimed architect is also a known educator and institution builder. He is the founder director of the School of Architecture in Ahmedabad, first founder director of the School of Planning and dean of Centre for Environment Planning and Technology. Mahendra Raj, who is widely regarded as one of the most inventive engineers in the country, has created some iconic buildings like the ‘Hall of Nations’ and ‘Hall of Industries’ at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi, which was the first large span space frame in reinforced concrete in the world. Unfortunately, following a Supreme Court ruling, the iconic building was demolished in April this year. Dwelling on modern architecture, Raj said: “We have monuments which tell us about the marvellous architectural history of the country.

Their existence is proof of an age-old legacy. Before and after independence, many modern buildings and monuments were constructed which are examples of changing architectural concepts in India. These structures need to be protected.” Lamenting the demolition of the ‘Hall of Nations’, which was built to mark the 25th anniversary of Indian Independence, Raj said: “That iconic building was unique and it took us 20 months to complete. Originally, we wanted to build a steel frame but at that time it was very difficult to get steel, so we decided to construct it using concrete. The contractors stated it wouldn’t be possible to construct the structure, and I used to visit the site daily to guide them.” “We tried to our best to protect the building but failed. Today the ‘Hall of Nations’ does not exist, only its sketches and photographs reflect our architectural vision,” he added. Scores of young architects interacted with Bala Krishna V Doshi and Mahendra Raj on the sidelines of the event.

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