The Parliament Library, the Asian Games Village, and now Paris. Raj Rewal, architect of many landmark buildings in modern Delhi, will be occupying an entire monographic room of Paris’s celebrated Pompidou Centre come October.
“I think my architecture which is modern and yet rooted in Indian sensibilities has appealed to them as modern architecture is usually based on European aesthetics,” says Raj Rewal, adding that a formal letter has been sent to him by the museum. According to the letter, the exhibition will be up for at least nine months and is meant to be representative of the richness of Indian architecture for the past 50 years.
“Most of the architecture of the 1970s and 1980s in India was original concepts. My Nehru Pavilion which was built some time during the 1970s is hugely appreciated and will form part of the exhibition, as will some of my other works like the Indian National Science Academy,” he says, adding that the building was one of his biggest challenges but he was able to carry it off because he had a more labour intensive work force. “India’s biggest advantage is its labour intensive industry and its highly skilled craftsmen,” he says.
He also says that there was a bigger challenge when the buildings he was commissioned to do was next to some other landmark building which meant that his work had to be “harmonious with the other building but with a different ethos”.
Although Mr. Rewal admits that he admired one or two of his contemporaries in the modern architecture genre, it was the older “moderns” that were his true inspirations. “Jaisalmer, Fatehpur Sikri and Jantar Mantar are the most modern buildings yet and are my constant inspiration,” he says.
He points out that he had showcased some of his works earlier in Holland and Italy but that this exhibition is more special. “I am the only Indian so far to have been given this honour,” he adds.