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New Parliament building will be bigger in size and have more amenities

A sketch of the Lok Sabha hall in the new building. Photo: HCP Design, Planning and Management Pvt. Ltd.  

The design of the new Parliament is complete, detailed and construction-ready. Located next to the existing one, it is almost one and a half times larger in size and capacity.

The purpose of the new building, at one level, is to offer upgraded and expanded facilities for the functioning of Parliament. At another, when completed in 2022, it will serve as a landmark to commemorate the 75th year of Indian independence. Here are the details of the design.

Also read: Construction of new parliament to start in December

In October 2019, the government selected HCP Design, Planning and Management, an Ahmedabad-based architecture firm, to design the new Parliament and redevelop the area around the Central Vista. The architects chose the triangular plot next to the existing Parliament to build a new one. As a result, the proposed structure is triangularly shaped in contrast to the existing circular one. The proposal tries hard to limit the contrast to shape. Through materials and façade design, the new Parliament wants to appear as carefully restrained, and look as old and similar to the existing one. However, in terms of amenities and finish, it is sumptuous.

Wider vistas: A sketch of the VIP entrance at the new building. Photo: HCP Design, Planning and Management Pvt. Ltd.

Wider vistas: A sketch of the VIP entrance at the new building. Photo: HCP Design, Planning and Management Pvt. Ltd.  

 

At the core of the proposed Parliament are three spaces: Lok Sabha hall, Rajya Sabha hall and the central lounge built around an open courtyard. Interlinking them is the constitutional hall. This grand space, located in the centre of the complex, will exhibit the original copy of the Constitution and icons of national leaders.

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The total built-up area of the proposed Parliament, spread over four floors, is about 64,500 sq.m that is 17,000 sq.m more than the existing one.

The proposed Lok Sabha hall, located on the ground floor, anticipates an increase in the number of people representatives in the years to come. It plans to accommodate 888 members, 336 more than the current maximum strength. Similarly, Rajya Sabha will accommodate 384 in place of the current capacity of 245.

The elevation of new Parliament showing Public entrance

The elevation of new Parliament showing Public entrance   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

 

There is no drastic change in the seating arrangement that may have led to alternative forms of debate. It continues to be fan-shaped. The difference being that every member will have a desk in front, which is currently available only for the front rows. Enough space behind the seat for free movement, and digital system and touch screen for each member are some of the new features.

Also read: ‘A new Parliament building is prudent’

Also, the assembly halls will have an intuitive multilingual graphical user interface, dual authentication based biometrics and RFID, and digital Ink based nameplates with automatic naming.

Besides the parliament halls on the ground floor, there are offices for the Prime Minister, Speaker and Ministers. In the above two floors are more rooms for ministers, a dining hall, and the expanded media gallery. Infrastructure facilities and office rooms are located on the lower ground floor.

When it comes to the existing Parliament, Dr. Bimal Patel, Director, HCP Design informed that “both buildings, the existing and new Parliaments will work in conjunction. Some functions will move to the new while some will remain in retrofitted and refurbished exiting buildings.”

The proposed Parliament will be under total surveillance with separate access for MPs, Speaker, Prime Minister and public. While the car parking within the building is limited to about 110 vehicles, the proposal makes space for 1,100 cars within the entire parliament complex, including the existing Parliament, library and annexe.

Surprisingly, except for a tall Asoka lion head on the top like a finial, the new Parliament appears to eschew any overt symbolism. The design has come a long way from its earlier version which had a tall sloping spire over the central space. In contrast, it suffuses the interior with symbolism and decor rooted in traditional motifs and elements. Abstracted peacock feathers for panels, lotus motifs for roofs, floral inlay patterns on floors and intricate wooden jalis abound.

“We have tried to harmonise the architecture of new with the old Parliament. They will be closely related in many ways and will function as one,” Dr. Patel remarked.

In terms of construction and materials, it seeks to use high-grade stainless steel and self-compacting concrete. There are plans to obtain a five-star GRIHA rating for its sustainable building practices and waste management systems.

The new parliament project is currently held up because of appeals against its construction in the Supreme Court. However, the government, on its part looks like it is getting construction ready. In the event of a favourable judgment, it would possibly commence quickly and try to catch up with its 2022 deadline.

(The author is a Professor at CEPT University)

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Printable version | Mar 5, 2021 5:08:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/new-parliament-will-seat-888-lok-sabha-mps/article33059799.ece

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