Architect icon Raj Rewal

Architect Raj Rewal has for a long time set global precedents with his urban narratives of design that have been integrally and richly steeped in their contextual inferences.

Raj Rewal born on 24 November 1934 is a leading Indian architect. He lived in Delhi and Shimla from 1934–1951. He attended Harcourt Butler Higher Secondary School. Between 1951 and 1954 he attended the Delhi School of Architecture in New Delhi. After completing a degree in architecture in New Delhi, he moved to London in 1955 where he lived until 1961. He attended the Architectural Association School of Architecture for one year and the Brixton School of Building, London from 1956-60.

Raj Rewal worked at Michel Ecochard’s office in Paris before starting his practice in New Delhi in 1962. Between 1963-72, he taught at the School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi. He opened a second office in Tehran, Iran in 1974. Among his better-known projects are the Hall of Nations (Hall 6) at the Pragati Maidan Exhibition Centre, demolished in April 2017, Asiad Village Complex, National Institute of Immunology (NII), New Delhi; the Parliament Library in New Delhi and NCBS (National Centre for Biological Sciences) campus at Bangalore.

In 1986, he became the curator of the exhibition “Traditional Architecture in India” for the Government of India organized festival of India in Paris. He also designed an architectural college (SIUPA) in Rohtak and is head of members in academic council. In 2018 his drawings and models were added to the New York Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection, making him the first Indian architect to be represented. A distinguished doyen of architecture from India, Raj Rewal has, for long, set global precedents with his urban narratives of design that have been integrally and richly steeped in their contextual inferences.

The concerted juxtaposition of traditional concepts and contemporary syntax is reflective of his fascination for weaving expressions of heritage and history into a modern vocabulary, often revealing layer upon layer of intuitive interpretation and deep meaning. Effortlessly threading together episodes of design, he merges scale with surroundings and geometry with rhythm; binds space with structure and nuance; modulates form and light, and courses the exterior through the interior to create a series of interconnected experiences as distinct from each other as they are together.

Through a repertoire of residential, housing, public and institutional buildings, his work is characterized by his concern for the climate and the creation of humane architecture. Spanning over five decades, Raj Rewal’s architecture is that of ambition and hope, duly exploring space, form-making, structural and construction ingenuity and material possibilities; forever seeking new horizons in his distinct, personalised idiom — an amalgamation of tradition and innovation.

He has taught at the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi and given extensive guest lectures at renowned Universities, Institutes and Museums such as the Sri Lankan Institute of Architects, French Institute of Architects, RIBA, World Chinese Architects Conference, Universities of Ankara, MIT, Harvard, London, Roger Williams University, Hay Festival Segovia, Rome and Parma.

He has been awarded an honorary doctorate by GD Goenka University and Poornima University. Despite his rigorous education and training in modernist design aesthetics, Raj Rewal remains rooted in the culture of his native India. He is best known for his institutional projects. These complexes respond to the hot, dry climate and urban environment, providing interlocking spaces, streets, pavilions, terraces, and gardens surrounded by buildings. They are meshed in a system that responds to climate as well as the pragmatic requirements of each scheme.

Content and images from various internet resources

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