Legendary Architect of India – Raj Rewal
Raj Rewal was born in 1934 in Hoshiarpur, Punjab, India. He created a revolution in geometric design systems. Creation of geometric systems and responding visual imageries are apparent in Raj Rewal’s architectural works.
Education of Raj Rewal
He lived in Delhi and Shimla for a couple of years in his childhood that is from 1939 – 1951. He attended Harcourt Butler higher secondary school. In 1951-1954, he attended Delhi School of Architecture in New Delhi.
He was very imaginative and a creative person. His imaginative perception helped him go a long way. He believed in gaining knowledge and then applied his knowledge mingled with creativity in his projects.
After completing the post graduation in Architecture; in 1955-1961, he moved to London and attended the architectural association of architecture for one year. He completed his formal professional training at the Brixton school of building, London.
Raj Rewal took up his first job as an assistant stage manager for several avante grade theatre production in London. He became an associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects, London.
Raj Rewal worked with Michel Ecochards’s office in Paris before starting his practice in New Delhi. He designed designed the Asiad Village and the Parliament Library in New Delhi. He got married to a Lady named Helene from France in 1962.
He set up his own architectural practice in 1962 when he returned back to Delhi. In 1963-72, he taught at the Delhi School of Architecture. He opened his second Architectural Office at Tehran, Iran in 1974. Ram Sharma was his associate in the foundation of the Architectural Research Cell in 1985. In 1986, he became the curator of the exhibition “Traditional Architecture in India” for the festival of India in Paris.
Professional Life Experiences
He completed his Graduation in the field of Architecture in Europe.
He met with 3 encounters which shaped his architectural ideology. He developed his ideology and followed it for the rest of his life.
- First encounter, he relates to his interest in structures during which he developed during the review of his diploma projects.
- Second one accounts on his working experience that he gained while he was working as an assistant manager for several Avante Grade theatre productions in London. As a set designer for the drama shows, he learnt that each dramatic work had a particular character which he interpreted as the rasa of the building.
- Third encounter, as I mentioned earlier, he worked with Michel Ecohard in Paris, before beginning his own architectural practice. In this office, he learned the principles of Urban design and Planning.
Later on, he was offered an opportunity to work on the design of a space frame structure that was going to be constructed as a Museum in Kuwait.
Exhibition Pavilions at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi has been designed by him.
He was assigned a Project of the design of a Parliament Library which he designed beautifully with lot of grace and also adding majestic qualities to the structure. He convinced the European consultants to develop an unusual structural system for the Ismaili centre and the central public works department to undertake the construction of stone columns and ferro cement domes for the Parliament Library.
Influences of Raj Rewal
The two major influence that he encountered is the time when he returned to India. He admits that those influences have helped him in his development as an architect.
- When he became a Professor at the School of Planning and Architecture in New Delhi
- After studying the Projects of Le Corbusier
Corbusier made contemporary designs. After the success achieved by him in the planning of Chandigarh City, it became evident to Raj Rewal that Modern means can be applied to build in India.
He developed a sense of Contemporary style as well as learned to retain the traditionalism of India.
I will discuss more about Raj Rewal’s Architectural Philosophy and his Features of Design in my articles in near future.