The architecture of Indian buildings of the newly independent India came with the expectations of having a new identity and development of the nation. Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of the newly independent nation, took the initiative to develop the architecture in the country and envisioned a modern and functional development. He believed that having a new India would mean having modern thoughts, modern adaptations, and new technologies and so he invited Le Corbusier to develop the nation. This new approach created differences among the people and the then architects of India.

Many architects were sent for training in other countries, whereas the others living in India adhered to the traditional legacy of Indian architecture. Apart from Modernism, Revivalism too grew giving a new identity to modern India.

Here is a list of 10 Indian buildings that were built after independence—each symbolizing the freedom of expression and powerful ideologies for the nation’s identity.

1. Vidhana Soudha, Bangalore | Indian Buildings

Vidhana Soudha designed by architect B.R. Manickam and built-in 1956 displays the revivalist style of architecture in full power since the nation was bound to the historical sentiments after it got independence.

Unlike the Modernist style, the Revivalist style was about looking for inspiration from past styles.

Vidhana Soudha is built in the Neo-Dravidian style to sustain the historical identity of the nation. As a tribute to the temple architecture of the earlier period, Vidhana Soudha is designed as a tribute to temple architecture of the earlier period and is seen in the building – the carved pillars, pediments, elaborate arches, and granite construction.

Indian Buildings - Vidhan Soudha, Bangalore - Sheet1
Vidhana Soudha ©
Vidhan Soudha, Bangalore - Sheet2
Vidhana Soudha ©
Vidhan Soudha, Bangalore - Sheet3
Vidhana Soudha ©

2. IIT, Kanpur | Buildings in India

Achyut Kanvide, the architect of IIT Kanpur, was sent for architectural training at Harvard and MIT and was greatly influenced by the ideology of architect Walter Gropius who spread the principles from the Bauhaus movement. 

After returning to India, Kanvide’s designs, especially the IIT Kanpur campus (1960), displayed a strong architectural character that followed functionalism and regionalism. He planned the campus according to the functions and designed it to be flexible in terms of connectivity throughout the campus. Kanvide showed the use of the expressionist style in this design by using concrete and regionalism by using bricks.


Indian Buildings - IIT, Kanpur - Sheet1
IIT, Kanpur - Sheet2
IIT, Kanpur - Sheet3

3. Indian Institute Of Management, Ahmedabad | Buildings of India

The architecture of IIMA, built-in 1974, strongly shows Louis Kahn’s concern for the hot climate of India. He blended modern style with Indian architecture and used bricks extensively as local vernacular materials, and limited the use of concrete. The massive forms with punctures of geometric shapes, long corridors, and connectivity between the buildings express functionality boldly.

Indian Buildings - Indian Institute Of Management, Ahmedabad - Sheet1
Indian Institute of Management ©Jeroen Verrecht
Indian Institute Of Management, Ahmedabad - Sheet
Indian Institute of Management ©
Indian Institute Of Management, Ahmedabad - Sheet3
Indian Institute of Management ©Laurian Ghinitoiu

4. Palace Of Assembly, Chandigarh | Indian Building

Le Corbusier designed the Capitol Complex comprising three buildings, the Palace of Assembly, the High Court, and the Secretariat, as Nehru envisioned modern India to be. Nehru believed in modernism not only in terms of materials and design but modernism in terms of thoughts, in terms of functions and light and ventilation. He held a strong belief in leaving behind the elaborate styles in design used in the past for the functional development of the nation. 

Corbusier also used the five points of architecture in the Palace of Assembly – pilotis that give the appearance of the structure being above the ground, free façade, and open plan because of the grid of reinforced concrete columns, long strips of windows, and functional roof for usable space. He also used colors as a symbol of modernism.

Indian Buildings - Palace Of Assembly, Chandigarh - Sheet1
Palace of Assembly ©Roberto Conte
Palace Of Assembly, Chandigarh - Sheet2
Palace of Assembly ©Alexey Naroditskiy
Palace Of Assembly, Chandigarh - Sheet3
Palace of Assembly ©Eduardo Guiot

5. Gandhi Ashram, Ahmedabad

Gandhi too, envisioned the development of India post-independence, by keeping connected to the traditional and vernacular designs. Charles Correa designed the Sabarmati Ashram in 1963 keeping Gandhi’s vision in mind for architectural development of the post-Independence era. 

Gandhi, being bound to traditional village communities, wanted to sustain the principles of design, the materials of the traditional era, as he opposed the idea of industrialization and modernism in architecture. Gandhi Ashram reflects the traditional as well as modernist style, which Charles Correa has designed with a blend of traditional culture by using bricks and keeping the structures open and airy having courtyards, but followed the modernist style of functionalism. 

Indian Buildings - Gandhi Ashram, Ahmedabad - Sheet1
Gandhi Ashram ©Arastu Gupta
Gandhi Ashram, Ahmedabad - Sheet2
Gandhi Ashram ©Mi Chenxing
Gandhi Ashram, Ahmedabad - Sheet3
Gandhi Ashram ©

6. Rabindra Bhavan, Delhi | Buildings of India

Rabindra Bhavan was built in 1963 to mark the birth centenary of Rabindranath Tagore, who was a beloved poet and playwright of India. Architect Habib Rahman, like Achyut Kanvide, was sent for training at Harvard and MIT. He returned to India bringing the concepts from the Bauhaus movement. He designed Rabindra Bhavan just like Nehru envisioned it to be. 

Influences from the Bauhaus movement are visible strongly on the façades as well in the interiors in terms of functionality. He tried to blend these lines with traditional Indian architecture by designing jaalis for natural light and ventilation and chajjas to block the strong sunlight.

Indian Buildings - Rabindra Bhavan, Delhi - Sheet1
Ravindra Bhavan ©
Rabindra Bhavan, Delhi - Sheet2
Ravindra Bhavan ©
Rabindra Bhavan, Delhi - Sheet3
Ravindra Bhavan ©

7. National Cooperative Development Corporation, New Delhi

Also known as the Pyjama building, NCDC, designed by Kuldip Singh, is a type of modernist building expressing bold and distinct form having a massive volume. The building is made of exposed concrete and has a central core. This is also a structurally complex building, but it is modern in terms of Nehru’s vision of having modern thoughts, and a desire to represent strength, will, and power. It was built in 1980 under the structural designer Mahendra Raj. 

Indian Buildings - National Cooperative Development Corporation, New Delhi - Sheet1
National Cooperative Development Corporation ©
National Cooperative Development Corporation, New Delhi - Sheet2
National Cooperative Development Corporation ©
National Cooperative Development Corporation, New Delhi - Sheet3
National Cooperative Development Corporation ©

8. Centre For Development Studies, Trivandrum

Laurie Baker too was of the ideology to sustain the traditional architecture of India and continue with the traditional styles and materials—the Gandhian style. He extensively made use of the local materials like bricks and local tiles for roofing in the structures that suited the local climate and harmonized with the environment. 

In the Centre For Development Studies built-in 1971, he wisely blended vernacular elements with innovative curvy forms and used filler’s slab and sloping roof with Mangalore tiles to reduce the consumption of modern materials like steel and concrete. He designed climate-responsive buildings and provided natural ventilation and light throughout the structures by using jalis and courtyards

Indian Buildings - Centre For Development Studies, Trivandrum - Sheet1
Center for Development Studies ©
Centre For Development Studies, Trivandrum - Sheet2
Center for Development Studies © 
Centre For Development Studies, Trivandrum - Sheet3
Center for Development Studies © 

9. Kanchanjunga Apartments, Mumbai | Buildings in India

A mark of modern architecture in residential buildings is the Kanchanjunga apartments in Mumbai by Charles Correa built in the year 1983. Kanchanjunga features climate-responsive architecture and is designed as a response to urbanization for the current age. 

Correa incorporated elements like deep verandahs, an element influenced by traditional Indian architecture, to cover it from the heat and rain. He continued with a similar ideology to mix traditional style with modernism and functional spaces, as he did in Gandhi Ashram, Ahmedabad.

Indian Buildings - Kanchanjunga Apartments, Mumbai - Sheet1
Kanchanjunga Apartments ©
Kanchanjunga Apartments, Mumbai - Sheet2
Kanchanjunga Apartments ©
Kanchanjunga Apartments, Mumbai - Sheet3
Kanchanjunga Apartments ©

10. Lotus temple, Delhi | Indian Buildings

Lotus Temple is another type of expressionist architecture built in the year 1986. Architect Fariborz Sahba designed it wisely for the people of all faith in a modern style. It is inspired by the lotus flower, and the design does not imitate any style. It is based on form, geometry, light, water, and ventilation.

Indian Buildings - Lotus temple, Delhi - Sheet1
Lotus Temple ©
Lotus temple, Delhi - Sheet2
Lotus Temple © Dinudey Baidya
Lotus temple, Delhi - Sheet3
Lotus Temple ©slenders

Pranjali is a passionate artist and an architect who loves to blend her designs with nature. She designs meticulously and is always exploring the impact of architectural spaces on user's mind and body. You will find her lost in travelling, daydreams, books, and also on mountain trails.