If you had to boil Indian architecture down to a single word, what would it be? Elegant? Complex? Showy? Grand? Weird? Well, it sure is all of this and more. From the mesmerizing ancient shrines to futuristic towers that reflect the country’s multi-faceted socio-economic progress, Indian architecture demonstrates where we are from and where we are going. 

Here are ten Modern Indian Structural marvels from across one of the most historically and culturally rich countries:

1. Bandra-Worli Sea Link, Mumbai

The Bandra–Worli linkway located in Mumbai, is an eight-lane sea bridge that connects Bandra in the Western Suburbs of the city with Worli of South Mumbai. It is a cable-stayed bridge held by pre-stressed concrete and steel viaducts placed on either side. 

The Bandra–Worli megastructure was the first infrastructure project in the city to employ seismic arresters. The arresters help it withstand earthquakes measuring up to 7.0 on the Richter scale. 

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Bandra-Worli Sea Link By Mintu500px – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=51451289
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The Sea Link during Early Monsoon  By Ibuz4u – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49641129
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Sunset View of the Bandra Worli Sealink By SahilSahadevan – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26529141

2. The Light Box Restroom, Mumbai

The Light Box Restroom in Mumbai was designed by Indian architect Rohan Chavan. The design has been conceptualized around a tree and has a transparent cover protecting the structure from rain. The garden in the center is used for rest, serves as a free gallery to display art for amateur artists, for awareness campaigns, festivals, seasonal activities, and events. 

The restroom is made up of four blocks, one end houses two toilets with a common washbasin, and the other end has a nursing room with toilets designed for the differently-abled and senior citizens. 

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The Light Box https://www.archdaily.com
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The Light Box https://www.architonic.com
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The Light Box Restroom https://bkdlightingdesign.myportfolio.com/

3. Nandyal Temple, Andhra Pradesh

Architecture practice Sameep Padora & Associates recently added this stepped shrine to the list of modern Indian structural marvels. The temple stands in the village of Nandyal and was built from locally available black limestone slabs to be a contemporary take on ancient temple forms. 

“More than the temple being different from its predecessors, I think it’s more like a variant,” said the studio’s Principal Architect Sameep Padora, to Dezeen.

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Nandyal Temple https://www.dezeen.com
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Nandyal Temple https://www.dezeen.com
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Nandyal Temple https://www.dezeen.com

4. Qualia Restaurant, Mumbai

On the ground level of Mumbai-based high-rise, Lodha World One sits a restaurant designed by Serie Architects, named, Qualia. For guests to “feel part of the entire practice of cooking”, all of the dining areas throughout the 370-square-meter hall are oriented towards its grand open kitchen, which runs the entire length of the rear wall. 

A row of undulating bronze chainmail curtains is hung to further dramatize the grand open kitchen while dividing up the restaurant’s different areas. 

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Qualia Restaurant, Mumbai https://www.dezeen.com
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Qualia Restaurant https://www.dezeen.com
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Qualia Restaurant, Mumbai https://www.dezeen.com

5. Office in Cardboard

Architecture studio Studio VDGA has revamped an office building in Pune, India, and has given it a recyclable fit-out with partition walls made from cardboard and MDF. Situated in the Pimpri Chinchwad district, the four-story, called Office in Cardboard, was shortlisted for international weblog Dezeen’s Awards 2020, in the large workspace interior category alongside other modern Indian structural marvels.

“We devised an innovative concept to replace the solid partition walls with more functional and textured material,” stated Studio VDGA. The firm went on to add that “It also serves as a low-cost material since it does not require polishing or painting as it is kept raw.”

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Office in Cardboard https://www.dezeen.com
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Office in Cardboard https://www.dezeen.com
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Office in Cardboard https://www.dezeen.com

6. Pearl Academy of Fashion, Jaipur

Pearl Academy of Fashion in Jaipur by Indian architects Morphogenesis, is an Indian educational institute which by its architecture is geared towards creating an environmentally responsive future. Its campus is home to several interactive spaces for creative brains to come together, research, and innovate in multifunctional zones which seamlessly integrate interiors with nature. 

The radical architecture of the academy emerges from a fusion of traditional building techniques and cutting edge contemporary architecture.

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Pearl Academy https://www.archdaily.com
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Pearl Academy of Fashion https://www.archdaily.com
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Pearl Academy of Fashion https://www.dezeen.com

7. House on Pali Hill, Mumbai

Designed and constructed by Studio Mumbai, the project was made by stripping down an existing residential building and exposing its concrete frames to the surrounding greenery. It sits protected inside layers of glass, wooden screens, planted trellises, and curtains ensuring grades of privacy and enclosure. Down the gallery at the entrance is a double-height living space that opens out onto a timber deck and a public garden. 

A polished limestone floor softly reflects the landscape while the plastered walls gently absorb light. A series of floating staircases tops off the construction.  India has some of the globe’s lushest landscapes, and the architects roped in this factor to beautifully shape the house on Pali Hill and put it on the list of modern Indian structural marvels.

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House on Pali Hill https://www.archdaily.com
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House on Pali Hill https://www.archdaily.com
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House on Pali Hill https://www.archdaily.com

8. Signature Bridge, Delhi

The Signature Bridge, bridging Wazirabad across river Yamuna to the inner city, is amongst the ever-growing list of modern Indian structural marvels and was inaugurated on November 4, 2018, by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. The link is double the height of the Qutub Minar and is India’s first asymmetrical cable-stayed bridge, featuring the gesture ‘namaste.’

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Signature Bridge By ThommenJose – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=74122844
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Signature Bridge https://www.dnaindia.com/
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Signature Bridge https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

9. Mumbai Artist Retreat 

Mumbai Artist Retreat is a cabin made from steel and bamboo by Indian design firm Architecture Brio. It is located in the coastal town of Alibag and is raised on stilts to withstand rising sea levels and possible flooding. This artist’s retreat contains a workshop area and can accommodate long and short-term guests. 

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Mumbai Artist Retreat https://www.dezeen.com
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Mumbai Artist Retreat https://www.dezeen.com
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Mumbai Artist Retreat https://www.dezeen.com

10. Narayantala Thakur Dalan

Narayantala Thakurdalan by Indian architectural studio Abin Design Studio is a simple temple with a façade made from open concrete blocks and a glazed corner that opens directly onto the streets of Bansberia. It was designed to be an open space that could be used for worship and opened up to the public during festivals.

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Narayantala Thakur Dalan https://www.dezeen.com
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Narayantala Thakur Dalan https://www.dezeen.com
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Narayantala Thakur Dalan https://www.dezeen.com
Author

Sowmya is an architectural journalist and writer. In this column, Sowmya takes you through stories on eco-architecture, biophilic design, and green buildings from across the globe.

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