In the year 2015 for the first time, I visited the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly building in Mumbai. After seeing the vast compound walls with steel fencing, heavy security, and the State Emblem of India on the top of the building, I got a bit cautious. The building made a substantial impact on me in a second, but the moment I stepped down from the car and entered the building, the very first thought came to my mind was, ‘Is this where all the politicians make decisions and laws for us?’. The overall feel of the space was very negative and dull. The ceilings, walls, floorings, spaces, lighting, ventilation, etc.

Project Name: Re-development of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly
By: Saumitra Bhatkhalkar
Location: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

©Saumitra Bhatkhalkar

I always thought that buildings like Assembly, Courts, Corporations should represent the state or that specific region on the world map and that was the day I decided this is the topic I want to work on for my thesis. I wanted to change this perception of Government buildings and also design a better space for every person working in the Assembly. Assembly building should make an impact on the world map and also should represent the state of Maharashtra.

Government buildings in India are not so open to the public to access. They are very conservative in their appearance. I felt that this perception of Government  buildings  needs  to  be  changed.  Architecture  can  play  a significant role in changing this perception. Also, India being the largest democracy in the world needs to reflect democracy in its administrative buildings.

Objectives:

The  main  objectives  of  this  design  were  to  show  democracy  thorugh architecture, to make an iconic structure for Mumbai city which would out Mumbai & Maharashtra on the world map, and to change public perception about government buildings in India.

©Saumitra Bhatkhalkar

Project brief & functions:

(1) Legislative Assembly Building

  • Legislative Assembly hall
  • Legislative Council hall
  • Central hall
  • Library for members
  • Chief Minister’s chamber
  • Ministers’ cabins
  • Cabinet hall
  • Cafeteria
  • Press conference room
  • Meeting rooms
  • Various galleries
  • Various services areas
  • Souvenier shop

(2) Administratative Building

  • Public plaza
  • Public viewing gallery
  • Party Offices
  • Various department offices
  • Committee offices
  • Library
  • Record room
  • Restaurant
  • All the secretary offices
  • All the dy. Secretary offices
  • Conference halls
  • Meeting rooms
  • Sky gardens on 1st, 5th, 9th,and 13thfloor
  • Pantry for observatories
  • 1st & 2nd Observatory

(3) Public plaza beside the building

  • Amphitheatre
  • Dedicated area for food stalls
  • Public toilets
  • Sitting area
©Saumitra Bhatkhalkar

About the design:

This is building has been designed very thoughtfully keeping in mind all the objectives, requirements, and sentiments. The form of the structure is depicted from the Old Mumbai skyline which majory had piers of mill factories. We can look at the design in three parts, The legislative assembly, The administrative building, and the public plazas. The glass is used as the primary material to show transparency. The Legislative building is designed with all the necessary requirements. The design of the legislative assembly area is such that the spaces are not overcrowded even during the assembly sessions.

administrative  building  has  total 23  floors.  Sky-garden  is  thoughtfully designed & placed after every 4 floors.  The top most & second last floor of this building  have  observatories  which  are  accessible  only  from  outside  the building or through the security personal from inside the building. The 1st observatory  is  a  closed  observatory  and  has 180 view  angle.  The 2nd observatory is an open observatory with a 360view angle.

©Saumitra Bhatkhalkar

The glass dome above the assembly hall which is a part of the public plaza above the assembly hall which is accessible though public entrance of the building, gives a sense that those who have elected you are always watching you. The public plaza beside the building is open for all with no restrictions. The idea behind designing this plaza right next to the assembly building was people can gather here in support or against the government/government policies or for any such intetions and their voices can be heard. It will become a symbol for a transparent democracy. It also has an amphitheatre for any kind of events. It has dedicated food stalls area with public toilets as well.

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