Known as the revolutionary architect of India Raj Rewal made an impression worldwide embarking on his design philosophies which speak for himself. His love for geometric and grid systems breaks the monotony in architecture. The blending of the traditional inference to modern context is his trump card in design. He completed his education in Delhi and London, he also worked in Michel Ecochard’s office which is located in Paris before when he was to initiate his practice in Delhi. A man full of ambition the spaces speak for himself.

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Philosophy | Raj Rewal

Structures designed by him include pure structural expression and cubic masses. The design provides a certain honesty with the surrounding. They speak towards sensitive climatic changes. Beautifully crafted with geometric forms and grid pattern Raj Rewal speak for the Indians. He always attempts to blend traditional architecture with contemporary concepts. He has been influenced by the architecture of Le Corbusier and Louis Khan.

Raj Rewal: Ideology and Philosophy Sheet1
Raj Rewal __© The Indian Quarterly

The National Institute of Immunology

For any architect the actual representation of his thought reflecting in the design to achieve this, one has to be audacious. Anyone can observe this in the design philosophies by Raj Rewal. The National Institute of Immunology part of the Jawaharlal Nehru University complex is a research-oriented institute spread over 19 acres on the site of south Delhi. The building contains laboratories, study rooms, a library, an auditorium, a director’s house, and lodgings for professors with families, married assistants, and unmarried researchers. The central part of the building also acts as the gateway and its axis corresponds with the main spine of the scheme.

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Raj Rewal, The National Institute of Immunology, Delhi, 2009_© rajrewal.in

The route climbs towards the laboratories which are occupied by the highest point on the site. The traditional court resembles the Indians in this structure creating interactive space to enhance the interior space with relation outside world. The building is covered with washed grit finish containing beige and pink sandstone pebbles. With its primary and secondary axes, its fine proportion creates spaces small pockets of interaction.

 

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Raj Rewal, The National Institute of Immunology, Delhi _© Archnet.com

Use of sandstone: 

There is no denial that Sandstone looks classier as compared to the other natural stone Raj Rewal used sandstone in his major project as well as in the National Institute of Immunology Delhi. A clean and classier look is being achieved in the structure. The ability of low porosity of this stone makes it our personal favorite as this stone doesn’t absorb. Even if the water is spilled on its surface it will automatically leave fewer stains. They say the color of the sandstone stays as it is for decades. The blend of sandstone pink shades creates a frame of pink city Jaipur.

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Raj Rewal, The National Institute of Immunology, Delhi _© Archnet.com
Raj Rewal: Ideology and Philosophy Sheet5
Raj Rewal, The National Institute of Immunology, Delhi _© Archnet.com

The ultimate beauty which is achieved in this design is the use of materials and pockets of spaces. Interactive and charming as it displays Raj Rewal truly achieved his traditional resemblance in this. Embarking the grid system as well the geometry of the spaces he has made a benchmark in the design philosophy. The subtleness and calmness throughout the interior are brilliantly maintained.

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Raj Rewal, The National Institute of Immunology _© Archnet

The State University of Performing and Visual Arts 

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State University of Performing and Visual Arts, Rohtak, India, 2008 _© rajrewal.in

Raj Rewal has a special talent to bring Indian essence into his designs. The State University of Performing and Visual Arts is a perfect blend of sandstone and pink essence of Jaipur. It is located in the Rohtak Haryana built-in 2013 within the beautiful surrounding of Haryana. It is an institutional campus that includes different departments such as architecture, fine art, film and tv, and fashion designing. The thing to observe is each block has been oriented to the sun path which allows the natural sun to enter inside spaces making it move livable spaces. All the departments are connected by a single courtyard which becomes a central part of the structure creating a pause in the space, interactive and blissful. And the central courtyard is influenced by the Rajasthani architectural features. 

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State University of Performing and Visual Arts, Rohtak, India, 2008 _© rajrewal.in

The structure has achieved the essence of Rajasthani Architecture with the use of red and white sandstone. The columns and beam bands are used to highlight the architectural features with different materials to create the emphasis and beauty of Rajasthani Architecture. Perfect use of material adds value to the structure giving a more aesthetic look. The design of the auditorium is based on the concept of the sundial, which is divided into two parts where the part is a library and the lower part is the auditorium. This Sundial concept was in the news when one architectural designer “Sikka Associates and Architects “ has to face the allegations by Raj Rewal. Raj Rewal stated that his design has been plagiarized where the shape of the auditorium resembles the same as the Museum of Prime Minister Rohtak. Whereas Sikka Associates and Architects claimed this as a baseless allegation with no proof.

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State University of Performing and Visual Arts, Rohtak, India, 2008 _© rajrewal.in
Raj Rewal: Ideology and Philosophy Sheet10
State University of Performing and Visual Arts, Rohtak, India, 2008_© rajrewal.in

Whereas the central courtyard is the focal point then there is the Amphitheatre which doesn’t fail to satisfied us with the bliss of architectural features. The amphitheatre is located near the department of Fine Arts, astonishing fibreglass roofing gives this space complete justice. The same roofing is done on the Parliament Library. Rewal has a habit of repeating his key elements in every design to leave a benchmark of his style. The interior and exterior structures have given complete justice by providing coffered ceilings in the classrooms and sound-absorbing treatments to the walls. There is also one unique feature of the Rajasthan Architecture which is cloister used in the corridors to create the light and shadow effects between the journeys.

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State University of Performing and Visual Arts, Rohtak, India, 2008 _© rajrewal.in
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State University of Performing and Visual Arts, Rohtak, India, 2008 _© rajrewal.in

The unique thing to observe here is the way sandstone has been used even in the most irregular things makes it remarkable such as thick red sandstone used as the signboards in the entire campus. The perfect hierarchy has been created by using white sandstone only for the cafeteria, classroom whereas the auditorium has used red sandstone which is one of the main features in the entire structure. The intention has been perfectly achieved which is to give more importance to the library and auditorium in the design by giving unique shape and resemblance of “ Sun Dial “. This institutional building has been constructed with brick and RCC construction with extensive use of red and white sandstone with both external and internal cladding.

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State University of Performing and Visual Arts, Rohtak, India, 2008 _© rajrewal.in
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State University of Performing and Visual Arts, Rohtak, India, 2008 _© rajrewal.in

The State University of Performing and Visual Arts is a perfect blend of Indian essence more likely to be said as Rajasthani essence. Every part of the building stands out in its unique way which is remarkable with the amalgamation of sandstone and white cladding. Every space has given unique thought which doesn’t fail to deliver architectural aesthetic. Raj Rewal is a revolutionary architect who embedded with his style and hierarchy which he created is commendable. Even every young designer admires to have such design abilities. His philosophy, his ideas, his thoughts behind the structures make him what he is today. The perfect anatomy of the design and spaces has to be learned by him. Sometimes words are not enough to elaborate the masterpiece of the artists all we can do is embrace.

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‘Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.’ -Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Sources | Raj Rewal

Raj Rewal | View to courtyard | Archnet

State University of Visual and Performing Arts, Rohtak, India – 2008-Ongoing – Raj Rewal Associates

Author

Ar. Ritu Gosavi is a published co-author of the two anthology " A poet's Pulse" and "Slice of life" , graduated from College of Architecture Nasik .A brilliant content writer since 2019 bringing light on social and patriarchal norms through her writing page called "Ruminant". An architect, author, and audacious , a classical and japanese literature lover.

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