Performing Arts Center at Pragati Maidan, Delhi

Winning Entry for Transparence 11.0, West zone
Team: Gunjan Modi, Smit Modi, Manthan Mevada
23 August 2017

Transparence 11.o – Competition Brief:

Participants to present a design for a Performing Arts Center at the Pragati Maidan Complex, New Delhi, reflecting the theme space in motion.

What sets the performing arts apart from other art forms is that the artistic expression is through the physical presence of an artiste. The basic elements of performing arts:

1. Performer & Audience – People
2. Time – Pace
3. Space – Place

These three ‘P’s will dictate the design ideas for this competition.


Neutrality of the plan allows for dynamic spaces. Flexibility is achieved without substantial change in the physical properties of the space. Modularity in design involves an approach of designing units that can be replaced in several ways to construct a building.

Herman Hertzberger in Central Beheer Office center and Aldo Van Eyck in Amsterdam Orphanage have implemented the principles of this system. The use of modules allow flexibility at both design and construction stage.

concept: Place and Language

The basic concept is that of a contained campus organization (as seen in Fatehpur  Sikri), as opposed to a single mass containing all the functions. The second concept is that of a step well.

The building goes upto three storeys underground and is configured to create shaded streets by adding projecting stores, marked by intermittent pauses, movement zones and courts. Traditionally, Indian monuments were designed to cater to multiple groups i.e. step well would act as a shelter for travelling visitors apart from its primary function of accommodating a well.

system: Structure and Order

Structuralist manifesto suggests that elements of culture must be understood in terms of their relationship to a larger overarching system or structure. Lively variations and coincidence exist by the virtue of a structure or system. The formulation of a structure requires establishing rules based on the understanding of the relationship amongst the elements of culture.

The public realm is continuous and well intertwined with the core functions in the configuration and is charged by overlooking terraces, creating a vibrant atmosphere. A number of these terraces are a part of the public realm. The building is iconic in character and blends well in the context.


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