B-95 Diwan-i-Khas

Project info

Location:   New Delhi, INDIA
Area:  350 sq/ft
Status: Completed, 2017

Diwan-i-Khas was the hall of special audience during the Mughal times. If we look at the image references that are available through miniature paintings of that era, we can infer from the typology for building design and construction. The structure presents itself as pavilion set against a wall. Often some tensile fabric would serve as extensions to the pavilion. Le Corbusier’s Assembly Building in Chandigarh also creates a similar gesture towards the large plaza. The sickle shaped roof supported by concrete shear walls acts like the tensile extensions of the Mughal pavilions.

Even though the program called out for a living room on the terrace for conducting business meetings and entertaining guests, the activities are very similar to what could have taken place in the Diwan-i-Khas. This pavilion opens out to a landscaped terrace in front. Hence the apt references for the design are the two pavilions from the 1960’s and the 1640’s. The form of the structure draws inspiration from the tensile fabric extensions as well as the oversized gutters of the Assembly Building.

The structure of our pavilion is conceived as a series of portals fabricated from steel reminiscent of Jean Prouvé’s structural forms. The roof is a folded, pleated and stretched over the portals.

The pavilion responds t the direction of the sun with clear glazing on the North and East facades. The South is a layered condition of marble, air and glass block, to reduce heat gain. The space has a slatted wood ceiling reciprocated by a hardwood floor. The grains of which are in the direction of movement, accentuating the form of the portals.

The marble for the wall is of Indian origin, found in the quarries of Ambaji. Book matched the veins of the stone panel reminds one of ‘shoji’ screens that glow due to the translucency of the marble. The wood ceiling and flooring adds warmth to the space when juxtaposed against the steel and glass. The wood panelling continues inside a small room, resembling a ships cabin. This space serves as the client’s private office.

Our client’s are a young couple belonging to an old industrial family of Delhi. The space provides them an escape and a release from the responsibilities of a joint family system they belong to. Hence, a light and airy and yet personal ‘Pavilion’.