Submitted by Sarbjit Bahga

Norman Foster Will Now Design Amravati Capitol Complex Instead Of Fumihiko Maki

India Architecture News - Jan 30, 2017 - 12:10   33072 views

Norman Foster Will Now Design Amravati Capitol Complex Instead Of Fumihiko Maki

The Capitol Complex of Amravati - the proposed Capital City of the newly drawn Indian State of Andhra Pradesh - will now be designed by Foster+Partners,  instead of Maki and Associates, according to The New Indian Express.

The project will be assisted by three film-and-art directors of Indian cinema - S S Rajamouli, Anand Sai, and Radha Krishna Jagarlamudi popularly known as Krish, mentioned in the same source. The State Government stated that these film directors have done extensive research on history, local architecture, and culture for their films. Therefore, their inputs may be of enormous value to the architects especially, when the administration wants the buildings and structures in the Capitol Complex to have a native touch.

Norman Foster Will Now Design Amravati Capitol Complex Instead Of Fumihiko Maki

Image courtesy of Amavarati.gov.in

It will be pertinent to add that earlier the State Government had conducted an International Design Competition for the same complex which was won by Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki. When the proposal prepared by Fumihiko Maki for the competition, there were widespread public reactions against the design. People felt that the designs of the buildings looked alienated and much like pale imitations of Chandigarh's Capitol Complex.

However, Maki and Associates are not satisfied with the government's latest decision to approach Foster+Partners and Hafeez Contractor for the preparation of new design. Therefore, the firm registered their complaint with Indian Council of Architecture, a statutory body constituted by the Government of India under the provisions of Architects Act, 1972. The Council is charged with the responsibility to regulate the education and practice of the profession of architecture in India.

Norman Foster Will Now Design Amravati Capitol Complex Instead Of Fumihiko Maki

Image courtesy of Amavarati.gov.in

Unfettered by this move of Maki and Associates, the government seems to have made up its mind to go ahead with its latest decision of working with Norman Foster and Hafeez Contractor. These architects are expected to submit their preliminary design in the first half of February 2017. This design will again be put in public domain for reactions and suggestions.

The Capitol Complex will come up on about 5,463000 square meters (1350 acre) of land located on the southern bank of Krishna River. The master plan brief calls to design a 3,650000 square metre (365 hectare) area that will serve India's eighth largest municipal capital. It will accommodate primarily an Assembly Building and a Secretariat, offices of heads of departments and ministerial residences and guest houses.

Norman Foster Will Now Design Amravati Capitol Complex Instead Of Fumihiko Maki

Image courtesy of Amavarati.gov.in

The Capitol Complex is expected to be completed by 2022. It will form the hub of new capital city of Amravati. The need for the new capital arose after the bifurcation erstwhile state of Andhra Pradesh into two States i.e., 1, The Telangana State with existing city of Hyderabad as its capital and, 2, newly carved Andhra Pradesh with its envisioned capital at Amravati.

Norman Foster Will Now Design Amravati Capitol Complex Instead Of Fumihiko Maki

Image courtesy of Amavarati.gov.in

The newly found architect for the Capitol Complex Norman Foster is a recipient of Pritzker Architecture Prize (1999). He has several iconic buildings to his credit. His style of architecture is contemporary in nature and displaying innovative use of modern building materials like steel, aluminium and glass. Likewise Indian architect Hafeez Contractor has been awarded Padma Bhushan by the Government of India. He too has designed many large-scaled prestigious buildings in India as well.

When the duo of Foster and Contractor will be assisted by three well known film-and-art directors of Indian cinema, one can expect a wonderful design of the new Capitol Complex.

Norman Foster Will Now Design Amravati Capitol Complex Instead Of Fumihiko Maki

Image courtesy of Amavarati.gov.in

After a period of controversy and uncertainty for the project, Fumihiko Maki sent a letter to India’s Council of Architecture on December 21, 2016, complaining about the unfair process of the competition and his firm's 'fraudulent' removal from the project. The letter was published by Indian news company The Wire, and the letter reveals 4-point responses of Maki about the Government concerns. 

Maki's letter states that ''we are writing to inform you, as a representative of the governing professional body for architects in India, of our recent experience as a participant in the Amaravati Capital Complex Competition. The Competition itself was organized and conducted fairly in all respects, but in our opinion (and indeed the opinion of others - see attachments from Indian media) Government actions subsequent to the Competition bear further inquiry''.

''The manner in which the Government treated us following this competition and subsequently appointed a different architect team should be re-examined. This inquiry is, in our opinion, in the best interests of the Indian Architecture as a profession, both for Indian architects and for the International community. The reputation of the Indian Architectural profession is at stake''.

Read the full letter of Fumihiko Maki, which includes summary of events.

Top image courtesy of Amaravati Voice

> via The New Indian Express/The Wire