118 years of Trust Chandigarh Heartbeat THE TRIBUNE
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Saturday, December 12, 1998





A perfect place for meeting of minds

The proposed Bradlaugh Hall India International Centre, being modelled on the lines of the India International Centre at New Delhi, is likely to become the most prestigious place for interaction between intellectuals, policy-makers, academicians and other eminent personalities.

EMINENT academicians, technocrats, policy-makers, diplomats, bureaucrats and eminent people from various walks of life shall be eligible for membership of the prestigious Bradlaugh Hall India International Centre (BHIIC), which is being modelled on the lines of the India International Centre at New Delhi.

The concept drawings of the proposed BHIIC submitted by the famous Stein Mani Chowfla team of architects has already been accepted by the BHIICSociety. The society is now expected to get the actual work started on the ground after completing all the modalities and formalities under the local byelaws.

The concept report submitted on December 2 envisages the creation of an environment conducive to intellectual, academic and cultural exchange and debate. The centre, to be spread over an area of approximately 8000 square metres, in Sector 15A on Madhya Marg, is subject to envelope controls with a permissible single storey footprint of 2347 sq metres and a smaller four-storey block. There are, however, no facade controls.

The site was originally allotted to the Braudlaugh Hall Memorial Society for the construction of the hall. Work on the construction of the basement of the proposed hall was started but was given up midway. The architects now plan to assess the structure already undertaken prior to finalisation of the design of the basement. In the concept drawings, they have already incorporated the existing structure to the extent possible.

Located between Punjab Pradesh Congress Bhavan and International Hostel, the centre will essentially have entrance to the 300-seat auditorium from the basement. Lobbies, lounges, dining hall and a library will be on the top floor of the four-storey block.

The design consists of both public areas and the more private areas accessible essentially to members. In the design an attempt has been made to keep the access to public areas as direct as possible, leaving the members’ area relatively remote and undisturbed.

A double height lobby, off the entrance foyer, forms the pivot of the design with the auditorium, art gallery, dining hall and lounge located around it. A high level of tansparency and openness is an essential feature of the design with the major functions opening onto landscaped gardens. The water bodies proposed double up as cooling ponds for the AC system of the centre. Generous lobbies and pre-function spaces are provided adjacent to the conference rooms and auditorium. Maintaining the control footprint of the building, the designers have scooped out pockets to take the garden inside the building envelope.

The designers propose to use materials on the exterior which are sympathetic to the architectural character of Chandigarh. Concrete is proposed to be exposed with cladding of combination of sandstones by introducing a touch of colour with the use of hand made tiles. Interior finishes shall be of low or no maintenance used in a simple yet elegant and sober manner.

The designers have proposed the library on the top-most floor.The administration, business centre and the manager’s residential suite are on the second floor. The members’ bar has been planned to be located on the first floor and served by a pantry that also looks after the conference area.

The main conference room, divisible into two by means of a removable partition, is located on the first floor and opens out onto the landscape terrace. From the generous entrance lobby the view opens out across the central lobby, to the pool and gardens beyond.

The passage swings past the art gallery to the members’ lounge and dining hall, both opening onto quiet gardens. The passage also swings behind the art gallery to the lift, stairs and toilets.

The centre, with this design, would cost approximately Rs 9 crore. Once completed, this would become the most prestigious place for interaction of intellectuals, policy-makers, academicians, technocrats, diplomats, bureaucrats and other eminent personalities.

The society proposes to restrict the membership with a rigid admission criteria so as to maintain the "exclusiveness" of the centre. Initial funding is expected in the shape of grants from both Punjab and Haryana governments, besides the Chandigarh Administration. Once completed, it would become a must on the itinerary of most visiting international dignitaries to the city. — P.S


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