PSP Architects India
Name of the project: National War Memorial
Name of client: Ministry of Defense, Govt. Of India
Location: India Gate, New Delhi
Site Area: 130 Acres
Status: Global Competition
Year of completion: 2017
Design Team: Ajay Sethi, Sunil Philip, Venkataram Padmanabhan, Architects @ PSP Design
Runit Chhaya, Landscape Design at Grain Collective
Anusha Muthusubramanian, Lighting Designer @ Lighting Spaces
Hemant, Independent Advisor
Milam Moudgil, Graphic Designer @ Em Design
Vibhor Sogani, Sculptor
Architecturally, the Memorial draws from its context of Lutyens Delhi, aligning itself to the strength of the axis of the Rashtrapathi Bhawan – India Gate – Chhatri, and creating dramatic vistas of ascending and descending ground planes. Climatically and ecologically the memorial responds to its context by sinking the functional spaces to a subterranean level where the land mass insulates the space, covered and open walkways and water features to cool the micro-enviromnet, thus enabling all weather and all year functionality. The landscape works with the idea of layering and staggered flowering.
We believe that the Memorial should be an exclusive and a singular experience, a genteel absorbing place. The Summit area should be sacred. It is not a memorial for a closed historical chapter but a live and dynamic place honoring a continuum of the past 70 years. It aims to capture the continuing sacrifice, spirit, extraordinary effort and an unfathomable resolve.
Conceptually, the Memorial (Smirti) area is an insulated sunken place to enhance its sanctity. The horizontal expanse has given it a balance. A ceremonial homage place is created as a solidifier which heals, instills pride, perpetuates ties and feels like a community affair. It is surrounded by a natural environment and varied public places to make it welcoming.
A person can pass through the area in about five minutes or walk thorough the Memorial in fifteen minutes absorbing its essence while passing the wall of honour, or one can spend more time still while going through the details and spending time in the gardens above.