India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, India
Location: New Delhi, India
Year built: 1993
Architect: Joseph A Stein, Balkrishna V Doshi & Jai R Bhalla under Stein, Doshi & Bhalla
Conceived at a time when India was newly liberalised, the buildings were commissioned by India’s housing agency (HUDCO) to house its workers alongside select non government organisations. A common concern for habitat brought the vision together, with the five buildings connected through a series of walkways and courtyards, covered in verdant landscaping and trees keeping the brutal climate of Delhi at bay.
Stein, Doshi & Bhalla was one of the largest architectural studios in India, with the prolific American architect Joseph Allen Stein at its helm. Stein had the support of now world famous and 2018 Pritzker Architecture Prize winner Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi, along with the hands-on and no less talented Jai Rattan Bhalla.
My first memory of visiting this complex was when I was in my early teens. The thing that struck me most was how the external areas were just as pleasant as the air-conditioned insides. I of course later realised this was no easy feat – especially in Delhi’s harsh climate – and it came as a result of masterful planning in orientation, landscape integration and material selection. The glass louvers not only provide shade to the hottest parts of the complex but also add a playful blue colour to the sky, sitting perfectly amongst the honest brick and exposed concrete materials that have stood the test of time. – Raghav Goel
Cover illustration by YukikoDraws for blueprint.