Theory and Criticism
Why do I like Lodhi Road, New Delhi?
I have often felt while walking down Lodhi road, that the place is more humane and inviting with its tree lined avenues, beautifully carved buildigs( an ideal example of Indian architecture) and the peace. But yet I have not seen its reflections in other parts of the city.
Do you find Lodhi Road interesting enough? Please share your views?
Abhay R. Ambati
Why do I like Lodhi Road, New Delhi?
Lodhi road is humane and generic at the same time. but considering Delhi, i feel each part of the city has its genius of loci, consider the Chandi Chowk, it is not clean, does not have treelined avenues, yet there is lot of humaneness in it. isn't that too a reflection of the city.
Monika Pillai
Why do I like Lodhi Road, New Delhi?
sure Monika,
Delhi or dilli has lot to offer in terms of variety of urban enviroments, but my discussion is restricted to the Lodhi road.
I want the opinions to have an architectural and academic perspective.
It is interesting to know that the road does not have a colonialistic feel to it. It hold important offices and caters to a large proportion of users, yet is free from chaos and disturbance.
It seems Stein has worked in order to provide an architectural character and control to the zone. perhaps, in the way it has been done by Lutyens, Rewal (Bikaji Cama place) and so on.
Abhay R. Ambati
Why do I like Lodhi Road, New Delhi?
cuddose abhay,for appriciating stein's work,early works by stein/doshi/bhalla happens to have ellements of sanctity in architecture,which is reflected in lodi road embiance,some day i shall up-load pictures with brief explainiing those elements as i reach india from my collection.
Dushyant Nathwani
Why do I like Lodhi Road, New Delhi?
It seems i m on the right track as i see my feelings being echoed by others as well.
It will be great if u throw some more light regarding the thought behind its design.
I think the design was largely formulated by Stein or Doshi, 'cos Bhalla when asked, didnt give a satisfying answer.
Please share u'r reactions with me.
Bildings such as tibet house, chinmaya mission, world bank, WWF, IHC and the Safdurjung's tomb at the terminal portion of the road seem to complement the beauty of this path.
Abhay R. Ambati
Why do I like Lodhi Road, New Delhi?

There might be some interesting titbits that might fuel your interest in Lodhi Road. The present road virtually traces a fourteenth century dirt track connecting the Ghiyathpur (now Nizamuddin) village with the Bagh-i Jud (from which we get the present day Jor Bagh), one of the earliest orchards mentioned in Sultanate records. The road then connected to the greater road from Rewari & Gurgaon. Many an invading army trooped and camped along it, most famously Timur's troops in 1398.

Interestingly enough, the road has always been a dividing line between different settlements, times & function. In the fifteenth century, it marked the edge between Mubarakpur (of the Sayyids) and the necropolis of the Lodhis. In the sixteenth & seventeenth centuries, it marked the edge between the Delhi and Mehrauli tehsils. The masonary bridge over the now dried up rivulet of Jaitpur (the village at the site razed down by the British in 1912) marks Mughal Emperor Akbar's interest in the region. By the late eighteenth century it marked the edge of the then controversial Shia enclave of Alipur, which housed the remains, houses and troops of some estranged Persian nobles of the later Mughal court. The siting of Safdarjung is no coincidence.

The road marked the edge of the original New Delhi Plan, and still defines the Lutyens Building Zone. Almost all the 50 year + trees lining New Delhi's avenues can be traced to the Lodhi Road nursery, created just as New Delhi was being planned.

The road was much widened in the 1980s in preparation of the Asiad Games 1982, when many of the majestic Neem trees were felled. Shall pipe in more as this discussion develops.
Danny Cherian
Why do I like Lodhi Road, New Delhi?
Thanks all,

So Lodhi road has a PAST indeed! Especially Danny, it was a very interesting piece of information you shared with all of us. But what about the past-independence development of the road? How has Stein contributed in its design?

I had heard in a General Quiz held on our campus that the road was once called Stein street.(I'm pretty hazy about its correctness.)
Abhay R. Ambati
Why do I like Lodhi Road, New Delhi?

The post independence spurt of institutions along Lodhi Road started with Nehru's gift of some minor bungalow plots to IIC for the new institution. The Ford Foundation, the architectural genius of J.A Stein, the 'brown sahib' bureacrat nexus and blessings of the Gandhi family allowed the gradual growth of sultanate cum prairie architectural style institutions right upto the Lodhi tombs.

The Metereolgical Deptt. came up opposite the road, but was soon followed by the international development community active in the Delhi of 1960s. The UNICEF, WHF etc soon acquired plots in what was undoubtedly growing into a diplomat-government elite enclave.

Later the Chinmaya trust, World Bank, INTACH and IHC constructed buildings in sympathetic building materials and architectural character. The area was indeed referred to as Steinabad (though just in slang), and Stein remained attached and involved in the buildings till the early 1990s. Buildings by BV Doshi, Raj Rewal and Habib Rehman add to the character.

Unfortunately and despite all of Stein's visions and 'open' architecture (transparency, shared greens, low boundary walls etc) the area is largely an exclusive, elite preserve in the heart of the city. The IHC has been a good exception, in being one of the few true public courts in Delhi after the Jama Masjid.
Danny Cherian
Why do I like Lodhi Road, New Delhi?
well,i have never been to lodhi road but have always heard a lot about it from my friends,they say:they always stop there to spend their leisure time as that is the only soothing space there....i don`t know but the way they expressed their feelings while talking about that road,was absolutely from the heart.And i decided to visit it once in my life time
Uzair Lodi
Why do I like Lodhi Road, New Delhi?
Thanks Uzair, it was nice to know that the place acted as a tranquilizer for the stressed up soul.

Indeed, as Danny mentioned, the place definitely holds an elitist, distant and unapproachable character in the minds of the observer for some time. But such a response is only short lived. I strongly feel that Indians prefer a place which appears to be holding more visual activity in it or something more dynamic and mobile in its behavior, which is very much evident in places like Janpath, Delhi Haat, Chandni Chowk or even Defence Colony Market, etc. A praire style architecture may seem mature enough, but devoid of the right ingredients to make a Delhite's heart beat!

What does sympathetic material actually mean ?

Does it need to have an organic origin, pleasing to the eye etc?

In my opinion, Charles Correa's works have never been sympathetic to the senses though it generates strong semantical relationships. Perhaps, our idea of such material is based on our personal/individual choice of materials. Is it not ?

What has been Stein's primary objectives while designing built environments in India ?
Abhay R. Ambati
Why do I like Lodhi Road, New Delhi?
I realize this discussion has been inactive since 2004, but I was wondering if someone could help me.
I'm researching the effects of Garrett Eckbo's 're-landscaping' of the Gardens, and his collaboration with J.A. Stein in this. Does anyone know of any documentation of his design efforts? Perhaps his social views may have contributed to this 'humane and inviting' atmosphere that many in the forum seem to agree on. Any information welcome!
Laura van Santen


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