Recipient of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1998.
Vidhan Bhavan, the new state assembly for the government of Madhya Pradesh, is located on a hill in the centre of Bhopal. Since the main access road is not axial but swings toward the site in an irregular pattern following the contours of the hill, the plan of the building and its interior gardens and courtyards was developed within an almost continuous circular exterior wall. This form established a visual unity and presence regardless of the direction from which one approaches it. The building's four main functions - a Lower House, Upper House, Combined Hall, and Library - require extensive administrative facilities, meeting rooms, suites for the political leaders, cafeterias, and common rooms. All of these diverse elements are linked by a series of gardens defined by two symmetrical architectural axes that intersect at the centre of the circle. These axes extend to the edges of the site and open into panoramic views of the surrounding city. Vidhan Bhavan is conceived as a "city within a city". The use of local red stone, handmade ceramic tiles, and painted surfaces refers to the architectural traditions of Madhya Pradesh: gateways, enclosures, courts, small domes, and other architectural details that develop a new imagery based on traditional forms. Large contemporary murals, sculpture, and paintings by local artists enliven the spaces. The jury commended the complex as "the creation of an ensemble that provides a wide range of spatial experiences as one moves through the complex".
Davidson, Cynthia C., editor. “Legacies for the Future: Contemporary Architecture in Islamic Societies”. London: Thames and Hudson, 1998.
In the rapidly changing tastes and styles of Western culture, the most highly acclaimed designs in contemporary architecture are often unconnected to the social and cultural contexts from which they spring. In contrast, in Islamic societies around the world, architecture often plays a far more responsible role, responding to the immediate needs of local and personal exigencies. As a result, some of the most humanist contemporary architecture is overlooked by the fashions of today's international design periodicals. The seven projects chosen, for this, the seventh cycle (1998) of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, from hundreds by the jury are among the most fascinating and thoughtful work produced anywhere in the world. Each project is profiled in depth with lucid texts, extensive drawings and specially commissioned photographs. Critical essays consider the challenges and potential rewards confronting architects and planners working in exceptional conditions. Legacies for the Future is the seventh in a series of books under the general title Building in the Islamic World Today.