On August 15, 1947, on the eve of India’s independence from the United Kingdom, came a directive which would transform the subcontinent for the next six decades. In order to safeguard the country’s Muslim population from the Hindu majority, the departing colonial leaders set aside the northwestern and eastern portions of the territory for their use. Many of the approximately 100 million Muslims living scattered throughout India were given little more than 73 days to relocate to these territories, the modern-day nations of Pakistan and Bangladesh. As the borders for the new countries were drawn by Sir Cyril Radcliffe (an Englishman whose ignorance of Indian history and culture was perceived, by the colonial government, as an assurance of his impartiality), the state of Punjab was bisected between India and Pakistan, the latter of which retained ownership of the state capital of Lahore. It was in the wake of this loss that Punjab would found a new state capital: one which would not only serve the logistical requirements of the state, but make an unequivocal statement to the entire world that a new India—modernized, prosperous, and independent—had arrived.
Dublin-based McCullough Mulvin Architects has released the plans for their first project outside of Ireland, a large-scale extension and modernization of Thapar University in Patiala, Punjab, India. Located in a fertile area, the project seeks to consider the University as a holistic landscape, "evoking and extending nature to form rocky heights and shaded valleys."
The project consists of the construction of two main building groups: The Learning Center, which is approximately 60,000 square meters; and the Student Accommodation, which is approximately 30,000 square meters. These new facilities will be connected with existing ones by a covered and planted walkway, which allows students and staff to walk through campus in contact with nature, while screened from the weather.