Last week, it was reported that Foster + Partners had been selected to design the capitol complex of Amaravati, a new capital city for the state of Andhra Pradesh in southeastern India. The commission, however, has not come without controversy. As revealed by Indian news company The Wire, the project had earlier been awarded through invited competition to Japanese firm Maki and Associates, who were later removed from the project under uncertain circumstances.
In a letter sent a few weeks ago to India’s Council of Architecture, principal Fumihiko Maki has questioned the motivations of the Andhra Pradesh government committee, alleging unfair practice, lack of transparency and his firm’s ‘fraudulent’ removal from the project.
The letter states:
We are writing to inform you, as a representative of the governing professional body for architects in India, of our recent experience as a participant in the Amaravati Capital Complex Competition. The Competition itself was organized and conducted fairly in all respects, but in our opinion (and indeed the opinion of others - see attachments from Indian media) Government actions subsequent to the Competition bear further inquiry.
The manner in which the Government treated us following this competition and subsequently appointed a different architect team should be re-examined. This inquiry is, in our opinion, in the best interests of the Indian Architecture as a profession, both for Indian architects and for the International community. The reputation of the Indian Architectural profession is at stake.
In March of last year, Maki and Associates was selected by a jury of professionals as the winners of the invited competition that also featured proposals from Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners and Vastu Shilpa Consultants / BV Doshi, and were awarded the project by the government of Andhra Pradesh. But once the designs were made public, the scheme faced harsh criticism over ‘alienating’ buildings and a lack of Indian-inspired architectural influence.
Despite Maki and Associates making extensive design changes to meet the new demands, the government decided to reopen the competition to several new firms, eventually removing the firm from the project.
Read the letter in full, which includes a full summary of events here.
Find out more about this story via The Wire, here.
News via The Wire.