Preserving Overlooked Brutalist Architecture in India

Brutalism is merely a basic equation of reinforced concrete + geometry, but while the result of this equation is rather minimal, the architecture movement remains as one of the most debatable styles, ranging between “fascinating structures” and “is it even worth preserving”.

While many perceive Brutalism as “ugly” or “incomplete”, 17 year-old Arhan Vohra found glory in these modernist structures and launched Brutal Delhi, a photography website of New Delhi’s Brutalist buildings, shot through his camera lens.

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NCDC Building . Image © Arhan Vohra

According to Vohra, Brutalism stands as a reminder of India’s rebirth of architecture as a contemporary, democratic, and functional art following their independence from the British empire. For this reason, he launched the website to trace the historical significance of India’s forgotten brutalist architecture and help people discover a type of historic architecture that many have never acknowledged.

State Trading Corporation . Image © Arhan Vohra

The aspiring architect, who is currently a high school senior at the Shri Ram School in Moulsari, India, found inspiration after visiting London. Having spent an entire day at the Barbican Estate taking photos of its monumental towers, he began reading books and journals about the history of the Brutalist movement and its significance in architecture throughout the years. As soon as he returned to his hometown, Vohra began to recognize the presence of the modernist architectural style in his own city, buried under the glorification of Mughal and Colonial architecture.

NDDB Building . Image © Arhan Vohra

Brutal Delhi aims to take a stand on the debate over conservation/demolition, a disagreement that has been going on for a while in the architecture community of New Delhi especially after the demolition of the Pragati Maidan Hall of Nations. The debate sparked the question of whether Brutalist architecture “is worth preserving”, and to that, Vohra became immersed in the history of Brutalism in India and published his photographs on the website, eager to show people all around the world the beauty of the architecture style in India and the importance of preserving it.

NCDC Building . Image © Arhan Vohra

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Cite: Dima Stouhi. "Preserving Overlooked Brutalist Architecture in India" 30 Apr 2019. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

NDDB Building . Image © Arhan Vohra


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