The Structure – Works of Mahendra Raj

Vandini Mehta

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The Structure: Works of Mahendra Raj explores the oeuvre of Mahendra Raj's sixty prolific years of practice as a structural engineer. His unusually inventive and intuitive work reveals bold and pioneering engineering solutions for building in exposed concrete over the years. Most of his structures are now artefacts that narrate the energetic period of nation building in post Independence India. Some of Raj's buildings are unique, one of their kind, in India and the world, for instance, the Hall of Nations and Industries with their large-span cast-in-situ space frame and the Hindon River Mills with a series of bowstring arches in concrete. His practice also boasts of heroic structures built in the 60s and 70s such as the large folded-plate cantilevered structure in concrete for the Municipal Stadium in Ahmedabad, the folded-plate frame for Tagore Hall, the transfer girders that realised the architects' needs for the New Great Insurance Co building and Akbar Hotel - all pioneering constructions in India. The 80s saw further innovative structures such as the zig-zag columns stabilised by corridors in the NCDC office and the use of Vierendeel trusses in the STC office building to create cantilevered large-span cascading forms. The book presents 28 structures through a rich collection of over 100 archival drawings and nearly 400 photographs along with contributions from architects, engineers and academics from around the world.

Vandini Mehta is an architect and independent urban researcher. She also works as visiting faculty member in the Urban Design Program of SPA (School of Planning and Architecture), New Delhi and at Sushant School of Architecture, Gurgaon. Rohit Raj Mehndiratta is an architect, holding degrees from School of Architecture CEPT in Ahmedabad and from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Ariel Huber is an architect and architectural photographer based in Lausanne, Switzerland.

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