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Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations

Modernity and Tradition

Vir.Mueller Architects

Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations
By Caterina Testa -

The new headquarters of the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) lies along one of the main roads bordering New Delhi’s institutional quarter. Founded in 1981, this independent non-profit think tank was created to provide the background research for the Indian government’s economic policy decisions. Commissioned in 2010, started in 2013 and completed in 2017, the new headquarters was designed by vir.mueller architects to house the research center and its administrative offices. Since 2003, the practice’s founders, architects Christine Mueller and Pankaj Vir Gupta, have divided their time between India and the US as students, researchers and practitioners. All their projects respond to the particular demands of the program in hand, its budget and site. Every one of their architectures sets out to use local materials and local craftsmen. This strong link between vir.mueller buildings and the particular physical setting is very much part of modern Indian architecture. The new ICRIER headquarters is an example of how Indian architecture has developed a contemporary language that also reaches back to consolidated building traditions. As well as their strong ties with the legacy of Le Corbusier in Chandigarh, Correa and after him, Doshi, Indian architects excel at blending vernacular elements into this Modernist matrix. Le Corbusier’s Chandigarh was a seminal project in post-colonial India. Modernist architecture symbolized a way of bringing about social transformation. It was also a period when Indian architects sought to return to their roots, yet at the same time felt the need to be part of a wider universal context. Maintaining a close dialogue with the wider Modernist movement, Correa and Doshi took their cue from Le Corbusier’s Indian projects but devised solutions in keeping with India’s climate and society. Recessed courtyards, forms facilitating natural ventilation, projecting balconies,...

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