Mahendra Raj

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Mahendra Raj
Born1924
Died8 May 2022 (aged 97)
Delhi, India
OccupationStructural engineer and designer
Notable work
Hall of Nations Pragati Maidan, Salar Jung Museum, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore

Mahendra Raj (1924 – 8 May 2022) was an Indian structural engineer and designer who contributed to structural design of many buildings in India including the Hall of Nations at the Pragati Maidan in Delhi and the Salar Jung Museum in Hyderabad. Raj's work is considered pioneering for its engineering solutions for exposed concrete buildings and much of his work is seen as telling the history of post-independence India. In a career spanning six decades, he collaborated with architects including Le Corbusier, B. V. Doshi, Charles Correa, and Raj Rewal, and contributed to the structural design for more than 250 projects.

Early life

Raj was born in Gujranwala in the Punjab state of the then undivided British India in 1924. He was born in a lower middle class family and was one of eight children. His father was an engineer with the Punjab Public Works Department. Later, Raj would say that his intent was never to become a civil engineer but his father wanted all of his five sons to become civil engineers.[1][2]

Raj completed his degree in civil engineering with honours from Punjab Engineering College in Lahore in 1946.[1][3]

Career

After obtaining his degree, Raj joined the Punjab Public Works Department in their Buildings and Roads department.[3] He moved to the Indian side after the partition of India in 1947 on one of the last trains to reach India safely.[4] He moved to Shimla and was assigned to the rehabilitation cell at the PWD which was tasked to build housing for displaced middle-class families. It was here that he was made an assistant design engineer and collaborated with Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier, who was then tasked with the design of Chandigarh, the new capital of Punjab.[1] Raj collaborated with Corbusier on buildings including the Chandigarh High Court and the secretariat. He was noted to have proposed changes to the structure which resulted in a balanced cantilever resting on two columns.[3][5] After his initial collaborations with Corbusier, Raj went to the United States for a masters in structural design from the University of Minnesota.[4] After his masters he moved to New York and worked at Ammann & Whitney until 1959. He returned to India in 1960 and started Mahendra Raj Consultants in Bombay in 1960. He later collaborated with Indian architect and urban planner, Charles Correa, to build the Hindustan Lever pavilion at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi in 1961. The structure was designed to resemble a crumpled sheet of paper with a maze of ramps and platforms.[3] The structure followed the idea of progression through a maze with space being enclosed by reinforced concrete cement sprayed under pressure to create random folds resembling a crumpled card. The work was noted to have foreshadowed deconstructivist architecture works by at least two decades.[6][7]

Raj worked with Pritzker prize winning architect B. V. Doshi in designing the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore and the Tagore Hall in Ahmedabad.[3] Many years later, in 1971, he collaborated with Indian architect Raj Rewal to design the Hall of Nations at the Pragati Maidan.[8] The structure was one of the largest space frame structures in the world and was described by The New York Times as a "brutalist masterpiece".[9][10]

Raj's work is considered pioneering for its engineering solutions for exposed concrete buildings and much of his work is seen as telling the history of post-independence India.[11] In a career spanning six decades, he contributed to the structural design for more than 250 projects.[3][1][12] Raj also worked with the Government of India, in drafting legislations regulating the profession of engineers resulting in the creation of the Engineering Council of India in 2002.[13]

Personal life

Raj was married and had three children. His youngest son, Rohit Raj Mehendiratta was also an architect. Rohit Raj Mehendiratta and his wife Vandini Mehta wrote a book on Raj's works titled The Structure: Works of Mahendra Raj.[14]

Raj died on 8 May 2022 at his home in Delhi. He was aged 97.[3]

Gallery

Published works

  • The Structure: Works of Mahendra Raj. Mahendra Raj, Vandini Mehta, Rohit Raj Mehrdiratta, Ariel Huber. Zurich: Park Books. 2016. ISBN 978-3-03860-025-1. OCLC 944087142.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)

References

  1. ^ a b c d Ismail, Mohammed A.; Mueller, Caitlin T. "Engineering a New Nation: Mahendra Raj and His Collaborations Across Disciplines" (PDF). ACSA - Arch.org. Archived (PDF) from the original on 7 May 2020. Retrieved 8 May 2022.
  2. ^ Ismail, Mohamed A.; Mueller, Caitlin T. (2019). Engineering a New Nation: Mahendra Raj and His Collaborations Across Disciplines. Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture. pp. 562–566. doi:10.35483/acsa.am.107.111. ISBN 9781944214210. S2CID 216736495. Archived from the original on 8 May 2022. Retrieved 8 May 2022.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Mahendra Raj, the man behind Pragati Maidan, Salarjung Museum, passes away". The Indian Express. 8 May 2022. Archived from the original on 8 May 2022. Retrieved 8 May 2022.
  4. ^ a b Balasubramaniam, Chitra (21 November 2019). "A structural engineer who redefined design". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 9 May 2022.
  5. ^ Matter (15 December 2020). "Structural narrative of Indian Modernity as an oeuvre of Mahendra Raj". MATTER. Archived from the original on 16 November 2021. Retrieved 8 May 2022.
  6. ^ Correa, Charles; Raj, Mahendra (1961). "Hindustan Lever Pavilion, Pragati Maidan". Architecture: Challenges and Opportunities - A Panel Discussion Held at the Annual Conference of the National Association of Students of Architecture at Kochi. 1 (3). Archived from the original on 14 May 2020. Retrieved 8 May 2022.
  7. ^ "A look at Charles Correa's iconic architecture on his 87th birth anniversary". Architectural Digest India. 1 September 2017. Archived from the original on 19 January 2021. Retrieved 8 May 2022.
  8. ^ "Delhi: View defining projects by structural engineer Mahendra Raj at KNMA". Architectural Digest India. 14 December 2019. Archived from the original on 12 May 2021. Retrieved 8 May 2022.
  9. ^ Katy Wong. "Why these buildings were reduced to rubble in 2017". CNN. Archived from the original on 8 May 2022. Retrieved 8 May 2022.
  10. ^ Snyder, Michael (15 August 2019). "The Unexpectedly Tropical History of Brutalism". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on 6 April 2022. Retrieved 8 May 2022.
  11. ^ "MIT Architecture: The Structure: The Works of Mahendra Raj". history.fas.harvard.edu. Archived from the original on 11 November 2021. Retrieved 8 May 2022.
  12. ^ "Honouring the star of structural engineering 'Mahendra Raj'". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 9 May 2022.
  13. ^ Facilitator, Constro (8 May 2022). "Er. Mahendra Raj breathed his last and left for heavenly abode". Constro Facilitator. Archived from the original on 8 May 2022. Retrieved 8 May 2022.
  14. ^ "Making space". mint. 2 December 2009. Retrieved 9 May 2022.

External links

This page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article: Mahendra Raj. Articles is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.