Completed in 2016
By Vandini Mehta, Rohit Raj Mehndiratta and Ariel Huber
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 buildings 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 space frame in cast-in-situ concrete, and the Hindon River Mills, with bowstring arches in concrete spanning 48m. 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 26-storey high-rise of Usha Kiran, the transfer girders that helped realise the architects’ needs for the Great Insurance Building and Akbar Hotel—all pioneering constructions in India. The ‘80s saw further innovative and ground-breaking structures to help architects achieve their intended forms such as the zig-zag columns stabilised by corridors as structural elements in the NCDC Office, and the use of Vierendeel trusses in the STC Offices to create cantilevered large-span cascading forms. The book presents 28 structures through a rich collection of 123 archival drawings (with additional calculation sheets and schematic sketches) and 397 photographs along with contributions from architects, engineers and academics from around the world.