The ministry of external affairs is getting a grand new home — the Jawaharlal Nehru Bhavan. Work on the ministry’s headquarters, billed as the “most modern” to be made by the government so far, will start three days later.
The new kid on the block, however, will not be a swank oddity on the central vista of stately Lutyens’ Delhi. “We are trying to maintain a synergy between the heritage structures along Rajpath and the building as well as provide all the modern facilities that befit the external affairs ministry,” said director-general, works, CPWD, Amarnath Chakrabarti. Instead, the architecture will hark back to the traditional Indian style which inspired Edward Lutyens.
The front wing will include a three-storied building with colonnaded verandah, large glass windows and a dome over the entrance foyer. This will be used for the entry of VIPs only.
The back wing will have two five-storied buildings on either side connected by a four-storied block. A big plaza behind these buildings will be used as the entry for the public and officials.
Diplomats and officials streaming into the office - sprawled over 31,500 square metres - will be welcomed by a splash of green. Lawns will make up over 67 per cent of its area. There is a plan to plant 300 trees and build terrace gardens.
Three large open courtyards will ensure greater use of natural light - thereby cutting down energy consumption. The green building would use several other conservation devices like hermetically sealed windows, cavity walls, energy-efficient fittings and fixtures. Solar energy will be used to heat water in the kitchen and for external lighting; waste water produced will be re cycled.
The building will be an “intelligent” one with computerised temperature control, biometric access control and close circuit television monitors.
Of the project cost of Rs 175 crore, Rs 30 crore will go into acquiring artifacts and antiques showcasing India’s rich culture and heritage. External affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee will be the main guest at the November 14 ceremony to mark the beginning of construction.
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