Exhibits being packed at IGNCA on Wednesday. The existing building will be taken down as part of the Central Vista redevelopment. (Arvind Yadav/HT Photo )
Exhibits being packed at IGNCA on Wednesday. The existing building will be taken down as part of the Central Vista redevelopment. (Arvind Yadav/HT Photo )

IGNCA starts shifting to make way for Central Vista revamp

Once the Central Vista project is ready, the national centre for art will move into a new campus near Jamnagar House.
By Risha Chitlangia, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 25, 2021 08:41 AM IST

Officials of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Art (IGNCA) have started shifting their campus to Janpath Hotel, which will be their temporary home for at least three years, as the Central Vista redevelopment project takes shape.

Once the Central Vista project is ready, the national centre for art will move into a new campus near Jamnagar House.

Indira Gandhi National Centre for Art is one of the many government buildings which will be demolished to make way for 10 new, state-of-the-art office complexes proposed as part of the Centre’s ambitious Central Vista redevelopment project. The approximately 15,000 crore project includes construction of a new Parliament building, common central secretariat, and new residences for the vice President and the Prime Minister. While the Parliament building will be completed next year, the entire project is looking at 2024 completion.

Sachidanand Joshi, member secretary of IGNCA, said, “We have started shifting out of IGNCA. Some of our divisions have already moved to our new office. We estimate that the entire shifting process will take at least two months. By the third week of April, we will physically shift everything to Janpath Hotel and by mid-May we plan to wind-up everything here.”

On Wednesday, HT noted that at the arts and culture centre, work was progressing at a rapid pace to shift artefacts, paintings, collection of rare manuscripts, microfilms, the library of rare books and reference material, archives to the new five-storeyed building at Janpath hotel. The corridors of the spacious centre were spotted stacked with cardboard, wooden and aluminium boxes, that had historical material neatly packed in them.

Joshi said that they have been planning for the shifting process for the past six-eight months. “We have planned the process in two steps: long and short term. There is stuff which we don’t need on a day-to-day basis. We are packing all the archival material in boxes that will be stored safely in the new building. The rest is our daily routine stuff. Some divisions have already shifted and are in the process of settling down. We have planned the shifting process keeping in mind that we will be shifting again to our new centre (Jamnagar house) in a few years.”

Set up in 1985, the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Art is spread over 25 acre along the Central Vista. The centre has been developed on a design provided by American architect late Ralph Lerner, who was a professor at Princeton University. His design was selected in an international competition in which the government received 194 entries from architects from 37 countries, as per information available on IGNCA’s website.

The centre has been actively involved in organising exhibitions, performances, conferences, lectures. It also offers short-term and other courses in art and culture, which currently are being held online. Joshi said that they will resume regular activities from the new centre in June.

Joshi said that the space at Janpath hotel is more or less same as on the current campus. “There is an amphitheatre with a seating capacity of 400 and an auditorium with space for 160 people. There is space for galleries. There are more organised spaces there which we can convert into galleries. CPWD has refurbished the place as per our requirements,” said Joshi.

IGNCA officials said that the entire campus will be handed over to the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) by June this year.

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