The state assembly, in the capital city of Bhopal has been designed by architect Charles Correa for the government of Madhya Pradesh. It was commissioned in 1980 but did not begin construction till 1983, and was ultimately completed in 1993. Charles Correa’s Assembly complex is an amalgam of elements from history intricately woven together without kitsch in the heat and light of India.
The plan is a series of gardens within gardens. The administrative offices are used to define a pattern of nine compartments. The five central ones are halls and courtyards, with the four corners occupied by specialized functions. Besides the Vidhan Sabha (336 members) and the Vidhan Parishad(75 members) there are suites and offices for the speaker of the house, for the chief ministers, for the chief secretary and their supporting staffs, as well as 70 offices for the minister with their P.A’s. together with committee rooms and section office.
The site chosen for the building is indeed a monumental one. It is in the centre of the capital complex, at the highest point on Arera hill, overlooking the city of Bhopal. It is obvious that the shape of the building needs to reflect this unique location, with a form that is “readable” from many different vantage points. Such clarity is difficult to achieve on this site with square or rectangular forms since the angle of the main access road is not constant, but swings considerably in relation to the building, thus was gradually developed the circular form.
The majestic work combines a modern sensibility with themes derived from traditional architecture in harmonium way. The tradition and mythological beliefs of the country is conceived in the design in the form of Navgraha mandal, the Hindu pattern of nine squares within a square which describes the universe and nine planets (some of them mythic). The nine grahas of the Navgraha mandal are surya, Chandra, kuja (mangala), Buddha, curve, sukha, shani, rahu and ketu. Each compartment of square is dedicated to one god. The basic concept lies in the depiction of whole M.P. state within one building which is highest political representation of M.P. hence represents by Navgraha mandal.
The Navgraha mandal is complimented by a number of other features which in turn represents the state and the building. The form of the biggest assembly chamber (the Vidhan Sabha) was from the great Buddhist stupa at Sanchi. The plan is a series of garden within gardens, with the administrative offices defining a pattern of nine compartments.
Vidhan Bhavan is divided into nine compartments or squares each enclosing in it a pattern of gardens within gardens. The five central squares Form halls and courtyards which are not only assemblage points, but also house the various offices of the Vidhan Bhavan secretariat and support services which a legislature needs. The four corner squares are occupied by structures given over to specialized functions. i.e. the Vidhan Sabha or lower house, the Vidhan Parishad or the upper house, the combined hall for joint sessions of both houses and any other non- legislative functions which might be organized by the Vidhan Bhavan and a cabinet room and the offices of the chief minister and other ministers.
Entry to the building is through three main gates or ‘dwars’, one for people at large through Kund, one for member of legislature and ministers and one for the speaker of the house. There is also a smaller entrance for the chief minister and the minister attending cabinet meeting. There are 3 main entrance: for the public, for the VIP’s and for the MLA’s. these three streams, each separated from the others, experience the complex internal spaces of the building while moving along verandahs overlooking courtyards and gardens as in the traditional architecture of the India.
Because of its siting on the crest of a hill in the centre of Bhopal, Vidhan Bhavan commands magnificent views of the city all around. Truly it is a celebration of the state of Madhya Pradesh, of its culture and its people – a vendible palace of democracy.
The Vidhan Bhavan is a huge building, covering an area of more than 32,000 sq. meters of built space. Seeing the form taken by the normal run of Government architecture, the Vidhan Bhavan could have degenerated into a lump of heavy dough perched on a hill. In point of fact viewed from any point of the compass the Vidhan Bhavan impresses by its light footedness and effervescence.
The whole building presents as extremely pleasing vision of powerful curves and straight vertical and horizontal lines. Whereas the building could have fallen into the trap of being merely monumental, its pristinely simple lines raise it to an altogether different plane. This is the genius of Charles Correa.
In a total break from modernism and post-modernism, Charles Correa has developed a deep understanding of the Vedic principles of architecture, from which has emerged an extra ordinary synthesis of the totally traditional with the totally modern, The Kund”, which is ritualistically dedicated to Surya and which is central to both ancient and medieval architecture in India, is almost a signature of Charles Correa and, therefore, the main entrance to the Vidhan Bhavan is through the Kund area. Any entrance to a building would normally be associated with a constant rushing to and fro, a passage crowded with people. The Kund area however, is a place for slow progression, for contemplation of the sky above, a place to sit and rest whilst admiring the magnificent tribal wall paintings of Late Shri Jangad Singh Shyam.
The Vidhan Bhavan is divided into nine compartments of squares each enclosing in it a pattern of gardens within gardens. The five Central squares form hall and courtyards which are not only assemblage points but also house the various offices of the Vidhan Bhavan Secretariat and support services which a legislature need. The four corner squares are occupied by structures given over to specialised function. i.e. the Vidhan Sabha or Lower House, the Vidhan Parishad or upper House, the combined hall for joint session of both houses and any other non-Legislative function which might be organised by the Vidhan Bhavan and a cabinet room and the offices of the Chief Minister and other Ministers. Entry to the building is through three main gates or ‘dwars’, one for people at large through the Kund, one for member of the legislature and minister and one for the Speaker of the House. There is also a smaller entrance for the Chief Minister and Ministers attending cabinet meetings.
The programme for the state legislative assembly specifies four main functions: the Vidhan Sabha (lower house), Vidhan Parishad (upper house), the combined hall and the library. it contains a host of other facilities, offices of the 70 state ministers (including their office staff), committee meeting rooms, office suites for the speaker of the house and his staff, offices for the opposition parties, for the chief secretary of the government, for the chief minister and cabinet room, as well as cafeterias and common rooms for the members of the legislative assembly the administration and the security staff etc.
These requirements are organized so as to provide independent access to three separate categories of users: the legislatures, the VIP’s and the general public who, for reasons of security, need to have an independent path. The program of the building is extremely complex one. It has several different, each of whom should use the building without impinging the other. At the same time, it is important that every group, although confines to its own particular locus, perceives and experiences the architectural spaces and composition of overall entity.
SPACES IN VIDHAN SABHA
- The upper house – Vidhan Parishad (75 members)
- The lower house – Vidhan Sabha (231 members)
- The combined hall
- The speakers office
- The chief minister office
- The chief secretary and supporting staff office.
- The ministers and P.A’s office (70 nos.)
- Services, utilities, and parking facilities.
Vidhan Sabha (lower house)
The major attraction is the assembly hall. The capacity of hall is 231.it is circular in plan, has 15.5 mts. radius covered by hemispherical dome of dia. 31.00mts and thickness varies from 150 to 90mm the height of the crown from floor is 25mts. K-13 cellulose fiber coating in 40 mm thickness is used to control the echo in the hall and also broken tiles are used on the roof for heat insulation Access to the hall is provided through the grand entrance resembling to Sanchi gate. It is painted very colorfully representing the presence of lord Ganpati at entrance.
Vidhan Parishad (upper house)
There is also a provision for Vidhan Parishad hall but now it’s being used as a conference hall. It houses about 75 members. Its roof has been designed as an inclined space truss covered with 150 mm thick R.C.C. slab.
For the joint session of Vidhan Sabha and Vidhan Parishad, there is provision for common hall, presently using as a auditorium. Its roof has been designed as a warped slab (hyperbola cum parabola slab).
For century, courtyard has always been one of the most successful ways of dealing with the hot dry climate. The courtyards also have marvelous architectural and human attributes. They form natural foci for the people to linger and contemplate or to intermingle for informal discussion in grave. Keeping this in mind a series of courtyards have been symmetrically placed along the main axis. The courtyards themselves differ in the treatment and atmosphere, so there is a sense of clear procession through the building. One comes in through the entrance courtyard, under a large pergola really an open-to-sky public forum. From here one proceeds to the central courtyard that is covered, and lit by a domed skylight. The other three courtyards are partially covered and partially open-to-sky in different ways. Thus, as one progresses through the building, there are subtle changes in character and ambiance.