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'Interpreting Geometries': A Unique Repository Of Rashtrapati Bhavan's Flooring Patterns

The incumbent President of India, Ram Nath Kovind will step down from office on July 24 after completing a successful tenure as India's first citizen

Ram Nath Kovind

Image: Rashtrapati Bhavan/ Twitter

As incumbent President of India Ram Nath Kovind steps down from office on July 24 after completing a successful tenure in India's top Constitutional post, a special book about the Rashtrapati Bhavan named 'Interpreting Geometries' is set to release on Saturday, July 23.

This book is a unique repository of flooring patterns of the Rashtrapati Bhavan designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens for the abode of the Viceroy of India in 1912 (a project that lasted until 1929). It documents and analyses the intricate play of geometry applied to evolve the unique flooring pattern. This volume examines around 22 spaces, out of which a step-by-step graphical explanation on how to understand the design inspiration and geometry of 31 patterns is provided. 

This special book is being published to highlight the inherent importance of the building as the residence of the first citizen of India. A survey that was conducted revealed the exquisite patterns of flooring with a unique geometric layout and composition, which are both floral and abstract, running through the different areas of the complex and yet binding together the spaces viz loggias, porticos, entrance halls, staircases, grand halls, cere

monial halls and attendant spaces.

A team of 6 architecture students and 4 faculty members was constituted for the task of documentation.

About 'Interpreting Geometries'

The book will have two volumes. The first volume of the book will deal with the important halls of the central area of the H-shaped building, while the second volume would detail the flooring patterns in the four wings of the building. Further, the first volume is divided into six chapters where the introductory chapter describes the design philosophy and inception of Rashtrapati Bhavan in Raisina Hill and the inspiration which led to the creation of such unique flooring in the H-shaped building.

The remaining three chapters are dedicated to the documentation and decoding of the flooring patterns where each chapter is a repository of patterns on each floor - lower basement floor, upper basement floor and the main floor. These chapters contain multiple architectural floor plan drawings, flooring pattern drawings and interpretation sketches to understand the flooring in detail.

The decoding of the patterns has been done by the authors on the basis of available archival drawings of flooring created by Edwin Lutyens during the commencement of the project, based upon an understanding of the system of proportions and principles of design (symmetry, rhythm, balance, order, hierarchy etc). 

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