North Central Railway Zonal Headquarters, Allahabad

The design for the zonal headquarters intertwines buildings and open spaces in such a way that it makes them a composite whole. A sequence of pergolas at the entrance to the buildings, combined with the atria and the internal streets, results in an interesting play of light and shade.

The two-storey high avenue is the central spine of the complex. It provides access to the various buildings and open spaces, while offering glimpses into the inner courts, the atria of different departments and other activity spaces. It thus integrates the complex.

The various departments, each a three-storied, wellventilated, independent block around a central atrium, are planned in clusters of three. Internal streets connect them. This design encourages interaction, even while maintaining the identity of each department. Large, open spaces provide relief to the clusters.

The corporate block, planned on a podium with a large flight of steps at the entrance, is highlighted by a pyramidal roof over a central atrium. At the ground level, the atrium houses the central reception and a gallery displaying the history of the Indian Railways.

The six-storied tower block is another distinctive architectural feature here. A library on the ground floor forms the base to this tall building.

The auditorium and canteen are planned at some distance from the administration. The auditorium is at the periphery, thus offering direct access to a large, outside audience. A paved court in front of it also forms the entrance for staff and visitors.

Client: Central Railways.
Area: 25000 sq. mt.
Estimated cost: Rs. 1400 lac.
Design and construction: 1996-Design in association
with Design Action Group, Delhi