Stories told well, be it to be read, seen or interpreted are far more impacting and invoke thinking than banal displays and tomes of information which fail to engage beyond the momentary.
The museum with its varying sized galleries (stacked in two levels) is intended to be one such cauldron that will house and stage many stories. Stories of valour, sacrifice, victory; the science and architecture of warfare, its politics and economics and its consequences, from our very early past till the present day to be told with the primary aim to invoke the higher significance of the idea of the collective superseding the individual; the collective as in the family, the community, the nation that is us - INDIA.
The design approach is multi layered and was derived from several salient features within its context that were of design worthy considerations; - the location of site on a cross axis from the India Gate, 406 old trees, most of which must be saved, an existing foot print of barracks , Delhi's dry climate and in its response, adoption of passive energy methodology, water harvesting and use of recycled materials to reduce the carbon foot print and a poetic that draws from the narrative of Indian history of architecture.
The building is solemn and yet monumental, its fort wall charred as if burnt, aspired from imagery of devastations of war , and the galleries are in pristine marble, exposed brick, as large cauldrons - powerful and thought provoking.
Its two basic facets: the fort and its landscape within.
The architectonic elements being a huge long wall, and undulating ground plane and a public plaza all connected by water, and gallery on stilts above like large cauldrons.
Its spatial features include dark corridors pierced with light, a viewing gallery at the top, a hall of silence under water, and an underground tunnel to the memorial across the road and a cemetery.
The content is categorized into 4 basic segments, of war and history, its science, victory and human emotions. each segment with galleries dedicated so that they may be viewed separately, may overlap or seen all together at once The museum is thus less compelling, allowing higher chances of a revisit. A temporary exhibitions gallery stands alone in glass among the grove of trees.
The architectural haiku: - Buoyant; in a sea of trees.