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Bharat Bhavna, Bhopal

Bharat Bhavan is an autonomous multi-arts complex and museum in Bhopal, India,

established and funded by the Government of Madhya Pradesh.

Address - J. Swaminathan Marg, Shamla Hills, Near Upper Lake, Bhopal, Madhya-
Pradesh, 462001 India.
Opened - Feb 13, 1982.
Architect - Charles Correa.

The complex includes an art gallery of Indian painting and sculpture, a fine art workshop,
an open-air Amphitheatre (Bahiran), a studio theatre (Abhirang), an auditorium
(Antarang), a museum tribal and folk art, libraries of Indian poetry, classical music as well
as folk music.

Besides this, Bhavan hosts artists and writers under its artist-in-residence program at the
"Ashram". Over the years, it has become a popular tourist attraction.

Min 12 ° in December
Max 41 ° in May
Wind direction
north to north east.
Average 5 – 8 Km/Hr
Materials - Exposed brickwork For structure and stone paving
Light - concrete shells are provided for natural light

Ventilation - continuously increasing building height divert

winds to the top

an institution to celebrate the cultural and creative output of the nation.

Designed by Indian architectural luminary Charles Correa, this multi-arts center first opened
its doors in 1982. More than thirty years later, it continues to house a variety of cultural
facilities and play host to multitude of arts events.
Architecture And Accessbility
The design of the complex is a product of Correa’s mission to establish a modern
architectural style specific to India and distinct from European Modernism.

Built into a hillside which slopes down toward a lake, a series of terraces and courtyards
comprise the complex.
Upon entering, the visitor has the choice of following the path of terraces cascading down to
the lake, or descending to the three courtyards which provide access to the majority of the
cultural facilities.
These include contemporary art galleries, a museum of tribal art, an auditorium, a library of
Indian poetry, a print shop, and a studio for an artist-in-residence.
From the courtyards, wide glass-paneled openings to the buildings ensure the arts program
is both literally and figuratively accessible to all. At the bottom of the site sits an
amphitheater, where open-air performances take place with the lake forming a natural
`The route through the terraces encourages movement down the site’s natural gradient,
with the courtyards providing tranquil spaces for rest and relaxation.
The dialogue between these two components creates an ebb and flow of energy around the
complex, in what Correa described as a “Ritualistic Pathway”.
The ritual of following a sacred pathway is, he claims, “a universal impulse, found in all
cultures and religions.” Correa emphasized the spirituality of his own pathways by drawing
parallels with those found in religious architecture, including “the sun temples of Mexico”
and the Hindu temples of Bali “with their ritualistic pathways up the hillside.”

At Bharat Bhavan, the flights of stairs between the terraces reference traditional Indian
architecture while implying the sanctity of the pathway.
The stairs are reminiscent of ghats; steps found in Indian cities which lead down to a body
of holy water, just as Correa’s steps guide the pedestrian to the lakeside. Indeed, Correa
cited the bathing ghats on the bank of the River Ganges at Varanasi as a stylistic
influence. the steps guide the pedestrian to the lakeside; the religious connotations
emphasizing the sacred nature of this pathway.

Rather than importing the “sealed boxes” of European architecture, necessitated by the
colder Western climate, instead Correa created “open-to-sky spaces.”
Climate – humid subtropical

He observed that “in a warm climate, the best place to be in the late evenings and in the
early mornings is outdoors, under the open sky.”
The sunken courtyards at Bharat Bhavan provide shade from the scorching midday sun,
while the raised terraces offer refreshing air and space at cooler times of day. This climate-
control solution was lifted directly from India’s architectural history, inspired by the
courtyards and terraces of the Red Fort at Agra.

Light and ventilation

The sky held a spiritual power and mythical significance for Correa, who described it as “the
abode of the gods” and “the source of light – which is the most primordial of stimuli acting
on our senses.”

He aimed to harness the power of the sky to create a metaphysical experience through
architecture, proclaiming that “there is nothing so profoundly moving as stepping out into an
open-to-sky space and feeling the great arch of the sky above.”[10]

The sky is even incorporated into the interior spaces of the site, with concrete ‘shells’ a top
the structure allowing light and air to pour in through their circular openings.

From the exterior, these shells seem to reinterpret another feature of India’s architectural
vocabulary: the decorative chattris (‘umbrellas’) which originally sat atop Rajasthani

The outdoor spaces are physical manifestations of the concept of “Empty Space,” a
recurring theme both in India’s visual culture and, in particular, its philosophy.

Away from the activity within the buildings, the courtyards provide a contemplative void,
enhanced by the placing of sculptures in their center. These act a meditative focal point for
the viewer, much like the solitary tree often found in the center of Japanese courtyards.

Correa’s characteristic use of the void as an architectural tool has been widely described as
‘non-building’. He marveled at the expressive potency of nothingness, reflecting that it is
“strange indeed that since the beginning of time, Man has always used the most inert of
materials, like brick and stone, steel and concrete, to express the invisibilia that so
passionately move him.”