Project: JayaPrakash Narayan Interpretation Center/Museum of Socialism, Lucknow, UP
Architects: Archohm, Noida, UP
The JayaPrakash Narayan Interpretation Center/ Museum of Socialism is built on the idea of creating public architecture, whose design vocabulary endows a contemporary value to past events, but stands
its ground with its ‘new-found’ institutional identity reflecting the polarized views of civic authorities, curators, historians
and the general public. The contemporary nature of the museum’s architecture takes responsibility for creating what
will be tomorrow’s history while narrating the current one. Although it celebrates and shares the ideology of socialism in retrospect, it also refl ects the times we live in—both in its experience and space-making. The building- the parts and
the whole do their best to communicate
THE essence of the Interpretation Centre which is about the idea of socialism and about the visionary—Jayaprakash Narayan (JP). Archohm Consults, a multidisciplinary architecture studio, in line with Akhilesh Yadav’s (Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh)
vision, has been responsible for the design of this museum. The monolithic and bold form of the building takes a stance, and exudes empowerment, saying that, be it a
building or man, one must be undaunted while envisioning and realizing a dream. It is much like what we understand of JP’s life. Despite, the scale and the unconventional shape,
the building with its clean and clear lines is deceptively simple. Just like the man it represents, the profound depth and complexity is revealed on the inside and it only
reinforces the notion of simplicity being rooted in deepthought and refl ection.
GROUND FLOOR PLAN
The architecture of the building blurs the boundaries of the role of architecture in space making. The conception of
the institution was a journey that evolved with the project.The architecture sits in conversation and merges seamlessly
with museum and exhibition planning, experience design and landscape. The centre serves as a gateway to the
JayaPrakash Narayan Interpretation Center and together, they ensure that an international flavor is imparted to the complex which in turn validates the recognition of the institution as an attempt to be an ambassador of the city
Along with the adjoining International Convention Center, the Interpretation Center is inserted as an anchor point on one of the principal nodes of the city so that it takes on the onus of becoming a contemporary landmark and hopes to inspire the development of the urban fabric
around it. The terracotta cladding responds to the integrity of a historical cityscape.
The complex stands as a conceptual counter argument to the park across and ensures a climatic response by maximizing the green cover of the complex. One of the facades merges
with the abutting greenery; the adjoining forest is literally and metaphorically swept off its feet and lifted audaciously up to the fifth floor elucidating the value of greens in the context. The center therefore serves as a ‘respiratory apparatus’ in the form of breathing spaces that also double up as phenomenal community centers engaging the inhabitants and the built
environment of the city, with a view to entertain and educate.
Gateway to JPN International Center The Jayaprakash Narayan International Convention Center has been conceived as a place that offers the citizens of Lucknow, multiple choices of leisure, business, recreation and sports. It is a place where people from all walks of life—
from the local to the overseas visitor can have a meaningful and memorable interaction and experience. The JPN Interpretation Center is a gateway framing the International
Center. It is placed as a wedged-shaped monument with a
massive arch carved out of the mass; its nine-meter height
and twenty metre ambitious span clearly attempt to push the
limits of structural design and construction.
The wedge shaped museum is actually a slice of the same
shape and size carved out from the mass of the international center building - leaving in its place, a void that opens up the center. It then takes a seat on the site in a way that is majestically juxtaposed with the International Center, thus
creating its own identity even while owing allegiance to it.
The gateway as a void is the entrance to the interpretation
centre and the silhouette of the grand arch in its entrance
offers a framed view of its parent at that point.
Play of Levels At first, the journey of experiencing JP is a linear one—in
chronological fashion and divided into zones of specific themes, which are also interconnected and become components of a parallel and far less tangible journey on their
own. However, the experience is made interesting, complex and layered by the use of the third dimension that involves not a play of voluminous spaces, but also of levels. A deceptive
singular platonic outer shape belies the complexity of the play of levels inside; made perceptible for visitors through elements of vertical circulation as ramps and a variety of
stairs and steps. These help physically navigate and take up the challenge of merging the interlocking volumes.
THE Volumetric Composition
Large voluminous spaces enable the creation of bespoke backdrops for the thematically designed experiences, while providing the necessary curatorial flexibility needed
by a typology of this nature. Platonic volumes try to induce clarity into the visceral experience of space; this clarity also echoes JP’s character. Additionally, their three-dimensional
property supports a multi-dimensional and more meaningful experience; even adding a dose of surrealism to it. The entrance is a triple-height volume that immediately initiates
a perception of the scale of the institution and the stature of the persona. In the basement, the volume equivalent to two floors with water-bodies on both sides is a play of illusion in
which the building seems to fl oat. Volumes are inserted within volumes to add layers of complexity and as surprises to the experience of space-making. Internally, volumes are made to interlock smoothly as not only is the sense of a collective