The competition initiated by the German Goethe-Institute (Max Müller Bhavan) in New Delhi asked for proposals for a multifunctional and temporary exhibition and event-space that is to be placed in several Indian cities during the German-Indian-year 2011-2012. The competition has been attended by 73 participants in the first phase and 9 participants in the second phase. With our proposal we have fused and transformed crucial elements of German and Indian architectural heritage into a new pavilion-like structure. In order to do this we have used the inherent modularity, additive strategies, and super-elevation that is found in Indian chattri-structures as well as in slowly grown German churches as playful design-principles. Because the competition brief explicitly asked for a design that performs as an “eye-catcher” within the busy Indian city-centers we have chosen to use the above strategies to create a conglomerated structure that is spectacular by height and form on the one side yet simple in distribution of space on the other. This structure and its additional presentation-spaces are designed as a tent-city that is woven into the given urban spaces opening up at three sides as an overall inviting organism. It is a rich interlocking of, open spaces, semi-open porches, transitional zones and a rather intimate central space to house the main program. The pavilion is made of two interacting elements: (1) the plateau and (2) the skin.
The skin is designed as a membrane which is shaped as a row of chimneys. These chimneys fulfill diverse functions at the same time: they create a very specific interior ambience and as solar chimneys control the natural ventilation of the enclosed spaces as well. Thus they are as important for our approach towards a sustainable building concept as they are crucial to the pavilion’s expressive formal gesture outside and its carefully composed interior light conditions: the most spectacular of the pavilion would not limited to its outer appearance but rather created by its specific interior atmosphere.
The plateau again would support the membrane-structure and house the main serving programs and installations. It was to be made of bamboo and constructed locally by Indian craftsmen. Together with the membrane that would have been produced in Germany the plateau would have formed a visible act of “common effort” shared by Germany and India with the ambition to not just conceptually but literally compile “the best of both worlds”.