The legacy of the multiple-layered architecture of the past JPNIC

The legacy of the multiple-layered architecture of the past can sometimes become India’s Achilles heel. If this century is believed to belong to designers, then contemporary architecture must be centre stage and must take responsibility for creating what will be tomorrow’s history.

  • Name of Project  :-  Jayaprakash Narayan Interpretation Centre (Museum of  Socialism) Lucknow
  • Name of Client    :-   Lucknow Development Authority
  • Principal Architect  :-  Mr. Sourabh Gupta
  • WEBSITE            :-
  • Architecture Design Team    :-   Amit Sharma, Sanjay Rawat, Dipankar Dutta, Bhoomika Singhal, Ram Sagar, Neha Aggarwal, Shahzad Ahmad
  • Experience Design Team     :-   Siddharth Bathla, Shubham Agrahari, Divya Makhijani, Prashasti   Chandra, Masood Khan, Anshika Bhandari, Rishabh Kaushik,
  • Harnehmat Kaur, Aakash Srivastava, SourabhKhurana, Vimal Rautela, Harsh Chauhan, Varun Sood, Dheeraj Pandey, Manish Singh

  • Site Area  :-18.6 acres (75464 sqm)
  • Built-Up Area :-3355 sqm.
  • Start Date :-October 2013
  • Completion Date :-October 2016
  • Photographer :-Andre Fanthome, Bharat Aggarwal
  • Project Cost  :-35.98 cr
  • Structural :-ROARK Consulting
  • Mechanical :-Sunil Nayyar Consultants Pvt. Ltd.
  • Electrical  :- ARCHOHM Consults
  • Landscape : - Shaheer Associates S.J.A. Consultants
  • HVAC   & Plumbing  :-Sunil Nayyar Consultants Pvt. Ltd.

A city is a place of availabilities says Louis Kahn. But the relentless pursuit of these availabilities and the resultant usurping of space and resources chokes the very lungs of the city till it asphyxiates. ‘Respiratory apparatus’  in the form of breathing spaces that also double up as phenomenal community centres engaging the inhabitants and the built environment of the city with a view to entertain and educate are critical requirements of any city of today.


In this context, the ‘unconventional convention centre’, arguably one of the single largest public edifices in the entire state of Uttar Pradesh has been conceived to fundamentally convene urbanity and nature and celebrate one of the ‘few good men’, socialist Jayaprakash Narayan, or ‘Loknayak’. Designed as a signature building in ‘the city of Nawabs’-the Lucknow of the 21st. C., it will serve as an important social, cultural and ecological landmark. 

The centre boasts of facilities ranging from an Olympic scale aquatic and sports centre, a business centre, a museum and a hotel while physically and programmatically standing cheek by jowl in the very urbane but green district of Lucknow.

The design of the building is thus a responsible, sensitive and gallant attempt at negotiation with the contrasting and oft conflicting contexts of urbanity and nature. The terracotta cladding of the east elevation responds to the cityscape. 

As the complex stands as a conceptual counter argument to the adjacent stone elephant park where trees had previously found no place to climatically ‘park’ the place’, its west facade is a park that merges with the abutting greenery; the adjoining forest is literally and metaphorically swept off its feet almost audaciously up to the fifth floor, exploring and striving to demonstrate the ‘greenest possible’ design. 

The media box is suspended from the sports complex structure that spans a massive forty-eight metres using steel trusses over a metre in diameter. The auditorium’s flowing curved metal roof makes for an eye-catching silhouette even from a distance and metaphorically opens up the skies from within. 


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 reflects the times we live in – both in its experience and space-making. The Jayaprakash Narayan Interpretation Centre (JPNIC) 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 polarised views of civic authorities, curators, historians and the general public. 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).


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 deep- thought and reflection.

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 International Centre and together, they ensure that an international flavour is imparted to the complex which in turn validates the recognition of the institution as an attempt to be an ambassador of the city of Lucknow. 

The experience of the Interpretation Centre is through four thematic zones. The zone of absorption is where information about the life journey and values of JP is imbibed. The more interactive zone of realisation facilitates a closer look at JP. The zone of internalisation allows time and space for introspection on the take-away-how one can take initiatives in their own life. 

The concluding zone-a congregation place is meant to influence and inspire collective expression of the learning. The journey both literal and allegoric is all about movement. Physical navigation of space makes exhibits dynamic.

The chronological narrative of JP’s journey is depicted in almost all mediums imaginable; not merely through a display of artefacts, but through a sequence of static, dynamic, sensorial and experiential moments that include his belongings, furniture, letters, cartoons and illustrations, poems and songs, oral archives, documentaries, info-graphics and many new, automated and technologically suave user interfaces as holograms, projection mapping, kinetic installations and those that make the virtual as real as possible and  appealing to wider and universal audiences.

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