Jawahar Kala Kendra,
Jaipur. India. 1986-1990
Architect: Charles Correa 


Maharaja
Jai Singh, who built the fabled Pink city of Jaipur was moved by two seemingly conflicting
set of mythic ideas and images. On the one hand there was the ancient Navgraha
(the mandala of the nine planets) and on the other, the newest myths of Science
and Progress.

Thus the
city of Jaipur,
double coded like Jai Singh himself, is truly astonishing for its synthesis of
past and future, of the material and metaphysical f worlds. In this, Jai Singh
is indeed analogous to another man, born more than two centuries later, India’s first
Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Guiding the nation after Independence,
Nehru wanted to re-discover India’s
past whilst simultaneously opening the door to a new future.

The Arts Centre, dedicated to Nehru, is really a metaphor of both men – and for Jaipur
itself. Like them, and like the city, it is double-coded: a contemporary
building based on an archaic notion of the Cosmos: – the very same Navgraha
mandala, with one of the squares moved aside, to recall the gesture that
created the original plan for Jaipur.