What makes this bungalow so different?

What makes this bungalow so different?

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This house was Baker's residence during the construction of New Delhi but it is not clear whether he designed it himself

While the people of this country will be eagerly waiting for the first 100 days of the government to get an insight into the new government’s policies and programs, newly elected MPs, on the other hand, too will be anxious during the same period to find out their new address in Delhi. While for some MPs the address where they will be staying may make them popular, in some cases the addresses become popular because of the people who stayed there. A case in point is the address 6A, Krishna Menon Marg in New Delhi. Do you know what makes this bungalow so different?

The bungalow, currently carrying the address 6A, Krishna Menon Marg was originally known as the 8, Hastings Road bungalow in the British-era, and its last occupant was former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. And in all probability, the new occupant of this bungalow will be our new Home Minister, Amit Shah. Presently, Amit Shah is staying at 11 Akbar Road.

Structurally, there is hardly any difference between the residence at 11 Akbar Road and the bungalow at 6A Krishna Menon Marg. Both houses are equally sprawling and, in government records, are classified as Type 8 houses, reserved for ministers of cabinet rank.

For Mr Shah the bungalow on Krishna Menon Marg may have more sentimental value as the tallest leader of his party stayed there till he breathed his last in 2018. But for architects, this building has special significance for different reasons.

According to historians, 6A, Krishna Menon Marg bungalow has had many noted occupants and the most important one being architect Sir Herbert Baker who resided in it while New Delhi was being built as the new capital of the British Raj. While Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens was the main architect of the new imperial capital, Baker and other architects also assisted in designing several iconic buildings dotting the landscape. Baker is chiefly known for designing the iconic North Block and South Block of the government Secretariat on the Raisina Hill and the Parliament House (then called Council House) next to it.

The RIBA’s collection carries a rare sepia-toned photograph of the bungalow, titled ‘Bungalow, 8 Hastings Road, New Delhi’ (https://www.architecture.com/image-library/RIBApix/image-information/poster/bungalow-8-hastings-road-new-delhi/posterid/RIBA34041.html). According to RIBA, the architectural style of the bungalow with its impressive facade, is “classic revival” and the photo was taken in 1920.

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