There are guidelines by the Council of Architecture that have to be followed for any architectural design competition in India.
Govt explains central vista project benefits (Image: IE)
Central Vista Redevelopment Project: The Central Vista is a heritage precinct that was declared as an important site to meet the aspirations of rich culture, in the 1962 Master Plan of Delhi. Thus, if there is an intent to redevelop the area, it is important to do extensive multi-disciplinary studies. Architect-urban designer KT Ravindran was quoted in an Indian Express report as saying that they should ascertain their requirement for the next 25 years first and accordingly, develop a programme. The site can be selected after deciding the magnitude of the project. In Central Vista’s case, the site is already present, so the programme needs to be fitted to the site. According to Ravindran, the studies that need to be done for the project redevelopment should include infrastructure, from electrical loads as well as water supply to waste disposal. Also, heritage, traffic and environment assessments, will need to be done as well.
In the case of Delhi, based on the design idea, the project proponent or the client has to seek conceptual approval from the Delhi Urban Arts Commission (DUAC). Architect Madhav Raman was quoted in the IE report saying that these are financial decisions, which include clearance from the Central Vigilance Commission as well as monetary allocations from the Finance Ministry. As per General Finance Rules 2017, for conducting a competition or floating a tender, details should be available in the public domain. Also, project assessment studies will be included in the information that have been done by regulatory bodies and NDMC. A body that has elected representation, which is NDMC, MCD or DDA, makes the regulatory Master Plan. It appears that in the Central Vista Redevelopment Project, the project masterplan by CPWD is supplanting the city’s regulatory Master Plan (MPD2021). According to Raman, the CPWD is not an urban local body, the NDMC is, so they should have sought sanction from NDMC.
Technically there was no call to competition in the Central Vista Redevelopment project, said architect Sanjay Bhardwaj. He further said it was a Notice Inviting Tender. There are guidelines by the Council of Architecture that have to be followed for any architectural design competition in India. To give a solution, architects, designers, planners are invited in such competitions, which may also include a remuneration. There may or may not be any prequalification condition for the competition and only those who qualify can apply, Bhardwaj added.
Such competitions can be conducted in two stages or more, suggests the COA. The first stage is an ‘Ideas Competition’ where the merit is on innovation and possibilities, while the second stage is where the selection of the winner is done on the basis of his/her capacity to deliver. Between competition and a tender, the difference is that a design competition is not an award of contract, it could just be for a prize. While a tender is a firm intent and the contract is given to the selected applicant. After giving the contract, the architect is on a deadline to work out cost estimates, expand on the design brief, as well as prepare a detailed design plan. Usually, before the competition, the names of all jury members are announced who can make recommendations about the winning design as well.
After seeking No Objection Certificates from fire service, AAI, ASI, followed by nods from Central and CVC as well as Heritage Conservation Committee, the NDMC can submit the project to DUAC for detailed approval. After getting clearance from them, the construction of the project can begin with periodic supervision by the municipal body in order to ensure there are no major changes to the plan.