Letter from Venice – Remembering the Hall of Nations, Pragati Maidan
A brief obituary.
[Text and photos by Anna Gerotto]
The Hall of Nations has been flattened. Even its name evoked respect.
During my visits to the wide open exhibition grounds of Pragati Maidan, I always tried to enter the building and sometimes I would mange to succeed. On stepping inside I would feel a sense of intimacy with the structure, especially if the place happened to be empty.
On the other hand, while looking at it from outside, the building stirred up the atmosphere of a pure vaster space such as that of a cathedral.
The Hall of Nations also reminded me of one of my nicer recurrent dreams.
Small jumps from a niche to another one.
Jump down and rebound higher and higher.
The rhythm of the joy to fly high.
The light designed to play with.
Now the building, circa 1972, has been demolished because the authorities want to replace it with a state-of-the-art exhibition space.
Was the architect of the Hall of Nations imagining a fragile house of card while conceptualizing it, I wonder.
The writer is a designer in Venice, Italy, who spends her time every year in Delhi during the non-Dengue and non-hot months.
Rest in peace