Model Photography
© Charles Correa Associates

Completed in 1996 by Indian architect Charles Correa, the Vidhan Bhavan ( State Assembly), in the capital city of Bhopal, for the Government of Madhya Pradesh was commissioned in 1980 but did not begin construction until 1983. Many factors determined its form: its site on the crest of a hill; the historic Muslim monu­ments nearby; and the famous Stupa of the Buddha at Sanchi, some fifty kilometers from the city. But perhaps the greatest deter­minant of form was the mandala – the cosmic organization of functions, sequences, and spaces within the ancient Hindu con­ception of the Universe.

Vidhan Bhavan Technical Information

Certainly architecture is concerned with much more than just its physical attributes. It is a many-layered thing. Beneath and beyond the strata of function and structure, materials and texture, lie the deepest and most compulsive layers of all.

– Charles Correa

Vidhan Bhavan Photographs

Photograph via The Aga Aga Khan AKhan Award
Exterior Facade
Photograph via The Aga Aga Khan AKhan Award
Exterior Side
Photograph via The Aga Aga Khan AKhan Award
Interior Space - Vidhan Bhavan State Assembly in Bhopal / Charles Correa
Photograph via The Aga Aga Khan AKhan Award
© Charles Correa Architects
Top Vie Model
© Charles Correa Architects

Text by the Architects2

Vidhan Bhavan, the new State Assembly for the government of Madhya Pradesh, reflects architect Charles Correa’s concern for humanist values in the seat of governmental authority. Rather than design a monument to political power, Correa organized the large government facility with a series of courtyards and pathways, which, while meeting the requirements of administrative and legislative functions, break down what could have been a monolithic whole into a series of urban spaces that welcome public participation.

Vidhan Bhavan sits on the crest of the Arerà Hill, overlooking the capital city of Bhopal and its historic Muslim monuments. It replaced a colonial-era structure that had served as a guesthouse for the viceroy of India before becoming the State Assembly building after the Indian States Reorganisation Act of 1956. The approach to the hilltop site is via a winding road; hence the plan of the building was developed as a circle. This gave the 32,000-square-metre building unity and presence regardless of the direction from which it was approached.

While the circular form recalls Correa’s interest in the mandala, here it primarily reflects Indian cultural and historical references, including the Parliament Building in New Delhi and the ancient Buddhist stupa in nearby Sanchi.

The program for the State Assembly specified four main functions:

  • the Vidhan Sabha, or Lower House, for 366 members;
  • the Vidhan Parishad, or Upper House, for seventy-five members;
  • the Combined Hall;
  • and the Library.

It also required a host of other facilities: offices for state ministers and their staffs; committee meeting rooms; suites for the Speaker of the House; offices for the Chief Secretary of the Government and the Chief Minister; and areas for cafeterias and administrative staffs. These programs also required various means of access for three kinds of users: the legislators,
the VIPs and the general public, who, for security reasons, needed to have separate paths of circulation to the various halls

Vidhan Bhavan Plans

Site Plan and Floor Plans | © Charles Correa Associates
Floor Plan - Vidhan Bhavan State Assembly in Bhopal / Charles Correa
Floor Plan | © Charles Correa Associates
Sections | © Charles Correa Associates
Elevation detail drawing
Facade Detail | © Charles Correa Associates

About Charles Correa

Charles Mark Correa (1930 – 2015) was an Indian architect and urban planner. Credited for the creation of modern architecture in post-Independent India, he was celebrated for his sensitivity to the needs of the urban poor and his use of traditional methods and materials
Other works from Charles Correa  

  1. Team: Kishor Pradhan (Landscape Arch.), Mahendra Raj (Structural engineer), Gautam Suri (Acoustic engineer)
  2. Text via The Aga Khan Award for Architecture