Even after more than three years of the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, the State government appears to be still tying itself into knots in finalisation of the designs for the High Court and Assembly buildings in Amaravati. They are part of the Government Complex which is supposed to be ready by December 2018. The inordinate delay in finalisation of the designs is casting a doubt on whether the government would be able to meet the deadline and when Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said that there was no point in doing a rush job, it lent credence to the general impression that the government might overshoot the deadline. Naidu wanted the Assembly to be in the form of a diamond while the High Court should resemble a stupa but to him the designs at hand were nowhere near them, at least the exterior of the two buildings.
Naidu, after examining the designs which the master architect London based Fosters and Partners had come up with for Assembly and High Court, was far from thrilled as they had expected. Not hiding his displeasure, he said the architects could take more time to come up with better designs that would be acceptable not only to him but also to the people as Amaravati will be a people’s capital.
He was not impressed with the exterior of the two buildings when Fosters and Partners made a presentation to him a couple of days ago at the State secretariat in Velagapudi. He said the interiors were up to his expectations, but the exterior should be awe-inspiring, not dull and insipid as they were now.
He has the imposing setting of the capital of Mahishmati in Bahubali I and II in mind and asked the CRDA officials to get in touch with its director SS Rajamouli and if necessary take him to London and make him give suggestions to Fosters and Partners on how the facade of the two buildings should look like. Naidu also wants the designs to be a delectable medley of tradition and future as he foresees for AP. In fact, when Gautamiputra Satakarni was released in which his brother-in-law Balakrishna had played the lead role, Naidu was so impressed with the elements of architecture used in making the sets for the movie that he wanted them to be incorporated into the designs of Amaravati buildings. He asked the officials to be in touch with Krish, who is the director of the film. After watching Gautamiputra Satakarni, Naidu said it was an amazing film though the people who had seen it had a different view on it.
Now, the CRDA officials are busy trying to contact Rajamouli since Naidu had said that he would pay a visit to the office of Fosters and Partners in London in the later part of October when he embarks on the US and Europe tour and take a final look at the designs. But on an earlier occasion, when he wanted the officials to take the suggestions of Rajamouli, the latter politely refused to say that for one thing, he was busy with his Bahubali II and that he was not an architect. Even then, Naidu wants one more attempt be made to rope in Rajamouli and make Amaravati look the way Rajamouli looks at it.
In fact, when Naidu sacked Japan-based Maki and Associates in February and appointed Fosters and Partners as master architects, he made this point clear to them that the designs for Amaravati should have the flavour of Andhra culture, tradition and history. He asked Fosters and Partners who have designs of renovated Third Reich in Berlin ’80s and iconic buildings all over the world to their credit, to ensure that the design of the city will have the elements of the grandeur of the Satavahanas who ruled the empire with Amaravati as their capital in 230 BC. He has now given the same instructions - architects in AP should sit with those of Fosters and Partners and bring out the best designs that would make the city a unique one in the entire world.
Naidu may have his own reasons for taking time in finalisation of designs for the capital but any more delay would only add to the lung power of his critics that he was trying to sell a multi-colour dream to people with an eye on improving his electoral prospects in the next elections. Already the vocal brigades are attributing the delay to lack of funds and the Centre too appears not very excited about the designs exercise and his intentions to build world-class structures.They say that as funds are arriving in Amaravati in fits and starts, Naidu is trying to prevent people getting the impression that the project is being delayed for want of funds. “I do not mind if it takes more time but I want the best. Let the architects take time if they want to,” he said.