The Indian Habitat Centre is designed by American architect Joseph Allen Stein, It is a convention center located at Lodhi Road in New Delhi. However, it is India’s most comprehensive convention center. The central courtyard as well as the exposed brickwork are the main attraction of the building. Also, the center houses theatre performances, art exhibitions, the film shows and other cultural events.  The cultural hub is also known for hosting plays, book readings, music concerts, dance performances, corporate luncheons and office workshops. Some of the organizations in this complex include the Labour Organization (I.L.O), the National Institute of Design, and the Council of Architecture.

The Indian Habitat Centre - Climatologically sound building
The Indian Habitat Centre

Case study of The Indian Habitat Centre

  • Architect: Joseph Allen Stein
  • Location: New Delhi
  • Site area: 9 acres
  • Super built up area: 97000 sq. mt.
  • Year of completion: 1993
  • Design style: modern with a brick facade

Zoning and planning

The campus spreads in an area of nine acres. It consists of six restaurants, four galleries, one auditorium, an amphitheater and an atrium. Moreover, landscape, horticulture, and water bodies create a soothing and pleasant ambiance on the campus.

The campus is accessible from three sides. Lodhi road being on the north side segregates vehicular and pedestrian movement. Five main building blocks contain the major functional spaces like offices, exhibition areas, conference facilities, cafeterias etc. These blocks interconnect using aerial walkways.

Furthermore, the convention block divides into two built structures. One is the convention centre and the other is the auditorium. The convention centre has a separate entry to avoid disturbance in other parts of the campus.

Moreover, such a big campus requires a lot of parking spaces. So, to fulfil the parking needs of the campus, parking of 1000 cars are present on the basement floor.

Basement car parking
The Indian Habitat Centre - Climatologically sound building
Site plan

Also, Read: Symmetry in Symbolism – Portland Building

The habitat art galleries & exhibition areas

There are three art galleries in the complex. They are a visual art gallery, open palm court, and experimental art gallery. However, these galleries provide a platform for artists to display their artwork. Additionally, there is an exhibition space at the convention centre.

Open palm court, IHC
The Indian Habitat Centre - Climatologically sound building
Art exhibition at IHC

The Stein auditorium/ conference hall

Additionally, the building has one of the finest convention centres. It is equipped with facilities like an auditorium, conference halls, guest rooms and a documentation centre. The convention centre, as well as the hospitality areas together, are the habitat world.

Stein auditorium, IHC
The Indian Habitat Centre - Climatologically sound building
Stein auditorium, IHC

The Habitat library & resource centre at The Indian Habitat Centre

The habitat library offers a range of services like internet access, use of multimedia resources, newspapers, audio-visuals, music, books etc. The library also has a lounge with a capacity of 50 people to sit and have discussions.

The habitat library and resource centre

The IHC film club

The IHC film club was established in the March of the year 2000. It aims at providing a meaningful and soulful cinema, to release worldwide. Moreover, interactive sessions with producers, directors and other crew members take place at the film club. It also helps the artists to improve their craft.

The Indian Habitat Centre - Climatologically sound building
14th Habitat Film Festival
Art Installation at IHC


Moreover, there are six cafeterias on the campus from which eatopia and the American diner are open to the public. The other four namely Delhi ‘o’ Delhi, Oriental octopus, Past times and The deck are for members only.

The Indian Habitat Centre - Climatologically sound building
The American Diner

Also, Read: Srilanka parliament building

Design features

  • The exposed brick façade, natural landscaping, and open spaces give an earthiness to the space. And also keep its habitat theme intact.
  • The fountain near the second entrance reduces heat and cools the surrounding. It uses the phenomena of evaporative cooling.
  • Shading devices are also installed on the roof. It tends to block the sun’s rays.
Sun shading device
The Indian Habitat Centre - Climatologically sound building
Indian Habitat Centre
  • The central open courtyard is house to a variety of vegetation ranging from tall trees to small shrubs. It also has stone sculptures. Also, these green areas provide ventilation within the building space.
  • The amphitheatre is an interesting feature of the complex.
The Indian Habitat Centre - Climatologically sound building
  • Open to sky grass lawns create a different setting altogether.
  • The use of level difference create segregation between vehicular and pedestrian entries.
  • The building is 30 meters high. However, the different building blocks interconnects with aerial walkways.
  • Horizontal and vertical ribbon windows with slits are used for plantation.
  • Shading device used in courtyard reflect back 70% of summer heat. Therefore, it is a space frame structure with blue reflectors. Also, these reflectors are adjustable. They allow the winter sun to come in as well as block the summer sun.
  • In the day time sunlight enters the campus through slits and niches. These make beautiful patterns on different textures.
  • Also well-designed ventilation shafts allow sunlight to travel to the basement.
  • A clean facade is obtained by eliminating rain water pipes and roof gutters. Instead of rain water pipes, separation between walls are lined with tiles for the disposal of rain water.
Indian Habitat Centre

Energy efficient design features of The Indian Habitat Centre

  • The sun shading device installed in the courtyard help in ventilation and cool down the surroundings.
  • The vegetation present in the shaded courtyard as well as the grass lawns in open-to-sky courts make the campus green and habitable.
  • The fountain cools the campus. Additionally, the sound of water adds a sense of calm to the place.
  • The floor space illuminates by daylight. Thus, reducing the need for artificial lighting.
  • The campus design is universal. It is also easily accessible to everyone. In addition, the railing is provided on pedestrian pathways, which makes it wheelchair friendly.
  • Moreover, handicapped car parking is also present.
  • In addition, the lift is operable from the basement to the terrace.
The Indian Habitat Centre - Climatologically sound building


  • Many leading corporate entities namely have their offices in the Indian habitat centre.
  • Different settings are created using vegetation, grass lawns, seating, and fountain.
  • Thus, making it a place that can be used for a wide range of art and activities.

Also, Read: Instruments of Heaven – Jantar Mantar, Jaipur

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