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Salutations - the Innovative Engineering Rigours of Mahendra Raj - Sudhir Dhawan


Sudhir Dhawan

I had been under the impression that with all the interaction over the past several decades I knew Mr. Mahendra Raj pretty well but was astounded after visiting the exhibition of his works at the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art in New Delhi. It was only then that I realised that I did not really know him especially his engineering acumen and abilities.

Mr Mahendra Raj, then Mr Mahendra Raj, Now

The exhibition is an eye opener on the professional life of Mr. Raj as a Structural Engineer of the hand calculations era much before the computers made their inroads. It gives an overall view of the imposing structural designs done by him. Mr. Mahendra Raj started his consulting practice in 1960. All the major iconic buildings of Delhi having difficult structural forms have been designed by Mr. Raj. As mentioned he belonged to the times when computers were not even on the horizon and all design calculations were done manually and so also the drafting of the complex 3D structures. The Hall of Nations building in Pragati Maidan, New Delhi was the world’s first and largest span space frame reinforced concrete structure built in 1972. It was designed by Mr. Mahendra Raj and is a classic example of how hand calculations could be done for designing large span 3D structures. It withstood the rigours of New Delhi’s climate for many decades.

View of Hall of Nations at Pragati Maidan

Mr Mahendra Raj and Mr Raj Rewal (Architect) at the exhibition

The exhibits are extremely well presented with lots of details. Vandini and Rohit Raj deserve kudos for making the efforts and arranging the systematic and educative display. My special gratitude to them for projecting Mr. Mahendra Raj as a great “Structural Engineer”; which he truly is. Earlier they had helped in bringing out a book on his works; that too had been received very well and appreciated by all.

Photographs during inaugural function of Exhibition

While, some of the photographs at the exhibition are reproduced here, engineers are strongly recommend to take time out to study the documents and the photographs there, learn from them and appreciate the greatness of Mr. Raj as a Structural Engineer. They can thereafter also enjoy the delicious food at the DLF South Court Mall in Saket.

I humbly salute Engineer Mahendra Raj

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