Located on the west bank of the Yamuna River close to a plethora of cultural and historical sites along New Delhi’s Central Vista Avenue (Rajpath), Pragati Maidan has been an important area of civic interaction since it was designated as a national exhibition space in 1972. Aedas, in a consortium with Arcop, won the international architectural design competition in 2016 to re-plan the 123.5 acres site and to design a world-class venue for the city. Known as the International Exhibition & Convention Centre (IECC), the project will provide over 100,000 sq m of exhibition space with a Convention Centre at a planned capacity of 13,500 people.
The project is designed as a contemporary Indian icon, showing the nation's approach to its future while respecting timeless Indian architectural traditions. The use of circular geometry is to depict equal respect for the Convention Centre of public and civic importance; along with the integration of water and stepped public spaces for gathering below, the structure is symbol of accessibility to all. The colonnades reflect Delhi’s past since the arrivals of the Mughals with transition of design with time. The structure thus reflects its connection with the ancient symbology; through choice of locally sourced material and traditional colors, the design manifest features that exemplify this vision.
Strategically planned around a large central courtyard open to Delhi's prevailing wind direction, the 100,000 sq m of exhibition space are organized in two levels of Exhibition Halls, all connected at ground level by a protective pergola.
The circular Convention Centre is a centre piece of the development. With a main Plenary Hall elevated from the ground, it frees space below to create a public open-air amphitheatre along with other conference spaces. A grand ramp hugs the building to provide easy access to the Multifunctional Hall and back-of-house facilities at its rear, creating a seamless experience for all users. By elevating the main Convention Centre and its pre-function areas, the design offers a new way to observe New Delhi from above its tree canopy, giving to the city a new perspective to look at its self, making now visible for everyone its beautiful ancient domes, the monumental Lutyen's Delhi and its new fast-growing skyline. A new "Window to Delhi" has been created.
A large civic plaza with stepped platforms, trees, water features, F&B and retail outlets, is designed to accommodate large public events in front of this new observatory. As the surrounding landscape is reflected on the Convention Centre’s slanted glass facade, Delhi's skyline above the trees will be visible from the plaza, connecting symbolically the history of India's capital to the new Pragati Maidan.