An exhibition curated by Artist Vishal K Dar commemorated the late master architect CP Kukreja’s design of India’s monumental educational campus - the Jawaharlal Nehru University campus, Speaking with the language that architects are best at — drawings and models — the exhibition, The Masterplan, engaged the viewers with narratives that have shaped India and its public. Working with a synergy of art, architecture, and design, history of Modern India through this journey.

CP Kukreja’s design of India’s monumental educational campus

During India’s post-Independence era, various visions emerged to mould a new democracy, utilising tools and mechanisms to propel the nation forward into a modern era. Architecture, a cornerstone of civilisation, served as a multifaceted entity: a reflection of the contemporary epoch, a testament to its creators, and a time capsule.

Legendary late architect CP Kukreja’s pivotal and monumental first large-scale commission — Jawaharlal Nehru University — was built in Delhi in the 1970s. The archive exhibition took one through different segments of this journey, witnessing the intersections between architecture, citizenship, and nation-building.

A collaboration between the CP Kukreja Foundation for Design Excellence (CPKF) and Vishal K Dar, the exhibition focused on the emergence of the first South-Asian attempt to create a vast university archetype. The institution is imagined as a micro-city within the southern ridge of the Aravalli hills of New Delhi. Here, on these grounds, India would cultivate students learning to dialogue with the world.

The design of the exhibition was imagined as a studio inside a pavilion that is both didactic and experiential. It explored the architecture of JNU, the context it inhabits, and how the architect has centered the local ecology by integrating the built within it. The exhibition’s highlight was a 10-foot-long hybrid exhibit with JNU’s master plan projected onto it.

Arunima Kukreja, Director at CPKF and Ideator of the exhibition, said, “This is the first-ever exhibition organised by CP Kukreja Foundation for Design Excellence on the Jawaharlal Nehru University. The university was the first and largest project to be won by Architect CP Kukreja in the year 1969 through a national competition and is built on a thousand acres and is a symbol of Indian Modernism. Its architecture encapsulates the values of growth, learning, and innovation through its spatial and earthly design.”