Red Sandstone: A New House Build

Red Sandstone: A New House Build

A New House, Again in Red Sandstone


In order to maintain continuity, the new triangular Parliament House, which was constructed to accommodate the three-sided block of ground on which it stands, confronts the previous circular building.

Points to Ponder:

  • Construction Design:
      • To accommodate the three-sided block of land it occupies, the new Parliament House is shaped like a triangle.
      • For visual consistency, the new triangular Parliament House and the previous circular one are both covered in red sandstone.
      • The new four-story construction includes gold-embedded lights in the ceilings, whereas the old building’s 1927 opening had timber panelling and high ceilings.
      • The new structure has a golden spire on its flat roof that is reminiscent of those in temples and gurdwaras.
      • The Rajya Sabha (Upper House) has lotus themes throughout, whereas the Lok Sabha (Lower House) has peacock feather decorations.
      • The new Parliament House maintains the custom of using green for the Lower House and red for the Upper House in terms of wall cladding, carpeting, and upholstery.
  • Modifications to Functionality:
      • A central hall used for joint parliamentary sessions does not exist in the new Parliament House, unlike the previous one.
      • Instead, there are three cafes meant to act as a neutral space and an open-to-the-sky patio.
      • 22 political parties have decided to boycott the inauguration because of the dispute surrounding the central hall’s absence.
  • Capacity for Seating:
      • During combined sessions of Parliament, the Lok Sabha in the new Parliament House can accommodate 1,272 more people.
      • There are 384 seats available in the Rajya Sabha.
      • The size of both chambers has increased by about three times compared to the previous Parliament.
  • Background History and Controversy:
      • Herbert Baker, a British architect, originally intended the ancient Parliament House to be a triangular structure with interior chambers of various shapes.
      • Because 22 political parties abstained from the inauguration, there has been controversy around the new Parliament House.
      • The aesthetics and practicality of the ancient Parliament House were sacrificed in the past in order to accommodate more MPs.
  • Interior Design:
      • The new Parliament House has a biometric digital voting console and a smart screen for document access at each member’s seat.
      • Due to the elevated elevation of the Chairperson and Speaker’s chairs, it is challenging for opposition members to hold placards.
      • A wooden barricade has been installed around the reporters’ table, where important administrators of Parliament normally sit.
  • Sourcing of Materials:
      • Various states in India contributed materials to the construction of the new Parliament House.
      • Teakwood was sourced from Maharashtra, sandstone from Rajasthan, carpets from Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh, and bamboo flooring from Tripura.
  • Concerns about Fittings:
    • An electrician who worked on the new Parliament House raised concerns that some fittings in the building were made in China.
    • This raised questions about the inconsistency between politicians’ statements against Chinese-made goods and the presence of such fittings in the new Parliament House.