Highest French Distinction “Knight of the Legion of Honour” conferred on Raj Rewal
H.E. Mr François Richier, Ambassador of France to India, conferred highest French distinction "Knight of the Legion of Honour" on distinguished architect Raj Rewal.
New Delhi, 22 March 2016
On behalf of the President of the French Republic, H.E. Mr François Richier, Ambassador of France to India, conferred the highest French civilian distinction, Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur (Knight of the Legion of Honour), on distinguished architect Raj Rewal on Tuesday, 22nd March 2016.
This honour comes in recognition of Mr Rewal’s lifelong ties with France, where he started his career and whose embassy in New Delhi he contributed to build with architects Paul Chemetov and Borja Huidobro. His work bears a distinct stamp merging traditional Indian architectural forms and modern innovations, giving rise to a contemporary Indian identity that combines the aesthetically pleasing with the functional, and factoring in the very important dimension of climate. In France, he has consistently promoted Indian architecture at prominent venues, including the Paris Fine Arts College and Centre Pompidou.
Born in 1934 in Hoshiarpur, Raj Rewal was educated in Delhi and London. He worked in French architect and urban planner Michel Ecochard’s office in Paris before initiating his practice, Raj Rewal & Associates, in New Delhi in the 1960s. Among the first commissions he received was the construction of the staff quarters for the French embassy personnel in Aurangzeb Road (now Abdul Kalam Road).
In the early 1980s, Raj Rewal was involved in the construction of buildings of the Embassy of France in the Chanakyapuri diplomatic enclave, which are a model of Indo-French cooperation: conceived by Paul Chemetov, French architect and urban planner, and Borja Huidobro, Chilean architect, they were built in close collaboration with Raj Rewal and his firm. These buildings, inspired by Edwin Lutyens (combining Indian architectural features with the requirements of contemporary times), include the Residence of France, which overlooks a garden laid out in the Mughal charbagh style.
In 1986, as the Embassy of France moved into these new premises, Raj Rewal organized an exhibition on Indian architecture along with French architect Jean-Louis Veret at the Ecole nationale supérieure des Beaux-arts de Paris (Paris Fine Arts College), with the support of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Since then, Raj Rewal has been steadfastly involved in Indo-French events in both countries, and donated a part of his archives to the Centre Pompidou, Paris. His work has been featured in French reviews, such as Architecture d’aujourd’hui and Technique et architecture.
The numerous other prestigious landmarks in Mr Rewal’s building portfolio also include: Hall of Nations, New Delhi; Nehru Memorial Pavilion, New Delhi; SCOPE office complex, New Delhi; Asian Games Village, New Delhi; National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi; the World Bank, New Delhi; Indian National Science Academy, New Delhi; Library for the Indian Parliament, New Delhi; Lisbon Ismaili Centre, Portugal; Indian Embassy, Beijing; Coal India Headquarters, Kolkata; State University of Performing and Visual Arts, Rohtak; and Jang-e-Azadi Memorial Museum at Kartarpur, Punjab.
Created in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte, the Légion d’Honneur (“Legion of Honour”) is the highest civilian award given by the French Republic for outstanding service to France, regardless of the nationality of the recipients. The President of the French Republic is the Grand Master of the Order of the Legion of Honour.