Landscape Condition Assessment

The assessment has been conducted under the following landscape components:

  1. The man-made elements :
    • The pool and it's structure.
    • External building services, especially those that are connected to the pool – water-supply, drainage, over-flow, RW discharge system
  2. The natural elements :
    • Trees
    • Ground
    • Water

The significance of the pool extends beyond its conceptual relevance to substantiate the abstraction of the idea of the building being a lotus with its reflection doubling the dimensions in the pool. The pool has other advantages linked to rainwater harvesting from roof and surroundings, water storage, micro-climate amelioration, guides entry movement as access control by acting as a moat, eliminates ground disturbances around the building in accordance with its use and delineates the site boundary to retain the ‘view-shed’. In essence, the pool layout strongly delineates both physical and visual extents of the site to limit chances of future encroachments into its apparent zone of vision.
A careful analysis of the volume of pool vis-a-vis the annual rain water harvesting potential of the roof-top and terraces of the building reveals the rationality of the pool size as the volume is only about 40% of the total RWH potential. This assessment, given in the following Table, takes into account the pool area as well since this is also part of the total catchment.

Sr. No.
1 Gandhi Bhawan building covered area 340 Sq m
2 Area of open to sky platforms (A1) 400 Sq m
3 Roof area (A2) 490 Sq m
4 Pool Area (A3) 4400 Sq m This was after reducing the pool area by 770 Sq m.
5 Total catchment area (A”= A1+A2 +A3) 5290 Sq m
6 Annual Average rainfall (R) 1048 mm
7 Annual RWH Potential {A” x R x 0.95} 5266.72 Cu m Run-off coeficient has been considered to be 0.95
8 Depth of water body (Av.) 0.5 M Effective depth
9 Volume of Water Body 2200 Cu m - app. 40% of the Annual Rain Water Harvesting (RWH) potential. This shows that the building and the pool setting have been designed as an integral water-wise solution to the hostile climatic condition.

The above analysis clearly indicates that rain water as the source of water supply may be sufficient enough, even after accounting for first flush and evaporation loss. However, the challenge would lie in maintaining the water quality in the pool through out the year.

The main issues related to the pool are drainage of the tank and water logging at places, water supply round the year as pool remains empty due to inadequate availability of water, water augmentation through rainwater harvesting needs to be developed. Furthermore, the empty pool area is vulnerable to littering and static water leading to risk of mosquito breeding.
Condition assessment of the vegetation of the core site and the surrounding areas indicate that the Royal Palms (Roystanea regia) around the south and west of the Gandhi Bhawan were taken up in the early 1970s. The choice appears rational as these palms would generate minimum leaf litter yet offer clear visibility of the building. Most of the other trees in the adjoining area are also evergreen and thus, with similar advantage. The over-all site landscape forms a bold layout with clear lines and large expanses of grass and water that are characteristically opposite yet naturally complementary.
The light sculpture designed as a repetitive element for all the three decks indicate the original intent of lighting being of indirect i.e. light source not visible, up lighting and with warm colour impact, as was with then existing lamp technology (GLS lamps). The walls, base and surround of the pool are all cast in cement concrete and have been repaired, re-surfaced, replaced and re-pointed in the past few years. Problems with water stagnation, evaporation etc. has led to the surface being degraded significantly over time. Waterproofing of the pool’s base was initiated but it not clear how successful it has been. The toe wall of the pool is also in distress in some areas due to continuous seepage from the surrounding lawn areas. This is an issue exacerbated during monsoons.

Sr. No.
Landscape Components
Condition Type
Condition Assessment
i.a) Pool & its structure Physical condition and Aesthetic condition- includes appearance and general presentation to users
  1. Physical deterioration of joints
  2. Signs of distress – cracks & seepage holes along outer toe wall
  3. Undulations/ possible settlements in floor along outer edge
  4. Missing/ loss of materials; bio-growth/ vegetation growth
  5. Cement deposits during repair works
Significant defects are evident and worn-out finishes require maintenance
i.b) External building services: drainage Functional condition - operational effectiveness Main drainage pit is littered- requires regular cleaning Services are functional but need attention
i.b) External building services: water-supply -do- Water supply pipe at the south-east end is leaky
i.b) External building services: RW discharge -do- Operational and functioning well
i.b) External building services: over-flow -do- Operational and functioning well
i.a) Pool & its structure Physical condition and Aesthetic condition- includes appearance and general presentation to users
  1. Physical deterioration of joints
  2. Signs of distress – cracks & seepage holes along outer toe wall
  3. Undulations/ possible settlements in floor along outer edge
  4. Missing/ loss of materials; bio-growth/ vegetation growth
  5. Cement deposits during repair works
Significant defects are evident and worn-out finishes require maintenance
ii.a) Trees (Inventory as in theTable below) Physical and Aesthetic condition Trees are in good condition Maintenance and upkeep satisfactory
ii.b) Ground covers -do-
  1. Absence of ground cover in the Royal Palm boulevard: Risk of soil erosion & air pollution
  2. Texture of grass cover may also be improved
New plantation and upkeep of existing grass areas needed
ii.c) Water Physical, Aesthetic, Functional Not operational- water is filled only twice a year. Tthe pool remains empty for major part of the year. Environmental issues exist

Exteriors and Interiors Condition Assessment

The Gandhi Bhawan building has remained largely intact despite some minor alterations in the past to keep up with the changing needs of the building. Some of the pertinent issues have been described in this section. A detailed set of condition assessment drawings as well as a visual glossary have been compiled as part of the documentation and analysis process.
The structural system composed of columns and beams infilled with brick walls is in good condition. No major structural issues have been noted. The base of the building, which is located in a shallow pool of water, is showing signs of deterioration. The base seems to have many layers of cement plastering carried out in the past. This cement plaster or the finish layer covering the base is saturated with water and appears to be coming off. Black staining with bio-growth is present on the surface exposed to the water.
A thorough assessment shows that the roof is overall in a good condition. However, during the recent rainfall in June-July, 2016 some seepage was observed at the ceiling of lobby area. This is evident in the water stains at a number of locations at the ceiling and could be due to pooling of water at the terrace. The past repairs appear to be failing at a few locations. The previous campaigns are documented in the history of the repairs.


The panels clad over the building envelope show signs of distress. The major issues are described below.
Detachment of panels (or dislodged)
A number of exterior cladding panels are dislodged or displaced. This can largely be observed at Elevation 2 with around 9-10 detached panels mainly at lower levels. About five are present on Elevation 1 at upper level around III-IV and 7 on Elevation 3. This could be possibly due to loss of cohesion of panel with the substrate (concrete/brick) where the mortar has deteriorated. It could also be due to a broken or a rusted clamp. The survey performed by IIT also aligns with the visual and sounding survey findings.
Structural cracks
Many hairline cracks are seen on the panels surface that are not severe, but the presence of structural cracks is noted on all elevations, which is critical. About 66 structural cracks were recorded that have resulted from separation of one part of the panel from another, more than 4 mm wide. On Elevation 1, cracks are present on X-XII end; on Elevation 2 mainly at X-XII on lower level; and Elevation 3, has the maximum cracked panels present at I-IV and X-XII. Cracks have occurred because the re-bars used in panels have been exposed to water and air and have begun to rust. Rusting metal is exerting pressure causing the panel surface to crack. This is a serious condition and is potentially harmful to the integrity of panels (threat to life safety). Structural experts from IIT also evaluated the potential causes and impacts of these types of cracks.
Loss of aggregate
The surface of most of the panels is intact but a few show signs of surface deterioration. This is essentially the loss of aggregate from the panel surface, and in such cases, the substrate is visible. This could be due to mechanical damage caused by some external factors. Another cause could be the rusting of the rebar below the finished surface. The rusted rebars also exert pressure causing the surface to crack and erode. Loss of aggregate from panels is present uniformly on all elevations. Only at a few locations, the loss of aggregate is present exposing the rebars and in others only the surface aggregate is missing.
Exposed Rebars
Rebars that form the framework for the panels are exposed at some locations. Their exposure varies from small to large areas. This mainly occurs where the aggregate is lost from the surface of the panels exposing the rebars. This conditions occurs at a very few location but is very detrimental to the panel. On Elevation 1, it occurs between I-III and V-VIII at upper levels, on Elevation 2, it is present between III-IV at upper levels and I-III at lower levels and Elevation 3 has some around II along with few other locations.
Open Joints
The joints between panels are filled with mortar to make them watertight. Most of the mortar is deteriorated and in missing in several locations causing the joints to be open. This conditions observed on at least 50% area of all three elevations. Historical records indicate that the opening of joints has been a concern for the Architecture and Engineering Department in the past as well.
Inappropriate Previous Repairs
These include interventions undertaken in the past to repair or modify that have altered original character. Repaired areas in form of patches from previous repairs or maintenance are visible on the panels. The repaired areas appear different in terms of colour and size of the aggregate and sometimes even the colour of the aggregate. Some panels have been replaced or the finished areas have been completely redone in the past (records are yet unconfirmed). These also appear different in terms of colour and size of aggregate and colour of the cement. On elevation 1, these repairs can be noted along lower middle section, from VIII-IX; on elevation 2, there are present on IV at upper most level where panels are completely patched, elevation 3 a few areas around I, IV-VI and large areas around X-XII. The base of the building on all three elevations has been repaired by patching with cement plaster Areas along openings have also been repaired on all elevations.
Displaced Panels
Some panels either appear to be out of plumb, slightly ahead or recessed from the plane of the main façade. A few of these have been highlighted and mapped during the conditions survey. These panels were surveyed by sounding and do not appear to be loose but are simply out of plumb. A further investigation could be carried out to understand the cause of movement.
Termites and Insects
Presence of termite is observed on the exterior of the buildings at the base of the panel. It is not alarming but needs to be addressed. One location is near on V-VI Elevation 1.
Vegetation on panels
Growth of small vegetation wass observed near at the joints of panels. These are isolated locations mainly near the base of the building. Presence of vegetation is potentially harmful for the building. These plants tend to go deep into the joints and start to cause failure of the building materials. The vegetation growth has been addressed, however regular maintenance is needed.
Deposit and staining
Accumulation of extrinsic material like paint & cement splashes, residues from repairs are present on all elevations especially the upper most level. All elevations have accumulated of dirt and are soiled due to action of water & pollution. Furthermore, there is a distinct pattern of fading of the surface due to the partial shading of the exterior by the roof form.

The original sandstone flooring has been replaced with the present one. Even though it has been replaced recently, it is in a poor condition. A number of joints are open, some stones are cracked, damaged and some are loose. The current sand stone flooring is machine cut and dressed, whereas earlier it was hand dressed sand stone. It is unclear if the flooring pattern has been maintained exactly, though notionally the pattern remains the same
The wood doors and its hardware, even though in a fair condition lacks upkeep and maintenance. On the exterior, almost all doors are in a deteriorated state due to water penetration and exposure to sun and water. They have expanded due to water ingress; get jammed frequently affecting the operability. Windows are also in a fair state. The putty has deteriorated at all widows causing the glass panes to become loose. Some glass panes are missing and some are cracked. Most of the glass is not original and has been replaced at some point during the life of the buildings. Slight damage to concrete around doors and windows is noted. The skylight has a missing glass pane, which is causing the water to come inside the building. Some gaps have also begun to appear between the frames and the masonry that could potentially lead to the doors distorting.

Interiors, Furniture and Artwork

The interiors are in a fairly condition of upkeep and maintenance. . The walls and roof are largely in good condition. No major issues have been noticed except slight seepage during rains at the ceiling, cracks in terrazzo and issues with doors and windows.
The interior plastered walls are in a fair condition with no major visible structural issues. Areas with plaster defects that include unevenness due to water ingress are noted. Some surface cracks are also observed on the plastered walls. A major area of concern is the water pipes coming down from the roof into the interiors for water disposal. The areas around these pipes have been repaired in the past and still show some signs of water ingress. Repeated repairs to the plaster and repainting have made the overall surface uneven as well.
Most of the flooring in the building is in a good condition except some cracks indicating distress. Terrazzo flooring has also found to be discoloured around the loAn area in the bathroom has been patched up inappropriately and draws attention to the otherwise uniform floor. Some loss is observed around the joints even though the joints are in good condition. Black terrazzo in the auditorium has cracks at all levels of steps as well as at the sloping wall next to the steps (both sides). Some efflorescence is also observed in the auditorium. A number of repairs can be seen on black terrazzo surface. These walls are in a fair condition with minor cracks present on almost all surfaces. Some repairs have been done in the past to fill the cracks or any other areas with small loss.

The original furniture of Gandhi Bhawan (except for the in-situ ones at auditorium seating and fixed table in seminar/conference room) had been scattered all over and moved to other departments with use and time. However, as part of the process of this conservation plan, PU took the initiative of relocating all the original furniture and replacing it back to the original spaces in Gandhi Bhawan.
Most of the original furniture was in fair state and caning has been undertaken to use it for future. The furniture was relocated in August 2016 and a detailed condition assessment along with record of each piece is available in the annexure.
The mural at the entrance by artist Satish Gujral also requires some cleaning/ conservation work since the bottom side is splashed with some paint and overall mural shows signs of scratches and fading of colour in certain areas. The grainy textured surface of the mural attracts dust and grime, so the whole mural is covered in a fine layer of accumulated grime.

Use and Interpretation

The Gandhi Bhawan is currently used for side activities of the Gandhian Studies Institute such as seminars and conferences. The auditorium and conference room are actively used on occasions. However, the daily footfall to the library is limited and there are no modes of interpretation for the visitor to understand the significance of Gandhi Bhawan as an architectural and cultural marvel. Due to paucity of light, it is also operational for night events. The use is thus limited and needs to be explored for better intellectual access as well as universal access. Visitors come to see the architectural form and spaces of the Gandhi Bhawan as well, though this is a limited audience at present and there are no recorded numbers to confirm the regularity of visitors.
The library of Gandhi Bhawan is well equipped with books on the life and works of Mahatma Gandhi. The auditorium of the Bhawan is frequently utilised by the various Teaching Departments of the University as well as by the institutions situated at Chandigarh.

Lighting, Infrastructure and Services Condition Assessment

The infrastructure and services at Gandhi Bhawan including rainwater outlets, piping systems, electrical works, and lighting require major changes considering the future use and functionality of the space. State of the art facilities such as speaker system/audio-visuals and air conditioning in the spaces requires serious consideration. Some of the later additions of lights and wall fans are major interventions that disturb the aesthetics of the interior spaces.

Risk Assessment

Gandhi Bhawan is vulnerable to the following Hazards :

  1. Fire: There have been some minor incidents of fire in Gandhi Bhawan and in the surrounding buildings in the campus. Many of these incidents are due to short circuit due to faulty electrical wiring. Dry grass in the surroundings may also cause fire during summer season. In addition, fire can result from arson caused by unrest in the campus.
    The library with its collection of many books and periodicals is certainly most vulnerable to fire especially in the absence of adequate fire extinguishers and no smoke detectors.
  2. EarthQuake: Chandigarh region falls in Seismic Zone 4, which is highly pone to earthquakes. Some of the concrete panels are on the façade of the building are distressed and in the event of earthquake, these can fall over causing risks to the lives of people and adversely affecting the building.
    Besides the electrical fixtures, wall hangings may also be vulnerable to earthquake. The heavy almirahs in the library are also not anchored and may topple during seismic movement.
  3. Heavy Rainfall: Gandhi Bhawan may get affected by heavy rainfall causing localised flooding and affected the building due to seepage and dampness. Special attention is needed for the roof which has shown signs of distress due to prolonged collection of rainwater.
  4. Theft and Vandalism: Especially during the periods of unrest, there is danger of theft and vandalism in the absence of adequate security measures in place. Additionally, movable artefacts such as the furniture of Gandhi Bhawan, especially the original pieces from Jeanneret’s proposal can be at risk from potential theft.