VIjayavara – The Urban Cultural Plaza

Author: Abhinav Dibbidi
Site Location: Vijayvada, Andhra Pradesh
Institute: Jawaharlal Nehru Architecture And Fine Arts University
Advisor: Prof. M. Vinod Ganesh


Swaraj Maidan, also known as the PWD Grounds in Vijayawada, faces transformation endangering its historical importance. The government intends to convert it into a park, potentially erasing its past. This involves replacing structures like Raithu Bazar with a park housing an Ambedkar statue. The ground has been a venue for exhibitions, circuses, and cultural events, holds sentimental value for locals and visitors from cities like Eluru, Rajahmundry, and Khammam. Events like the Industrial and Agriculture Exhibition and Book Exhibition unite communities in shared experiences.

This impending transformation prompts contemplation on the interplay between heritage and progress, underlining the need to strike a balance between preserving history and catering to contemporary needs.

Responding to this, the thesis project proposes revitalizing the underused PWD grounds in Vijayawada into an inclusive urban cultural plaza. Combining permanent facilities like a cultural centre, multi-level car park, and food courts with temporary activities such as industrial expos, amusement fairs, book festivals, and religious events, adding vibrancy year-round.

Embracing the city’s hot climatic conditions, the design integrates climate-responsive strategies, aiming to craft a vibrant cultural plaza symbolizing the city’s identity, fostering community engagement, and driving socio-cultural and economic vitality.


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