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WHO Headquarter

New Delhi, India
1 of 5Habib Rahman Archives

The WHO headquarters in New, Delhi was built by Habib Rahman, who at the time was a senior architect with the Central Public Works Department (CPWD). The three-year project was completed in 1962 and inaugurated by Jawaharlal Nehru. A year later, the modernist Husain painted the mural on the walls of the conference room.

The Structure of the Building

The WHO headquarters comprised two blocks — one was a six-storey structure while the other was a low-rise building with a conference hall and an auditorium. The NBCC official said the new building “will have 17 floors.” For decades, the blue and white WHO headquarters were a city landmark, known best for the “Rahman touch” with clean horizontal and vertical lines. Rahman’s son Ram, a photographer and curator, said, “I received a call from the WHO last year about the impending demolition of the building as it wasn’t earthquake-compliant. I laughed because it was one of the strongest building in the 1960s.”