- Photographer: Åke E:son Lindman
New Delhi, India. Embassy compound
The Embassy of Sweden in New Delhi was built in the late 1950s in the diplomatic quarter. The Indian State sold the 40,000 m2 plot to the Swedish National Board of Public Buildings in 1954. The new compound would house the Embassy, the Ambassador's residence, reception rooms, staff housing and recreational areas.
Large Embassy compound from the 1950s
The Embassy of Sweden in New Delhi was built in the late 1950s in the diplomatic quarter. The Indian State sold the 40,000 m2 plot to the Swedish National Board of Public Buildings in 1954. The new compound would house the Embassy, the Ambassador's residence, reception rooms, staff housing and recreational areas. The project was a major collaboration between Swedish and local contractors, overseen by general contractor SENTAB. Once the Embassy was completed, it was formally handed over to the first Swedish Ambassador Alva Myrdal.
Sida and the Swedish Trade Council move in
In 1988–89, the Swedish aid organisation Sida moved into a new extension behind the chancery. At the same time, the staff housing was also extended and refurbished, with the work completed in 1991. In the late 1990s, offices were built for the Swedish Trade Council.
In 2005–06, the National Property Board Sweden (SFV) replaced all the windows and doors in the accommodation buildings, bringing better sound insulation, energy savings and improved function. 2006–07 saw SFV refurbish the accommodation for the Indian staff, as well as replacing an electrical substation.
In 2009, the Swedish Trade Council gained new, larger offices and a separate entrance. The architect behind the offices was Pia Kjellgren Schönning. At the same time, SFV implemented energy saving measures such as the installation of residential solar panels and modernisation of the ventilation and cooling system. Work on further additions for a new migration office and new personnel housing on the Embassy site began in 2011 and was completed in early 2013.
Building materials with local links
Architecturally, all these additions have been designed to match the existing buildings. The outer walls have been painted pink, the characteristic profiled balustrades and sunscreens are white. Most of the building materials have local roots. Doors, windows and built-in cupboards are made of Indian teak and manufactured on site. The flooring is terrazzo, with some areas of marble. Many of the electrical and mechanical installations have been imported from Sweden. The office furniture is standard fare from the home country, giving the interior a distinctly Swedish feel.
Blue fountain in well tended garden
In 2000, SFV refurbished the kitchen and bathrooms in the Ambassador's residence. A big, bright blue fountain was built in the courtyard between the Embassy and the residence. In 1997–98, SFV installed an automatic irrigation system for the garden, which has led to major water savings. The spacious and well tended garden is an important resource for the Embassy. In 2010, SFV dug new wells for rain water harvesting on the Embassy site. The fourth and most recent well was completed in spring 2014.
SFV has spent many years working actively with the Embassy to make the compound as eco-friendly as possible. In 2011, over 500 m2 of solar panels were installed on the Embassy roof. Outdoor lighting has been overhauled and energy consumption is down by a third compared with previous levels. Ventilation – a major energy drain in hot countries – is controlled, where possible, using occupancy sensors, a method first employed for lighting around the compound.