The buildings of the Centre are located in an ideal environment. Situated in the heart of New Delhi, the Centre is adjacent to the Lodi gardens overlooking a magnificent landscape of gardens and historic monuments from the sixteenth century. The Centre’s beautiful and low-profile buildings express, as the architect Joseph Allen Stein himself said, the ‘informal or romantic approach, where each function seeks out its own expression’.
Three separate wings of the IIC complex are designed to reflect the different functional aspects of the Centre. A grand central portico greets the visitor at the entrance driveway, extending across a north-south axis. Each courtyard and each wing serves a different purpose. Residential rooms in the north wing, the dining areas in the west and the third complex of the library, auditorium and administrative offices in the south wing, are connected to each other by walkways with overhanging eaves.
Respecting the garden traditions of North India and the refinement of indigenous techniques, Stein integrated these elements with the modern use of exposed concrete and massive piers and exposed roof patterns. The use of local materials such as rugged quartzite stone and blue Kota flooring is softened by screened jalis in ceramic blue tiles that resonate with the intricate patterns found in Islamic architecture. Austerity and simplicity combine with intricate detailing, to bring a sense of repose at the Centre. Despite its institutional role, the architect conceived the IIC complex as an informal approach. The buildings respond with sensitivity to their specific location in Delhi.
The curving façade of the residential wing corresponds to the curving paths and walkways in the adjacent Lodi gardens. The large windows of the dining hall and conference room on the second floor overlook the wide vistas of tombs and gardens. Overall, there is a sublime fusion of the IIC complex with Lodi Gardens.
The IIC Annexe was inaugurated on 29 December 1996 by Dr. Karan Singh, then President of the Centre. Like the main building, blends harmoniously with the environment of the Lodi gardens. In keeping with the spirit of the entire complex, it offers spaces for seminars and cultural performances, refreshments and boarding in a serene and tranquil environment.
A new conference building, the Kamaladevi Complex was inaugurated on 31 March 2011, by Professor M.G. K. Menon, then President of the IIC. Designed by M/s S. Ghosh & Associates, the complex encapsulates the same timeless character of the main building but in a contemporary idiom, complementing and enhancing the original. The choice of material, the detailing and the architectural vocabulary of the new building steer clear of ostentation and display underplayed elegance. The specifications of the interior and exterior work are in keeping with the Centre's ambience.