Guardian of Old City: The history and revival of Ahmedabad's landmark Premabhai Hall

Guardian of Old City: The history and revival of Ahmedabad's landmark Premabhai Hall

An indispensable part of Bhadra Square.

Situated within the crowded Bhadra Square in the Old City of Ahmedabad, Premabhai Hall stands as a silent sentinel, a testament to a bygone era infused with both artistic grandeur and political fervor.

Redesigned in the 1960s by the visionary architect B V Doshi, this architectural marvel, reminiscent of modern monumental sculpture, exudes a majestic aura that captivates the imagination.

A peek into history

Doshi, inspired by the post-Corbusian Brutalist style, envisioned Premabhai Hall as more than just a modern public theatre — it was to be a cultural sanctuary, a hub for artistic expression, and a symbol of communal unity. With its expansive dimensions and imposing presence, the hall served as a canvas for a myriad of theatrical performances.

Before Doshi redesigned the structure it was used as a performance theatre. During the tumultuous 1930s, amidst the backdrop of India's struggle for independence, Premabhai Hall emerged as a beacon of hope and resilience. It echoed with the voices of freedom fighters, reverberating with the stirring speeches and impassioned pleas for liberation.

However, the passage of time has not been kind to Premabhai Hall. In 1997, the curtains fell on its illustrious theatrical performances, leaving behind an empty shell that once pulsed with life and creativity. Despite its closure, the hall's monumental stature continues to shape the architectural landscape of its surroundings, its towering presence imbuing the Old City with a sense of grandeur and history.

A poignant reminder of a bygone era

Today, Premabhai Hall stands as a poignant reminder of a bygone era, a hollow guardian patiently awaiting its moment of resurgence. Its sky terrace offers a panoramic vista of the city's vibrant historical tapestry, while its cavernous interior remains a silent witness to the ebb and flow of time.

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