Tuesday, 23 June 2015



The man who become India`s greatest contemporary architects, Charles Correa who in his own words became an architect because he was inspired by toy trains, passed away on Tuesday(June16) at the age of 84.

Charles Correa was not just an architect but an institution in himself, he left behind a legacy in his body of work which will always be cherished and remembered, buildings like Kala Academy Goa, Gandhi Smarak Sangralaya, Gujarat and Navi Mumbai the satellite city across Mumbai`s harbor lines, he also gave Mumbai`s its first high rise residential building- Kanchenjunga, it is rated among the top buildings of Mumbai even after so many years. His work speaks volumes about the impact of his architectural skill. He also wrote extensively about architecture, rapid urbanization and was not shy of showing his disapproval about contemporary urban planning in India. In one of his books he writes “Some 50 years ago when Chandigarh was under construction Indian architects were asked why they not objected to Nehru`s appointment of a foreigner to create a city? The question astonished me. I knew the government could easily have selected some large commercial establishment for this assignment. Instead what an incredible good choice they made! India was lucky to get Corbusier.” India was lucky that we still had Correa. 

In the sixties he was instrumental in designing Navi Mumbai a satellite town of Mumbai, Correa`s work was not limited to India alone his body of work spans the world, Champalimaud Centre for the unknown, a bio-medical research centre in Lisbon, Portugal and Brain and Cognitive Sciences Complex, Building 46, at the campus of Massachusetts Institute Of Technology (MIT), his alma mater, in Cambridge, United States are well known, however Goa and Mumbai remained his two great canvasses where he did his best work.

He would often say “I`ve never designed a glass building”, “I`ve never felt the need to, I`ve used glass but I wouldn`t say I’ve ever designed a glass tower, I wouldn`t be so stupid as to do that”, Correa`s style of design, the open-to-sky concept is unique because it responds to climate and natural resources, various international buildings follow his style of designing.

Two years ago, Correa donated all his drawings, models and records to the Royal Institute of British Architects a decision he made with a heavy heart. Correa wanted his papers to stay in India, but he couldn`t find any archive whose standards lived up to his own.

Correa had once very famously said in an interview, when he was asked how he felt being something of a lonely figure in Indian Architecture, “But am I frustrated? Yes, reasonably so”.
In 1972 he was honored with Padma Shri and Padma Vibhushan, the country`s second-highest civilian award in 2006 and in 2013, he was named India`s greatest architect by Royal Institute of British Architects. 

For the present generation of aspiring architects he was not just an inspiration, he was a man who was driven by a sense of creativity and unwavering principles. He has left behind an unparalleled legacy.

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