Charles Correa, who defined contemporary architecture in India and was responsible for works as diverse as the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial in Ahmedabad and the assembly of Madhya Pradesh, passed away after a brief illness on 16 June, 2015. His was a life worth remembering, and here are some things you need to know bout the man who gave a new lease of life to Post-colonial Architecture in India!
Born in Secunderabad on September 1, 1930, Correa studied at St Xavier’s College in Mumbai before going to the University of Michigan and the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
The winner of many national and international awards was known for his hold over issues pertaining to urban planning and affordable housing. He was honoured with the Padma Shri in 1972 and Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian honour, in 2006.
Receiving the Padma Vibhushan from Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam in 2006.
In the 1970s, he was the chief architect of Navi Mumbai, the new city that came up across the harbor from Mumbai, and was later appointed the first chairman of the National Commission on Urbanisation.
First Draft of Navi Mumbai, or “New Mumbai”.
Besides working on Mahatma Gandhi Memorial at the Sabarmati Ashram and the Jawahar Kala Kendra in Jaipur, Correa also focussed on low-income housing and urban planning.
Gandhi Memorial at Sabarmati Ashram.
Correa taught at several universities in India and abroad and was the awarded some of the highest honours in his field, including the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, the Praemium Imperiale of Japan and the Royal Gold Medal of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), which billed him as “India’s greatest architect” when it mounted an exhibition on him in 2013.
Correa recieving the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1998.
In 1984, he founded the Urban Design Research Institute in Mumbai that is dedicated to protecting the environment and improving urban communities.
Correa once expressed an interest in the way Indian cities work and in ways to improve them during an interview, “Our cities are among the greatest things that we have; they are part of the wealth of India. They are places of hope. The skills we need are urban skills – we never have to ask the World Bank to send us an expert because our cities already provide them.”
British Council, New Delhi. Designed by Charles Correa.
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