One of the largest cricket stadiums in the world, the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium can hold up to 50,000 spectators. The stadium also holds the honour of hosting the first One Day International match played in India. Although after the construction of a nearby stadium, the Sardar (Vallabhbhai) Patel stadium is no longer used for international cricket matches and has lost its sheen.

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium (Navrangpura) by Charles Correa: A World Monument Sheet1
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium © Carlo Fumarola

The historical significance of the Stadium

In the year 2020,  The Getty Foundation announced that Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium will receive a $ 2.2 million grant for upkeep, which makes the stadium among one of the 13 significant 20th-century buildings to receive this accolade. The stadium is a prime example of the experimental spirit and the soaring growth that characterized India’s post-independence period.

The structure by acclaimed Architect Charles Correa is a wonder on its own. The Cricket Club of Ahmedabad (CCA) was gifted 80000 sq yards of land by the Province of Bombay during the early 1950s to construct a Cricket Stadium and a clubhouse. Charles Correa was commissioned by Sheth Chinubhai Chimanbhai, former mayor of Ahmedabad, to design the stadium. Charles Correa, who has many notable designs under his belts like the Jawahar Kala Kendra and Sabarmati Ashram of Ahmedabad, was joined by Mahendra Raj to help design this mammoth structure. Construction began in 1962 and the stadium was completed in 1966.  

The stadium is part of a broader group of structures in Ahmedabad designed by a generation of local and international architects that helped India develop a new architectural language, led by textile industrialists. Some of these structures include the Indian Institute of Management designed by Louis Kahn, the Sanskar Kendra Museum and the Mill Owners’ Association Headquarters designed by Le Corbusier, and the Gujarat High Court Building designed by Bimal Patel.

Construction of the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium

The Sabarmati River flows next to the stadium which is situated in the Navrangpura district of Ahmedabad. There is also a clubhouse with a swimming pool on the site which was also designed by Correa. It is connected by two major roads from the south and west side, and by a railway on the east side. 

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium (Navrangpura) by Charles Correa: A World Monument Sheet2
The reinforced concrete structure of the Stadium © Ram Rahman

Charles Correa was influenced by Le Corbusier in his designs. It is also evident in the way the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium was designed. The stadium is constructed using reinforced concrete with a folded plate design. It is a light form of construction that reduces both materials cost and construction cost.

Who was Charles Correa?

Charles Correa was born on September 1, 1930, in Hyderabad. Fascinated with principles of design, Charles Correa studied architecture at the University of Michigan and completed his Masters at MIT. He was influenced by two of his professors at MIT, Walter Sanders, and Buckminster Fuller. In 1952, Correa returned to India to start his practice in Mumbai. Among his many accolades, Charles Correa has won the RIBA Royal Gold Medal and Padma Vibhusan. 

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium (Navrangpura) by Charles Correa: A World Monument Sheet3
Charles Correa © Charles Correa Foundation

He believed in understanding the unique cultural requirements and needs of the country. Open to the sky was also a running theme in many of his designs. He adapted the western concept of modernism to a non-western culture seamlessly in India. Charles Correa is right to be considered as the father of modern Indian, post-Independence architecture.

The Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium now

The stadium has become an important recreational centre for the local community although it’s no longer used for the purpose it was created. The vast open space provided by the stadium provides a respite to the locals who use it for events and functions. 

Although the best available technology was used in the construction of the stadium, the steel structure is suffering from degradation as a result of neglect and poor maintenance. The stadium needs to be rehabilitated and revitalized to further stop the decay of the structure so that it can once again hold the place it deserves in the architectural world.  

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium (Navrangpura) by Charles Correa: A World Monument Sheet4
The stadium during Swarnim Gujarat fest in 2010 © Hardik Jadeja

WMF hopes that the conservation of the Patel Stadium will provide a new model for the cultural and economic importance of the restoration of modern architecture and it will also help other historically significant buildings of Ahmedabad.

References

  • World Monuments Fund. 2021. Patel Stadium receives ‘Keeping It Modern’ architecture conservation grant from the Getty Foundation. [online] Available at: <https://www.wmf.org/blog/patel-stadium-receives-keeping-it-modern-architecture-conservation-grant-getty-foundation> [Accessed 7 June 2021].
  • 2021. [online] Available at: <https://structurae.net/en/structures/sardar-vallabhbhai-patel-stadium> [Accessed 7 June 2021].
  • Designingbuildings.co.uk. 2021. Folded plate construction. [online] Available at: <https://www.designingbuildings.co.uk/wiki/Folded_plate_construction#:~:text=Folded%20plate%20structures%20are%20assemblies,joined%20along%20their%20longitudinal%20edges.&text=Modern%20folded%20plate%20structures%20are,reinforced%20concrete%2C%20or%20steel%20plate.> [Accessed 7 June 2021].
Author

Gulrukh Izhar is an architecture student who is passionate about books,sci-fi and baking. A subtle critic of everything that remains, she believes we should build towards a better reality with a keen apprehension of the needs of the people and the community.

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