Charles Correa was a well-known Indian architect, an urban planner, activist and theoretician. He was one of the few contemporary architects who addressed the issues related to low-income housing. Also, he was one of the pioneers responsible for creating modern architecture in post-independent India. More than 100 buildings are designed by him in India, ranging from low-income housing to luxury condos. Moreover, Correa respected the local culture around the sites and hence used the local materials as well as techniques to provide creative and modern solutions for his designs. 

Among the many famous and innovative structures designed by Ar. Charles Correa, let’s go through three classic masterpieces by him. 

1. Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya at Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmedabad (1958-1963)

The site of Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya is situated on the bank of Sabarmati River. The project is a part of the larger ashram complex and is integrated into gardens. The interior space follows a grid planning pattern. The five enclosed rooms house the collection of the museum. Brick is the primary material used in the construction of the structure, and it also helps in giving an earthy feeling to the whole space. Moreover, wooden louvered screens are used for ventilation. These rooms are connected by a semi-open pathway. Correa has used a 6-meter square module for all the rooms. Also, subtle changes to this module give away to a variety of enclosure arrangements resulting in an array of lighting, visual connectivity and temperature. The unique element in this design is an arrangement of closed, open and semi-open spaces which gives a sense of merging in the surrounding. Also, the central uncovered open to sky pool is one of the pause points which improves the micro-climate of the space. Despite the fact that the structure was opened to the public around 57 years ago, it gives an impression of being quite a recent one. Thus, Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya is truly one of the post-independence classic structures in India.

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Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya at Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmedabad ©Sanyam Bahga
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Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya at Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmedabad ©Arundhati Chitnis
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Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya at Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmedabad ©Pinterest

2. Cidade De Goa

Cidade De Goa is a resort situated in Dona Paula, Goa. Originally built in 1982, the resort is based on the concept of ‘a hotel as a village.’ Based on the bay of the Zuari River, Charles Correa has created a locally themed space showcasing the elements and characteristics of the state. The entrance arch, the taverna, the balcoes, the coconut palms are all small elements that showcase the history and urbanscape of Goa. Many refurbishments have been carried out in the resort but it blends well with the original design of the architect. One can witness beautiful art covering the walls and corridors. Also, the architect has tried to bring the 4th-dimensional experience through a wall in the passage of the lobby, but it’s not actually a wall but rather a street. The facade wall is designed with square punctures that allow sight of the sea. The use of semi-open corridors and sometimes even grant a view of courtyards and green patches.

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Cidade De Goa ©thebalcao
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Cidade De Goa ©thebalcao
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Cidade De Goa ©thebalcao

3. Kanchanjunga Apartment, Mumbai

Kanchanjunga Apartment is a one of a kind building in India. Constructed in 1983, it is designed with a direct response to the culture, escalating urbanization and the climatic conditions of the city. The building is oriented east-west to have natural airflow and be open to the best views of the city. Four different apartment typologies of three to six bedrooms are interlocked. The displacements of levels are critically planned to provide a space for external filled terraces and eternal elevated volumes. The 32-storey building is made of reinforced concrete with 6.3-meter cantilever open terraces. The central core houses the main structural element to resist the lateral loads and the lift. This central core is made up of slip method construction. This was the first time this technique was used in India for multi-storey building construction. Also, the terrace gardens of the building are a modern interpretation of a veranda of a traditional Indian bungalow. Thus, the innovative design of Kanchanjunga Apartment is still unique and one of a kind in Mumbai which makes it one of the classic structures ever built by Architect Charles Correa. 

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Kanchanjunga Apartment, Mumbai ©Charles Correa
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Kanchanjunga Apartment, Mumbai ©Charles Correa
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Kanchanjunga Apartment, Mumbai ©Charles Correa
Arundhati Chitnis
Author

Arundhati Chitnis is an architect and a writer based in Dubai. She believes in the architecture which can cater the needs of the users and hence apply user centric approach in her designs. Also, she believes every structure has a story to tell, we just have to give it a voice.

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