Sangath, Ahmedabad – B. V. Doshi

Passive Design:

  • Not require mechanical heating and Cooling
  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions from heating, cooling, mechanical ventilation and lighting
  • Take advantage of natural energy flow
  • Maintain the thermal comfort

INTRODUCTION:

  • SANGATH means “moving together through participation.”
  • It is an architect  office
  • Location:   Thaltej Road, Ahmedabad 380054
  • Client:    Balkrishna Doshi
  • Period of construction:  1979-1981
  • Project Engineer:  B.S. Jethwa,   Y. Patel
  • Site area:   2346 m2
  • Total Built-up Area:    585 m2
  • Project Cost:    Rs. 0.6 Million ( 1981 )

Design concept And Features:

  • Design concerns of climate ( temperature or humidity or sunlight).
  • Extensive use of vaults
  • Main studio partly bellow the ground (sunken)
  • Very less use of mechanical instrument
  • Special materials are used resulting in a low cost building costing it
  • Lot of vegetation & water bodies
  • Continuity of Spaces
  • Use of lot of diffused sunlight
  • Complete passive design
  • Grassy steps which Doshi uses as informal Amphitheatre

CONSTRUCTION OF VAULT

  • 3.5 cm thick  RCC
  • 8 cm ceramic fuses
  • 3.5 cm thick RCC
  • 6 cm thick water proofing
  • 1 cm thick broken China mosaic finish
  • Ceramics are temperature resistant.
  • Broken China mosaic is insulative and reflective surface.
  • Broken China mosaic  gives a very good textures.
  • Water cascades from fountain into series of Channels
  • Glass bricks
  • Diffused light in the drafting studio
  • Whole area is covered with vegetation
  • Terracotta pots and sculpture lying in the compound

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Rahul Mehrotra and Associates – House in a Plantation, Ahmedabad

This second home designed by Rahul Mehrotra is in a mango plantation extending approx. 8 hectare, about 5 km north of Ahmedabad. The climate of north-west India is largely dry and hot, so the detached house was placed in the centre of the plantation, so that the evergreen trees can act as a natural filter. Heat and sunlight are greatly mitigated by the all-year-round tree filter, and the direct view into the green shade provides another source of relief. Visitors are intended to experience the house as an introverted stone oasis, protecting, calming, after they have crossed the sea of trees.

The centring theme is continued in the house. A cruciform ground plan places the living-room centrally as a connecting and linking zone. Each arm of the cross acquires a different function: access area with accentuated main entrances and an enclosed courtyard with seating, opposite the dining area with kitchen and ancillary rooms, at right-angles to this the bedroom area for the family and the guest wing on the end. The central residential area opens up into a courtyard with high walls. This means a great deal of extra living space when the large sliding windows are open, as the division consists entirely of glass.

The courtyard is a location for the soul of the house. The area, which is ambivalently placed inside and outside, avoids the stiffness of an unduly rigid cross figure, which would suggest an inappropriate symbolic quality. The centre extends in this simple way, flowing from the roofed, protecting living area into the open outdoor space, and celebrating fundamental elements of our existence: the sphere of the omnipresent blue sky and a narrow pool running along the entire length, clad in blue material. Here the great horizontal of the spatial composition tilts into the vertical: Mehrotra colours the wall that follows the pool of water blue as well, making pool, wall and sky all of a piece. The extension of the water with the blue wall into the living room suggests the concept of living expressed by the courtyard: a spatial connection on the one hand and on the other hand the inclusion of the refreshing and stimulating element in the main area where much time is spent in a hot climate. The very presence of a shimmering pool is enlivening, but the pool also suggests a cooling swim, of course. This “synthesis in blue” becomes the most expressive design element in the house. The architect very deliberately allows the cooling effect of this colour to dominate as a counterpoint to the outside temperature. In this house, colour is not something applied, but entire walls are “plunged into colour,” like the red in the corridor leading to the dining area. It becomes an integral  part of the architectural sub-figures, and lends them an individual quality, but this does not break the whole composition down. Coloured, smoothly rendered surfaces inside are contrasted with the tactile qualities of natural materials: on the outside the house is clad in sandstone, large wooden doors form independent areas of material, the entrance is a rough exposed concrete frame reminiscent of Le Corbusier, and a stainless steel rain-shield caps the living room window. The extremely carefully balanced scale of materials and colour demonstrates the architect’s high degree of sensitivity in an entirely Indian way: strong colour contrasts are derived from an everyday Indian world of magnificent hues, the sandstone,quarried in the vicinity, suggests historical Indian buildings and at the same time reminds of the nearby desert climate. The white of some of the interior plastered walls and materials like exposed concrete and stainless steel are reminiscent of classical-modern design principles. Modern details like profiling, material connections, door furniture and floor coverings show precise workmanship, but above all the intellectual intensity of the architect’s handling of his brief. The interior’s openness to the courtyard contrasts with the hermetic quality of the block-like exterior with its identical window slits. Introversion, a classical Indian motif, attempts to create communicative space that will bind the family together in the centre. The courtyard, the patio, the centre open to the sky, appears all over India as part of a domestic culture that is millennia old.

But Mehrotra enriches his building by another dimension: the roof terrace becomes a stone plateau garden, and acquires an exposed concrete pavilion for the cooler evening hours. It is only when looking out over the extensive view of the treetops from the terrace that they become aware of their central location, and the plantation becomes part of the house, a green, organic sea of trees, harmonising with the building’s broken autonomy. The strictly consistent geometry of the ground plan figure can be experienced from the roof showing the designer’s lucidity and precision, but the timelessness of the building’s formal language also expresses its occupants’ attitude to life.

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The development of Modernist architecture in India

The concept of “Modernism” in 20th century Indian architectural development remains difficult to grasp, as it was used within numerous stylistic developments, following the spirit of the day. Starting with the efforts made by Europeans in the 1920s, the idea of “modern architecture” as a revolutionary and innovative force started to make cautious headway in India in the early 1930s. But at that time any Western thought and practice introduced as a British import was seen as “modern”, as India had no uniform independent architectural movement in the early 20th century. Ideas influenced by the Bauhaus and Le Corbusier and then brought to India were modern, and the subsequent Art Deco movement, influenced by both regional and exotic motifs, also counted as modern. Even neoclassical architecture was still pronounced modern into the 1950s and even the 1960s. But Modernism in India was more like an overall approach to life. It meant designing the world positively, improving it, doing better than the required standard, being progressive and inventive, and this certainly included great visionary minds like Tagore and Nehru. British architects in India felt themselves to be modern, because they could work within an experimental field, almost without constraints and regulations, with an unusual degree of freedom. These various trends will now be discussed in a little more detail.

One consequence of the consolidation of British colonial power in the 19th century was that public buildings in particular became the centre of interest. Great educational institutions like Bombay University in 1870 or stations as gateways to the world, like Victoria Station in the former Bombay in 1887, or also important monuments like the Victoria Memorial in Calcutta in 1906, were prestigious structures by a self-confident class of British architects who wanted to demonstrate the superiority of European culture. This was particularly evident when the seat of government moved from Calcutta to Delhi and in 1912 Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker were commissioned to realise the government buildings in “New Delhi.” The architects designed a monumental urban street complex that was essentially alien to Indian cities, with a grandiose geometry of axes and avenues and above all two symmetrical administrative buildings flanking the view of the viceroy’s palace. Lavish colonnades, open verandas, tall, slender windows, chhajjas (wide roof overhangs) and cornices jaalis (circular stone apertures) and chhatris (free-standing pavilions) were used at the same time as decorative elements from typical historic Indian architecture. The viceroy’s palace has a dome reminiscent of the Buddhist stupa in Sanchi. Even though Lutyens and Baker fused classical European and Indian elements, the complex seems modern for its day, with its two-dimensional walls, reticent décor and austere geometry in the case of the palace in particular. The seat of government was not opened until 1931, after a building period of almost 20 years.

The main neoclassical period lasted well beyond the 1930s, above all because of the influence of the Indian Institute of Architects which existed since the 1920s, a British institution first headed by a Briton, Claude Batley. His theories were based on studies of Graeco-Roman, but also of Indian, classicism. His enormous influence led to the foundation of the conservative school, whose major exponents included Sudlow-Ballardie- Thompson, for example, and Ganesh Deolalikar, who worked up until the 1950s. His Supreme Court in New Delhi imitated the Lutyens-Baker buildings down to the last detail. The conservative, so-called revivalists also included B.R. Manickam with his monumental historical Vidhana Soudha government building in Bangalore built in 1952, reminiscent of Indian palace complexes. Colossal columns, Mogul domes, symmetry and monumental mass were evidence that historical European-Indian forms were being retained. But a new thinking had long since taken hold, based on the reduced formal language of the “international style,” but also attached to European abstract Expressionism, as can be seen in Arthur G. Shoesmith’s St. Martin’s Garrison Church in New Delhi of 1931, whose volumes loom like pure prisms of solid mass thrusting into one another. De Stijl, the important Dutch movement that ran parallel with the Bauhaus, had very little influence on India, however, even though Willem Marinus Dudok did realise some buildings there. In the early 1940s the austerity of what was later called classical Modernism started to be mixed with Expressionism and with decorative motifs, and above all fluent lines, often curved, markedly horizontal and vertical: the highly influential Art Deco movement, which spread over the whole of India, made a triumphant entry into the world of Indian architecture. France, but particularly America, stood model for this movement, whose architects raised Art Deco to an art form of great virtuosity. “Streamlined architecture,” as Art Deco was also known, developed its distinctive form partly from the technical achievements of its day, the rounded shapes of aircraft and cars. Then Frank Lloyd Wright discovered the decorative world of the Mexicans and of the Aztecs and Mayans. Their essentially geometrical motifs, along with associated devices like palms, aircraft and sunbeams, finally made their international début on the Art Deco stage. Indian Art Deco was also increasingly mixed with regional applications, leading to some lavishly decorated façades. In an age without television, architects were particularly fond of the generally popular cinema buildings, where they could create Art Deco designs with a monumental gesture. Many of these picture palaces have survived to the present day, providing evidence of a great architectural phase.

At the time of independence in 1947, India had only about 300 trained architects in a population of what was then 330 million, and only one training institution, the Indian Institute of Architects in Bombay. Those who could afford it studied abroad, preferably in the USA, as some Modernist heroes, especially from the Bauhaus, like Mies van der Rohe, Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer had emigrated to America from Fascist Germany. The first generation of Indian architects came back from America with a new optimism, free of the British influence at the Bombay school, euphoric and able to offer their urgently needed services to a free country. One of them was Habib Rahman, who studied under Gropius at the MIT in Boston, another Achyut Kanvinde from Harvard and Gautam Sarabhai, who worked with Wright in Taliesin. Thus the influence of the Bauhaus masters came to India for a second time, this time directly via their pupils, whose somewhat over-functionalistic interpretations were realised by Kanvinde in particular. But at the same time a new concrete Expressionism was developing in South America, in the work of for example Felix Candela or Oskar Niemeyer, based on the technical possibility of being able to bridge large spans. These impressive constructions stimulated young Indian architects to endow the rigid rationalism of the German teachers in America with fluent form. One of the most important pupils returning from the MIT in Cambridge/Boston in the 1950s was Charles Correa. He had worked under Minoru Yamasaki in Detroit, who later designed the World Trade Center in New York. Correa came back to India in 1958, at a time when the most important architect of the first half of the 20th century, Le Corbusier, had already realised his life’s greatest project in India. Le Corbusier was invited by Nehru in person in the early 1950s and built Chandigarh, the new capital of the state of Punjab. Le Corbusier’s visionary powers, which he proved in urban developments from the 1920s onwards, seemed to be precisely the right person to Nehru, who said that India needed “a slap in the face.” Working with his cousin Pierre Jeanneret and the architects Jane Drew and Maxwell Fry, Le Corbusier realised the entire urban structure, designing himself the government building, the Capitol. His béton brut, the unrendered surfaces of the buildings, still showing the marks of the rough shuttering, and the expressive and sculptural effect made by solitaire monuments spread over a large area, came as something of a shock to the Indian architects, who had found a new hero for themselves from now on.

Le Corbusier’s messages became the new gospel for the next generation, who recognised a new intellectual dimension in them. Le Corbusier was commissioned to build more villas and a museum in . Here he had an Indian at his side who had already worked for him in Paris, Balkrishna Vitaldhas Doshi. It was Doshi who in the early 1960s got in touch with Louis I. Kahn in order to develop the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad. Kahn was impressed by the offer and realised the project during a period of over 13 years. Kahn was the next significant architect for India: his structures built on pure geometry to illustrate inherent order, his turn to a pictorial language for architecture that went beyond functionalism and the use of rough brick for the façade in order to express the nature of the material, added yet another dimension to Indian architects’ experience.

Charles Correa developed his work when these two towering 20th century masters were both building in India. His 1963 memorial for Mahatma Gandhi in Ahmedabad, which is reminiscent of Kahn’s design for the Trenton Bath House, marks the beginning of his mature work. The most important buildings after that were his Kanchanjunga high-rise apartments in Mumbai, built from 1970 –1983, then the government building in Bhopal, 1980 – 1996 (see p. 26 – 93), and the art centre in Jaipur, 1986 – 1992 where he discovered the spiritual dimension of Indian thought and integrated it into his work. Correa is the most important representative of his generation and still India’s most significant contemporary architect. Alongside Doshi and Correa, Anant Raje is another major architect of this generation. Raje realised the Indian Institute buildings as Kahn’s right hand and added others in the spirit of Kahn. His work is clearly shaped by Kahn’s structures, but he interpreted them independently. Raj Rewal also belongs in this group. Educated in Delhi and London, he was influenced at an early stage by the Japanese Metabolists, but later found his own identity in India’s history, pursuing the concept of a Modernism based on tradition. His parliament library (see p. 42 – 49) is one of the outstanding Indian building projects of the last ten years.

The selection of architects from the younger generation introduced here does not claim to be complete or comprehensive within the limited scope of a publication of this kind. Architects who are not mentioned in any more detail here but have certainly made a significant contribution include Laurie Baker in Kerala whose life’s work follows economical, ecological and sustainable criteria in building and is devoted above all to people in lower income groups. Similar approaches come from architects like Anil Laul, S.K. Das or the “barefoot architects” in Rajasthan who work together with many people employing their craft skills in the construction process and who use only locally available materials. This book presents a varied spectrum of building types and architects with different approaches to illustrate current trends in Indian architecture, with aspects of ecology and sustainability playing an increasingly important part.

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Charles Correa – Parekh house

Parekh house

  • LOCATION: AHMEDABAD, 1967-68
  • ELEVATION : 53 m
  • LATITUDE : 23 04N
  • LONGITUDE : 72 38E

About the building:

  • Two pyramidal sections from housing types developed for Cablenagar
  • Summer section – to be used during daytime; protects interior from heat
  • Winter section – to be used in early mornings and evenings; opens up the terraces to the sky
  • Since site faces east-west, house consists of 3 bays
  • Summer section sandwiched between winter section and service bay (for circulation, kitchen and toilets)
  • Bearing walls made brick .

Climatic conditions:

TEMPERATURE:

  • summer: 45 °C – 30 °C
  • winter: 24°C – 5 °C
  • max. in last 18 years: 47 °C
  • min. in last 18 years: 5 °C

RAINFALL:

  • avg.: 76 cms
  • max. in last 122 yrs.: 145 cms
  • min. in last 122 yrs.: 13 cms

So the temperature shows that the city is hot and humidity shows that its dry.

Design concept:

Functional Aspects:

  • cubical composition
  • arrangement of spaces as per their time of use.

Passive features

  • A void is provided
  • Louvers
  • Level differences

How sun effects the design…?

  • Sun path : N-E to N-W
  • Exposure of east and west façade to the sun.
  • Hence the design came…the three block system..

Other features:

  • Over head pargolas-helps in shading the wall during the day time.
  • Recessed or Sunken windows-allows only diffused light into the building.
  • Louvered doors-it also cuts off the heat and direct sun coming from the entrance.
  • STEP PYRAMIDAL form of spaces inversing with respect to the season.
  • Garden space in front of the house.
  • Material chosen-concrete and brick covering.
  • Good climatic responsive building since 37 years of its construction

Charles Correa:

Education

  • 1946-1948 inter-science. St. Xavier’s college, university of Bombay
  • 1949-1955 B.Arch., University of Michigan.
  • 1953-1955 M.Arch., Massachusetts institute of technology.

Professional Experience

  • 1955-1958 partner with G.M. BHUTA associates
  • 1958- to date in private practice.
  • 1964-1965 prepared master plan proposing twin city across the harbor from Bombay.
  • 1969-1971 invited by the govt. of Peru
  • 1971-1975 chief architect to CIDCO
  • 1975-1976 consultant to UN secretory-general for HABITAT
  • 1975-1983 Chairman Housing Urban Renewal & Ecology Board
  • 1985 chairman dharavavi palnning commision

About him:

  • Born into a middle-class Catholic family in Bombay
  • Became fascinated with the principles of design as a child
  • At Michigan two professors who influenced him the most – Walter Salders and Buckminister Fuller.
  • Kevin lynch , then in the process of developing his themes for image of the city triggered Correa’s interest in urban issues
  • ‘India of those days was a different place, it was a brand-new country, there was so much hope; India stimulated me.’
  • —Architect, planner, activist and theoretician, an international lecturer and traveler.
  • —Correa’s work in India shows a careful development, understanding and adaptation of Modernism to a non-western culture. Correa’s early works attempt to explore a local vernacular within a modern environment. Correa’s land-use planning and community projects continually try to go beyond typical solutions to third world problems.
  • —India’s first man of architecture has a very simple philosophy: “Unless you believe in what you do, it becomes … boring,”

AWARDS:

  • 1961 Prize for low-income housing early
  • 1972 Correa was awarded the PadmaShri by the President of India
  • 1980 Correa was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Michigan
  • 1984 He was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal          Institute of British Architects
  • 1985 Prize for the Improvement in the Quality of Human
  • Settlements from the International Union of Architects.
  • 1986 Chicago Architecture Award.
  • 1987 the Gold Medal of the Indian Institute of Architects
  • 1990 the Gold Medal of the UIA (International Union of Architects)
  • 1994 the Premium Imperial from Japan society of art.
  • 1999 Aga khan award for vidhan sabha, bhopal

Diversity

  • In Bombay – Salvacao Church at Dadar ; Kanchanjunga Apartments
  • In Goa for the Cidade de Goa Hotel and the Kala Academy,
  • In Ahmedabad – Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya ; Ramkrishna House
  • Delhi – The LIC Centre; British Council Building
  • Kerala – Kovalam Beach Resort Hotel
  • Andamans – Bay Island Hotel in Port Blair

Architectural utility and grandeur spread over the subcontinent

Principles

  • Few cardinal principles in his vast body of work;
  • incrementality
  • pluralism
  • participation
  • income generation
  • equity
  • open-to-sky space
  • disaggregation.

Belapur housing being the one project where he has literally used these principals

Correa and Corbusier

Like most architects of his generation he has been influenced by Le Corbusier , but by his response to the Mediterranean sun with his grand sculptural decisions he believes that Corbusier’s  influence in the colder climates has not been beneficial because these heroic gestures had to withdraw into defensible space, into mechanically heated (and cooled) interiors of the building.

On way back to Bombay in 1955 – saw the Jaoul House (le Corbusier)  in Paris under construction

‘I was absolutely knocked out . It was a whole new world way beyond anything being taught in America at that time .then I saw Chandigarh and his buildings in Ahmedabad . They seemed the only way to build.”

Correa and Gandhi

  • Gandhi’s goal for an independent India had been a village model, non-industrial, its architecture simple and traditional
  • In these early works Correa demonstrates uncompromising execution of an idea as a powerful statement of form

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Charles Correa – Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya and Jeevan Bharti

Gandhi Smarak  Sangrahalaya:

Material used:

  • Tiled roof
  • Brick wall
  • Stone floor
  • Wooden floor

Light and ventilation by operable wooden louvers

These elements combine to form a pattern of tiled roofs which are grouped in casual meandering pattern, creating a pathway along which the visitors progresses towards the centrality of the water court

Philosophy:

  • Successfully  shows the life of Gandhiji
  • Minimalist  architecture
  • Material honesty
  • Contemporary  architecture
  • Glow of spaces

JEEWAN BHARTI , DELHI

  • This office complex of LIC is situated on the outer road of Connaught circle and acts as a pivot between the colonnades of CP and new generation of high rise towers that now surround it . Thus the building is both a proscenium and a backdrop:  a 12 storey stage set  whose faceted glass surface reflects  the buildings and trees around CP.
  • Two lower levels of the complex consists of shopping decks  and restaurants while upper level are offices located in two separate wings . A pergola connects the two buildings .
  • A city proposal for an elevated pedestrian walkways if constructed will pass through the two blocks , allowing pedestrians to traverse the building as the great darwaza  ie gateway defined by a portico form.

Charles Correa:

Education

  • 1946-1948 inter-science. St. Xavier’s college, university of Bombay
  • 1949-1955 B.Arch., University of Michigan.
  • 1953-1955 M.Arch., Massachusetts institute of technology.

Professional Experience

  • 1955-1958 partner with G.M. BHUTA associates
  • 1958- to date in private practice.
  • 1964-1965 prepared master plan proposing twin city across the harbor from Bombay.
  • 1969-1971 invited by the govt. of Peru
  • 1971-1975 chief architect to CIDCO
  • 1975-1976 consultant to UN secretory-general for HABITAT
  • 1975-1983 Chairman Housing Urban Renewal & Ecology Board
  • 1985 chairman dharavavi palnning commision

About him:

  • Born into a middle-class Catholic family in Bombay
  • Became fascinated with the principles of design as a child
  • At Michigan two professors who influenced him the most – Walter Salders and Buckminister Fuller.
  • Kevin lynch , then in the process of developing his themes for image of the city triggered Correa’s interest in urban issues
  • ‘India of those days was a different place, it was a brand-new country, there was so much hope; India stimulated me.’
  • —Architect, planner, activist and theoretician, an international lecturer and traveler.
  • —Correa’s work in India shows a careful development, understanding and adaptation of Modernism to a non-western culture. Correa’s early works attempt to explore a local vernacular within a modern environment. Correa’s land-use planning and community projects continually try to go beyond typical solutions to third world problems.
  • —India’s first man of architecture has a very simple philosophy: “Unless you believe in what you do, it becomes … boring,”

AWARDS:

  • 1961 Prize for low-income housing early
  • 1972 Correa was awarded the PadmaShri by the President of India
  • 1980 Correa was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Michigan
  • 1984 He was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal          Institute of British Architects
  • 1985 Prize for the Improvement in the Quality of Human
  • Settlements from the International Union of Architects.
  • 1986 Chicago Architecture Award.
  • 1987 the Gold Medal of the Indian Institute of Architects
  • 1990 the Gold Medal of the UIA (International Union of Architects)
  • 1994 the Premium Imperial from Japan society of art.
  • 1999 Aga khan award for vidhan sabha, bhopal

Diversity

  • In Bombay – Salvacao Church at Dadar ; Kanchanjunga Apartments
  • In Goa for the Cidade de Goa Hotel and the Kala Academy,
  • In Ahmedabad – Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya ; Ramkrishna House
  • Delhi – The LIC Centre; British Council Building
  • Kerala – Kovalam Beach Resort Hotel
  • Andamans – Bay Island Hotel in Port Blair

Architectural utility and grandeur spread over the subcontinent

Principles

  • Few cardinal principles in his vast body of work;
  • incrementality
  • pluralism
  • participation
  • income generation
  • equity
  • open-to-sky space
  • disaggregation.

Belapur housing being the one project where he has literally used these principals

Correa and Corbusier

Like most architects of his generation he has been influenced by Le Corbusier , but by his response to the Mediterranean sun with his grand sculptural decisions he believes that Corbusier’s  influence in the colder climates has not been beneficial because these heroic gestures had to withdraw into defensible space, into mechanically heated (and cooled) interiors of the building.

On way back to Bombay in 1955 – saw the Jaoul House (le Corbusier)  in Paris under construction

‘I was absolutely knocked out . It was a whole new world way beyond anything being taught in America at that time .then I saw Chandigarh and his buildings in Ahmedabad . They seemed the only way to build.”

Correa and Gandhi

  • Gandhi’s goal for an independent India had been a village model, non-industrial, its architecture simple and traditional
  • In these early works Correa demonstrates uncompromising execution of an idea as a powerful statement of form


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