Journal of Arts & Ideas, no. 7 (April-June 1984) p. 75.

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Charles Correa

Peter Serenyi

Charles Correa (A Mimar Book in the series: Architecture of the Third World) Concept Media, Singapore, 1984,128 pp. (112 colour plates, 180 black and white photographs), price not indicated.


N AN article published in 1971, Charles Correa quoted Nehru as saying: 'The significant thing about Chandigarh is not the fact that you like it or the fact that you don't like it but the fact that it has made you aware that modem architecture exists.111 Notwithstanding the abuse inflicted upon Le Corbusiefs city by architects and planners from all over the world in recent times, Nehru's assessment of its contribution to India still hold true. When this country emerged as an independent nation in 1947 it could only claim who fullfledged schools of architecture: the J.J. College of Architecture in Bombay and the School of Architecture in Baroda. Prior to independence, the real function of both these institutions was to train architectural assistants rather than architects. Hence Chandigarh, to use Correa's words, "has been a considerable benefit to India. It has stimulated a whole generation^ of architects. And it has given them a sense of their past because in some inexplicable way Corb is tuned to this country".

Charles Correa was part of that generation of Indian architects who came under Le Corbusiefs influence, but unlike many of his fellow professionals, he was not only inspired by Le Corbusier's evocative buildings but also drawn to the principles that generated their design. This was partly due to his training in the schools of architecture of the University of Michigan and M.I.T. between 1949 and 1955, which enabled him to obtain a more systematic introduction to Le Corbusier's work and thought While in the United States, Correa also gained a deeper understanding of the work of Louis Kahn, whose first masterpiece, the Yale Art Gallery, was realized between 1950 and 1954. In fact, Kahn*9 conceptual-functional approach to architecture practiced during the 1950's had a profound effect on Correa's design philosophy. His first building, the Gandhi Memorial Museum in Ahmedabad's Sabarmati Ashram, attests to this already.

Journal of Arts and Ideas 75

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