Charles Correa… India’s Greatest Architect…

Over the centuries, a sense of the sky has affected profoundly our relationship to builtform. This is why in Asia, the symbol of education has never been the Little Red Schoolhouse of North America, but the guru sitting under the tree. – Charles Correa

One of India’s greatest contemporary architects, Charles Correa passed away at 11.45pm on Tuesday in Mumbai at the age of 84. He has made some remarkable contribution in the field of architecture post independence, and has been an influential urban planner and activist. But there are so many people who don’t know about him and his career. Hence, here are few points you need to know about Charles Correa.

1. He was an alumni of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)


Charles Correa completed his schooling in Mumbai from St. Xavier’s College, University of Bombay with science stream. After that he did his Bachelors in Architecture from University of Michigan and masters form the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

2. He has won over 10 national and international awards including Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian honour


His talent and hard work had won him many laurels and prestigious titles. Some of them are Padma Vibhushan, Padma Shri, Chicago Architecture Award, The Premium Imperial from Japan Society of Arts, gold medal by Royal Institutes of British Architects etc.


3. He was the chief architect of Navi Mumbai


The new city which was built across the harbour is now an urban growth center of 2 million people in extended part of Mumbai with superb planning and architecture. Correa is responsible for the entire layout and meticulous planning of the entire region which is now one of the most expensive real estates in the country. It’s is a beautiful city and he designed it.


4. He was always considerate to the needs of the urban poor and came up with a lot of low cost housing designs like ‘Tube House’


The “tube” house was first prize winner in an All-India competition for low-cost housing organised by the Gujarat Housing Board. These row-houses provided the same density -and larger living space per family. The area is formed so that the hot air rises and getaways structure at top, setting up a convection streams of characteristic ventilation. Inside the units there are no entryways; security being made by the different levels themselves, and security by the pergola-network over the inward patio. A narrow house form designed to conserve energy!

5. He was the first chairman of National Commission of Urbanization



His work was noted for his use of traditional techniques in his designs. In 1985, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi appointed him as the Chairman of the commission.

6. He believed in sustainable source of development and cared for the environment


In 1984, he founded the Urban Design Research Institute in Bombay, dedicated to the protection of the built environment and improvement of urban communities. In the course of the most recent four decades, Correa has done spearheading work in urban issues and minimal cost shelter in the Third World.

7. He was pro ‘open to sky spaces’


He utilized the significance of open-to-sky spaces to exploit the hotter atmosphere outsider toward the west. His utilization of the chhatri, or overhead covering, makes negligible safe house from the sun in the most blazing piece of the day, while permitting clients to appreciate being under the open sky.

The utilization of this component is found in his most praised early work, the Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya, a remembrance exhibition hall to Mahatma Gandhi in the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad that was finished in 1963. A measured building made up of 6 x 6 meter units, the modules are masterminded to exchange between those that are shut off by pyramidal rooftops and those that are interested in the sky. Without glass, the units are characterized by dividers and open spaces, making sections between them to lead starting with one presentation space then onto the next. The materials are those of the encompassing structures of the ashram: block dividers, stone floors and tiled rooftops. The spaces are gathered around a focal water court to cool the structures in the bone-dry warmth.

8. He was given the title of ‘India’s Greatest Architect’


Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) billed him as “India’s greatest architect” when it mounted an exhibition on him in 2013.

9. Some of his Indian designs


Mahatma Gandhi Memorial at the Sabarmati Ashram, Jawahar Kala Kendra in Jaipur, British Council in Delhi, Kanchenjunga Apartments in Mumbai, Bharat Bhavan in Bhopal, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad, Salt Lake City in Kolkata are few of his many spectacular creations.

10. Some of his international designs


The Champalimaud Centre in Lisbon, Aga Khan Museum in Toronto etc. are few legendary buildings he has designed.

India lost a valuable gem. May his soul rest in peace.