In the 1950s, the newly independent India got a first taste of modernist architecture through the Le Corbusier-designed city, Chandigarh, a project that wound up greatly inspiring India's own iconic modern architect, Charles Correa. Before Correa passed away last night at the age of 84, the architect, urban planner, and activist built nearly 100 projects in his country and plenty more abroad, covering luxury condos, low-income housing projects, educational institutions, cultural centers, not to mention master-planning a 133-square-mile satellite town of Mumbai.
Correa, who was hailed as "India's greatest architect" by the Royal Institute of British Architects in its 2013 retrospective of his work, brought to all his designs a steadfast conviction that the building had to respond to the environment. In terms of the prevalent, Mies van der Rohe-style of glass and steel towers, Correa was not a fan. He once told the Guardian that such a style of building is "OK, but you didn't feel any passion."
Instead, Correa embraced "open-to-sky" spaces, which offer inhabitants a way to connect to the elements and allow the structure to incorporate passive methods (i.e. breezes, shade, and orientation) of heating and cooling. This theme can be seen in his seminal Kachajunga apartment high-rise in Mumbai, which contained large garden terraces, as well as the Belapur modular housing for poor families in Navi Mumbai (the satellite city he designed), which featured shared courtyards. Below, take a look at a few other key Correa designs over his career, including the Ismaili Center in Toronto, completed in 2014.
· Toasting Pierre Jeanneret, the Le Corbusier Sidekick Who Made a Name for Himself in India [Curbed]
· What Designing an Indian City from Scratch Can Teach Us About Urban Planning Everywhere [Curbed]