CCF Statement on Kala Academy Renovations

5 April 2021

The Charles Correa Foundation (CCF) has not been consulted or involved in the work being done at Kala Academy, which is commencing on Monday, April 5, 2021.

From June 2019 when CCF first learnt that the Government was considering demolishing the building, CCF recommended that structural repair and waterproofing be done, especially to the amphitheatre, and had asked faculty from IIT Madras, structural engineers who are experts in restoring reinforced concrete, to inspect Kala Academy. This review was done at CCF’s expense, with the hope that in the public interest, the building would be restored and well looked after. It was determined that this repair work would cost a fraction of what now has been announced as the budget ₹50 crores. Therefore, it would be in the public interest to know what additional work is being proposed? What exactly is being done to the building that is going to cost ₹50 crores? 

In the many discussions and debates over the last two years, it was clearly established that the people of Goa appreciated the design, spaciousness of the public spaces and their easy access, making it an important cultural artifact for the city. Its open design welcomed everyone to walk through the lobby, to attend events at the theatres, and even access the Mandovi riverfront. The design of a building is not just about the façade, it is the entire building. If you are going to change the lobby, the auditoriums, the practice spaces and terraces, you are changing the DNA of the building. Do the people of Goa want the building to be altered and transformed? The Kala Academy is an important building, an exemplary modern public building, and one of the first contemporary post-Liberation buildings in Goa. If additional auditoriums are required, could they be built as an annex, so that the integrity of this unique design is not destroyed?

Panaji and Goa have only one public building designed by Correa, and shouldn’t it be kept exactly the way he designed it? Correa was given the Gomant Vibhushan, Goa’s highest honour in 2011, but what is the value of this recognition if the State is ready to compromise the integrity of his architecture?

4 thoughts on “CCF Statement on Kala Academy Renovations

  1. Definitely the beautifully thought out original design should be retained as the legacy of a great architect. It should have iconic heritage status. Inconceivable damage would be done by the modifications.

  2. It is of abundant importance that prior to any repairs a comprehensive a Heritage Management Plan be prepared to carefully outline the strategy to preserve the entire precinct and the building. This is certainly a very important work of modern architecture in India and one of the very few examples of designed public places. Any short-sighted repairs can hardly upgrade such institution. A very careful approach to dealing with this campus is a dire need and the authorities must involve the right people to handle such important works.

  3. It is unfortunate but not surprisng to hear of such blatant and uniformed decisions being made against the wishes and will of the people of Goa and Panajim in particular! I say not surprising because for the sake of sanctioning huge grants from the government hasty, insensitive & unsensible desisions are being made everyday across the country! How do we stop this? How do we change this? How do we restore intergrity & sensibility? and most importantly in this specific context how can we help CCF in tackling this situation? Kindly let us know.

  4. The original design needs to be retained at all costs. It is very sad to see the legacy of a great Architect get affected by political decisions. Isn’t the government supposed to think about the legacy of Architecture? Kala academy needs to be restored with involvement of CCF at all phases!

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