By Dan Roche
The Charles Correa Foundation, a nonprofit committed to preserving the legacy of the late Indian modernist who died in 2015, announced recently that Correa’s Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (SVP) Stadium in Ahmedabad, a city 200 miles north of Mumbai, may face demolition unless action is taken.
The landmark Brutalist concrete structure completed in the 1960s is an important part of India’s postcolonial architectural heritage. SVP Stadium was designed alongside the world-renowned Indian engineer Mahendra Raj, Chandigarh’s structural engineer who died last year. It featured prominently at MoMA’s 2022 exhibition The Project of Independence: Architectures of Decolonization in South Asia, 1947–1985. SVP Stadium was among the first sports facilities in the newly formed State of Gujarat after the British were ousted in 1947.
“The SVP Stadium is an institution of firsts, both for Indian cricket and world architecture,” the Charles Correa Foundation said in a press release. “It was the country’s first ‘turf’ ground, hosted the first one-day cricket match played in India, was one of the first sporting facilities in the newly formed State of Gujarat and the first, and for its time largest reinforced concrete folded plate cantilever roof (20m) in the world.”
The stadium was nominated by the World Monuments Fund (WMF) to the World Monuments Watch List in 2020. Shortly after, the Getty Foundation in Los Angeles awarded preservationists a ‘Keeping it Modern’ grant to help maintain it. Due to mounting concerns over its potential demolition, the WMF then partnered with the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and the Getty Foundation to create a Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan for the stadium’s future. To date, SVP Stadium has been shortlisted as a potential site for the 2036 Ahmedabad Olympic Bid.
“To the cricketing community, the stadium is a space that has moulded and trained budding cricketers from across the state, and several of India’s all-time greats have played test and one-day cricket here! To the city, it is one of the few outdoor spaces for exercise, where there aren’t many left,” the press release continued. “To the architecture and design community, the stadium is an outstanding example of architectural and structural collaboration, a monolithic marvel that paved the way for the future of concrete construction not only in India but stood out as a classic example of structural innovation at a global level.”
Members from the Charles Correa Foundation have started a petition to save the building. Info on how to get involved can be found here.