Charles Correa Foundation raise concerns over Kala Academy renovations

The Charles Correa Foundation (CCF) organised a discussion with citizens and the press conference on 14 May 2022 in which Nondita Correa Mehrotra (Director), Arminio Ribeiro (Trustee) and Tahir Noronha (Convener) addressed concerns over the Kala Academy renovation.

CCF pointed out that over the last 40 years Kala Academy has had many problems and that there has never been appropriate repair of the building. All past renovations ignored the structural issues and focussed on cosmetics – painting the building and disguising the damage. CCF is hopeful that this repair will be holistic and comprehensive as a significant amount of public funds is being spent on it. CCF gave the example of waterproofing, which was unscientifically applied twice in 1996 and 2004, without removing the previous layers. Such treatment has led to severe overloading of the structure and accordingly many of the structural problems that were reported in 2019 were from this primary issue. The methodology for structural repair proposed in the contractor’s report is satisfactory. These repairs concluded in April 2022. Now architecture work of finishes, installation of equipment, etc., will commence. However, given the lack of transparency and information we have gleaned from various inside sources, there are several concerns over the interior renovation and the auditorium design.

CCF recalled the wording of the Hon. High Court, that “no portion of Kala Academy will be demolished but only repaired to preserve and up-keep the same”. This means that the project is one of repair and renovation and must follow the three principles of conservation:

  • PRESERVATION of what is irreparable and needs to be preserved as is.
    (eg. Mario Miranda’s artwork in the auditorium is one of the only 7 murals that he has done all around the world).
  • REPAIR for what has been damaged and bringing it back to its original quality.
    (eg. The removal of the waterproofing layers in the Amphitheatre).
  • UPGRADATION if there is a justified technical need.
    (eg. The AC systems of the auditorium in Kala Academy have been outdated and in a very bad condition hence it would be a justified need to bring in new systems).

Various sources have informed CCF that changes are being made in the finishes of the building. These architectural changes are unjustified. When the building was built, the materials and painting of the murals were designed so that the building was clearly in the public realm, the citizen’s space, with simple flooring and a bright, airy feel as one walked from Campal down to the river. Informants have indicated that flooring will change from the original Shahbad and white China mosaic to darker stones and flowered patterned tiles which will make the lobby spaces dark, dingy and uninviting, and change one of the key appeals of Kala Academy. 

The acoustics of the indoor auditorium was originally designed by Bolt Beranek and Newman — the finest in the field, whose portfolio included symphony halls and parliaments, from San Francisco to Tel Aviv to Melbourne. Their consultancy was pro bono on Correa’s request. Robert Newman realised the reverberation time required to best appreciate Western classical music and Indian classical music was different, so the Deenanath Mangeshkar Auditorium was designed to be acoustically live, with small adjustments to the reflective curtains and balconies that could be opened and closed to create a flexible acoustic experience for live performances and film. 

Under the umbrella of up-gradation in 2004, the acoustics were tampered with (when Kala Academy was renovated at a cost of ₹24 crores in 4 months for the International Film Festival of India), the ceiling was replaced with flat panels, and the curtains in the balcony removed. Charles Correa raised concerns at that time, but he was ignored by the State Government. Sources inform us that a new acoustic design has been proposed and artist Mario Miranda’s murals may not be spared. Such major changes threaten to erase the design essence of Kala Academy.

In architectural conservation projects, especially the renovation of 20th century buildings, the norm is to consult the original designer, to understand the different layers of the project and have access to archival drawings. For example, recently CCF was an integral part of a consortium of architects and engineers developing a management plan for the renovation of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad, a concrete structure designed by Charles Correa and Mahendra Raj in the 1960s. CCF was brought on board to share records, opinion and ensure that the proposals are in tune with the original design. Here Goa is losing out on an opportunity to retain a building which has been internationally respected and acclaimed.

After CCF received information from within the Kala Academy and PWD, they called a press conference on 14 May 2022, and stated that the State Government must be transparent and inform the Public of the restoration and the changes being made to the architectural finishes. It is the Public that must be informed, as the work is being done using Public funds. This could very well be the last opportunity to understand the extent of restoration, question it and do it correctly before it is all lost. 

You can watch the press meet below:

This is only about our shared heritage, the Kala Academy

By Dr. Oscar Rebello

Goa loves its fair share of drama. The latest potboiler hitting the theatres near you is the new film: “Govind Gaude ko gussa kyon aata hai?”

For the uninitiated, the Kala Academy, the iconic masterpiece created by Charles Correa, is up for renovation. (Thankfully no bulldozers, the weapon of choice for BJP-style renovation!)

Govind, the art and culture minister, says this renovation was long overdue as there were inherent structural flaws in the building which, built at sea level, let water from the River (now sewage) Mandovi seep into the auditorium and corrode it.

On the flip side, the Charles Correa Foundation (CCF), comprising renowned architects and planners and captains of industry, believes that the government of the day cannot distinguish between restoration and renovation.

And KA needs restoration: a gentle, time-consuming, exceedingly intricate and complex procedure.

Continue reading “This is only about our shared heritage, the Kala Academy”

Goa says who Charles Correa was

When pressed by reporters about CCF’s concerns in the Kala Academy’s renovation, the Art and Culture Minister retorted “Who is CCF”. An editorial in the Herald response to these statements, read the whole article below.

Continue reading “Goa says who Charles Correa was”

Ideas, suggestions must be welcomed

An editorial in oHeraldo on the concerns raised by Charles Correa Foundation on the Kala Academy Renovation.

The original article was published on 18 May 2022, posted on www.heraldgoa.in on 18 May 2022 at 07:00 am IST and retrieved on 18 May 2022 at 04.00pm.

Coverage of 14 May, 2022 Press Conference

From the Herald, 15 May 2022 | Read the entire article here.
From The Goan Bhaangarbhuin, 15 May 2022

From The Goan Varta, 15 May 2022

Judgement of the High Court of Bombay at Goa

The final judgement of the Honorable High Court of Bombay at Goa, on the Kala Academy issue is published below.

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?

ARCHITECTURE FOR HUMANS – WHY KALA ACADEMY SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN DOWN

KA study - Janice Movement, pause and rest patterns inside Kala Academy – an analysis by Janice Veigas

 

Kala Academy is one of the most significant structures in the city of Panaji. A cultural center that was beautifully designed by the legendary architect Charles Correa is a symbol of modern heritage in Goa. Its human-friendly scale, building proportions, and a non-restrictive design approach to accommodate users from different walks of life is truly an architecture for humans. Janice Veigas, as a part of her thesis study, analyzed the human behavior patterns inside Kala Academy, and how the design is sensitive to the needs of its users. Read here to know more.

Why kala academy is considered to be such an important building?

 

Kala Academy is more than just a stone structure. Apart from the intangible values that surround the building, Kala Academy is being visited and studied by around a thousand students every year for its architectural significance.

Read more on why it is considered to be such an important building here, by Lester Silveira.

 

Model

Petition

READ AND SIGN HERE

The Charles Correa Foundation announce a petition to the Minister of Art and Culture, Government of Goa. To undertake sensitive conservation measures with proper consultation, together with the Foundation with the goal of preserving the building of Kala Academy.

If you believe in our cause, please sign the petition and share the same.

peti

An icon in distress

A full-page cover on Times of India, special edition on 4th August.4 aug toi

Thrashing the magic of Charles Correa

Vivek Menezes reflects on the value of an equitable public building. And how Kala Academy is a meaningful space to the city of Panjim.

Read it here

020819 livemint

Hold it, re-think the demolition of that pièce de résistance

Alexandre Moniz Barbosa weighs in on the news about Kala Academy’s demolition in the oHeraldo newspaper

KA: Govt’s demolition art on display!

Herald published an entire page sharing the views of Experts and Engineers opposing the Government’s decision to demolish KA.
28 july herald big cover

News coverage: the Suo Moto Order passed by the High Court of Bombay in Goa, concerned about the discourse around Kala Academy

27 july dainik heraldo

Continue reading “News coverage: the Suo Moto Order passed by the High Court of Bombay in Goa, concerned about the discourse around Kala Academy”

KA’s layout draws in 1k students each yr

Date: 25 July 2019

Nida Sayed makes a case for the academic significance of the Architecture of Kala Academy in the Times of India.

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