Thoughts in Support

“The objectives that are being given to demolish this architecturally important building can be met without demolishing it. By preserving it the profession and society can demonstrate the strength and depth of their creative and historic imagination for posterity.” – A G Krishna Menon

“It is a very iconic monument.” – Mallika Sarabhai

“The design embodies a clear demonstration of structural efficiency, making it inherently suitable for expansion and adaptive repurposing. Any architect who hastily opts for demolition on grounds of capacity or structural longevity either lacks thoroughness in their approach or fails to embrace a creative opportunity.” – Sudipto Ghosh

“For all the reasons that Nondita Correa Mehrotra expressed so well, I support saving the Patel Stadium. India cannot lose any more of its iconic modern buildings. For environmental reasons alone, we need to restore, upgrade, and give news lives to such buildings as was clearly underway with the WMF and Getty plans. Correa and Raj’s Patel Stadium could be a shining example of how to stage such events as the Olympics so they are affordable, sustainable, and sensitive to communities, their cultures, and extant built environments.” – Mary Woods

“Se debe de preservar el patrimonio arquitectónico de una nación, entender el momento y trascendencia de esa estructura y el valor arquitectónico.” – Jorge Javier

“Is this Modernization, vandalizing historic properties in the name of development , I’m signing this petition for the betterment of our heritage.” – Anmol Arora

“It is time for India, as one of the rising superpowers, to preserve the rich architectural heritage that was crucial to its contemporary transformation. This stadium is important both from an architectural and engineering standpoint. It should be absolutely preserved.” – Antoine Picon

“This is a Landmark of Gujarat Sport’s. Ahmedabad is known for this Stadium ‘s design which does not have any Pillers coming in between the spectators and the game going in the ground. This stadium should be preserved as a Monument of the Ahmedabad development landmark.” – Rajesh V. Jadeja

“Being architect and living just besides the stadium I’ve grown up looking at each details that served as constant inspiration.
Apart from that the proposed project of Olympic grade stadium is next to impossible looking at the size of the site.
and last but the least that stadium is used for many activities why can’t we enhance that aspect by adaptively re-use that structure…” – Bhargav Shukla

“An engineering marvel that can be restored and enhanced as has been proven by a conglomeration of agencies like The Getty, WMF and ICOMOS should be made good and save the country of unnecessary waste of embodied Carbon in the ensues Climate emergency era. This is not the time for egotistical decisions.” – Poonam Verma Mascarenhas

Re-imagination of the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium as a Public Sports Complex

by Annabel Lopez

A people’s place in the city of Ahmedabad

The Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium, located in the heart of Ahmedabad was designed in the 1960s, by world-renowned architect Charles Correa along with the award-winning structural designer, Mahendra Raj.  The Stadium is a part of the narrative of Ahmedabad’s modernity, a phase that extended from the mid-’50s to the early ‘90s. The buildings of this period represent the progressive ideals and experimental spirit that characterized India’s post-independence period. It is also a part of a larger constellation of structures built in Ahmedabad by architects who were responsible for creating a new architectural vocabulary for the independent nation. The city of Ahmedabad offered patronage that modern architecture had not experienced before. The cotton mill owners who were the patrons, were representative of a new India. These families saw the necessity of combining modernity and tradition to compete in the world market, which was truly global thinking at the time.

Continue reading “Re-imagination of the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium as a Public Sports Complex”

SVP Stadium in Ahmedabad, India by Charles Correa and Mahendra Raj is under threat

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.

Continue reading “SVP Stadium in Ahmedabad, India by Charles Correa and Mahendra Raj is under threat”

Ahemdabad’s iconic Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium, Slated for Demolition

By ArchitectureLIVE

As per the news published in Ahmedabad Mirror, the stadium displays evident signs of wear and tear, including cracked seating areas and gates, as well as exposed and rusting iron elements that pose safety risks. A senior official from the AMC remarked, ‘It is unsuitable even for hosting cultural events. So, It worth noting that the stadium lacks heritage status, making its replacement a more viable option.’

But it is unclear, if any expert advice was sought to conserve the iconic building.

Continue reading “Ahemdabad’s iconic Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium, Slated for Demolition”

Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation Plans to Demolish Iconic Sardar Patel Stadium: Report

The World Monuments Fund says the stadium “represents the progressive ideals and experimental spirit that characterised India’s post-independence period”. In 2020, it was listed as one of 13 significant twentieth-century buildings in the world.

By The Wire Staff

New Delhi: The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) is planning to demolish the city’s Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (SVP) Stadium, the Ahmedabad Mirror has reported, quoting an unnamed senior leader of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

The SVP stadium is not to be confused with Ahmedabad’s more popular Narendra Modi Stadium, which was formerly known as the Sardar Patel Stadium and colloquially as the Motera Stadium.

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Fatorda MLA demands probe into Kala Academy slab collapse

By Times News Network

Porvorim: Fatorda MLA Vijai Sardesai on Tuesday demanded a free and fair probe into the collapse of the slab of Kala Academy’s open-air auditorium.

He also sought the resignation of art and culture minister Govind Gaude before the probe is initiated.

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As KA Crumbles, Stage is Set For Blame Game

By Nida Sayed

“We will find out the facts and figures behind it. From my understanding, the Kala Academy main building is separate from the main structure. It was a fabricated structure and only the area above the stage has collapsed.”

“We will understand the cause behind this and only after the PWD finds out the reason behind the collapse, will I be able to comment as the chairman of Kala Academy and as art and culture minister,” said Gaude Prior to the renovation works being sanctioned, Gaude had pointed out the structure’s fragility — as well as that of the ‘Black Box’ beneath it — as the reason behind the upgradation works.

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Issue top priority, inquiry report to be tabled in 18 days

By Times News Network

The opposition members relented only after the chief minister assured them that the inquiry reports would be tabled in the House before the sessions ends, and the issue discussed then. “The inquiry reports will be placed in the House within 18 days. The day the reports are presented in the House, there will be a discussion on the issue,” Sawant said during Zero Hour.

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The Charles Correa Foundation issues the following statement regarding Kala Academy, Panaji dated 17 July, 2023:  
We are alarmed but not surprised to hear that part of the Kala Academy amphitheatre has collapsed. The PWD and the Government have prevented us from inspecting the site right through the entire process, and we cannot comment on the work done.

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.

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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:

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 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?