“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.
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.
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.
Over the course of three years at CCF, there have been several key projects that I am thankful for participating in. At Good City, we organised walks and activities for citizens to help make people more aware of their urban realm. We did not offer answers to urban issues — but rather tried to help citizens “spot-problems”. In my first year at CCF the state government expressed an intent to demolish Correa’s Kala Academy. CCF got involved in discussions, we petitioned Goans and the architecture community, the High Court took cognisance and I participated in a two and a half-year litigation. Finally, the Court passed a landmark judgement, preventing the state from demolishing any part of the structure and requiring them to repair and strengthen it instead. This is the first time in India that a 20th century public building has been saved from demolition through a court order. In 2020, we held Z-axis online along with a design competition — to run parallel to the lectures, and tie both together through the theme “You and Your Neighbourhood” (Correa’s Masters Thesis at MIT in 1958). We also helped villagers from Old Goa (which contains Goa’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site) in their efforts against unplanned infrastructure. Working at CCF taught me to negotiate with stakeholders and the State, to step in, to be an “agent of change”, and to make cities slightly better.
Research Fellow 2019 – 20
Working for the Old Goa Master Plan was a comprehensive learning experience, getting to tackle urban issues concerning the active citizens who were bothered by the state of their surroundings and heritage. Taking a bottom-up approach with the government authorities and working with erudites like Prof. Edgar Rebeiro was a great on-ground learning experience on how to deal with urban level issues of a city.
Anjanaa Devi Srikanth
Research Fellow 2018 – 19
I enjoyed Z-Axis 2018, the theme of equity in the design of cities was an important factor in helping me decide my present course for further studies and a career in Urban Design. Organising the event, mobilising volunteers and making sure everything went smoothly was a great learning experience. Post-event documentation, especially the preparation of the conference proceedings, provided me with another great insight into the minds, and work, of some of the presenters.
Research Fellow 2017 – 18
Working on the “Rationalizing Signage in Panaji Part B: Commercial Signage Policy” was a memorable experience. It was about documenting and proposing design and policy guidelines for commercial signage in Panaji as a way of improving the image of the city. We also organised a competition, exhibition and panel discussion on the same to engage the local stakeholders.
Research Fellow 2016 – 17
I think the most memorable project that I got a chance to work on was the waste management project, “Know Waste to No Waste: Towards a Zero Waste Goa”. From designing and conducting surveys to having meaningful interactions with experts, it was a tremendous learning opportunity for me. One particular memory that stands out was when the whole team conducted an awareness workshop for school children. The entire process of organising it was so much fun as was the actual workshop!
Research Fellow 2016 – 17
My most memorable project from my time at CCF has to be the Critique of Cujira School Complex. After we finished the initial critique of the “education hub”, and highlighted its failure to address any of the congestion issues it was originally planned to counter, we organised a workshop called “Schooling the Chaos” which saw the participation of a diverse range of stakeholders. It was gratifying to see these stakeholders collaborate and respond to the issues of congestion and student safety.
Research Fellow 2015-16
The most memorable project for me was “Building Crafts of Goa Research on Kaavi”, as it was a self-initiated project and in a matter of two weeks I drove around Goa with no prior knowledge of the locations, visiting approximately 75 temples and houses, out of which 26 sites had Kaavi. This project was mentored by Heta Pandit. I even visited temples and houses in Ankola, Karnataka, where it is still being preserved, further reaching out to craftsmen who still practise this art form and a press conference for creating awareness amongst the people.
Research Fellow 2015-16
The idea of Panaji Archives is to get all data pertaining to the city of Panaji under one roof so that students, researchers, and professionals will be able to access the data easily from one source. The Archives also includes policy documents, reference books, project reports, images, historical information, etc. in a digital format for easy viewing and transfer of data.
Research Fellow 2014 – 15
When I put my thoughts to recall my most memorable project in CCF, I will have to mention the Urban Signage Project that I had undertaken as my first project in CCF. What made the project significant, both on a personal and professional front, was the varying challenges and learning that it had to offer. The intent of the project was to create a signage system that ensures uniformity, legibility, readability and effective way-finding.
Research Fellow 2013 – 14
In 2014, I worked on the documentation of heritage structures in Panjim. We followed our maps and explored the city, grading each heritage structure based on predefined conditions. These grades served as a base for future conservation in the city. The project gave me a clear sense of how these structures contributed to the city’s streetscape, and these are lessons that I continue to use while working on designs today.
Research Fellow 2013 – 14
The Panjim Map was the project I was in charge of, it also meant I bore the brunt of Charles’ highly trained eye! I have always had a love for cartography and this experience really made me dive deeper into it. Also, working on the ‘Road map for Efficient Mobility’ (within Panjim, and between Panjim and Mapusa), and presenting learnings about Bamboo construction at Nagaland for a CCF Public forum, were some of the memorable moments.
Associate Director 2013 – 14
Every project at the CCF would evolve into a layered exercise, with the focus resting on an integrated solution for the city and revolved under varying heads like mobility, heritage or waste management. My time at CCF started with working on the “Visitor’s Map”, a project that gave me a first-hand glimpse of the extent of data and the variety of stake-holders involved in every exercise.
Research Fellow 2011 – 12
I had the privilege of working at CCF to draw up a Decongestion Model for Panaji City Centre, where Charles Correa would call us daily to track our progress. In many ways, his legacy continues through the CCF’s work in Urban Interventions and research and development of human settlements.
Date: September 01, 2022 Time : 6:00 – 8:00pm IST Venue : Online
Do join us for an evening dedicated to the memory of our founder, Charles Correa, on his 92nd birth anniversary. We start with a panel discussion with three of his clients, followed by the Charles Correa Gold Medal Award Ceremony 2022.
In conversation with Nondita Correa Mehrotra are three clients for Correa’s projects, clients who he built a great rapport with – Ashok Vajpeyi for Bharat Bhavan; Jyotindra Jain for the National Crafts Museum; and Ajit Kembhavi for the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics. The discussion will be on anecdotes and narratives of the process of what makes a piece of architecture, and the role that the client, and the public have in the process. It is to bring awareness and to remember Charles Correa, and these buildings that are much loved and used by the public!
This panel discussion will be followed by the Award Ceremony for the Charles Correa Gold Medal 2022, awarded to the most outstanding undergraduate Architectural Thesis from colleges across India. The Gold Medal will be presented by this year’s jury of architects – Meghal Arya, Suhasini Ayer, Arthur Duff, Kapil Gupta, and Rohan Shivkumar.
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.
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.
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.
The Ahmedabad Rifle Association needed a building to house their offices and showroom. Since their requirements were small and their initial funds limited. they wanted a plan which would provide direct access to independent rentable offices, and which could be added to later on.
Thus, the building consists of two separate blocks each 12m x 12m. The floor slabs are diagrids, supported by 4 columns placed at the middle of each external wall, augmented by diagonal brace to the corners. This created an internal office space free of obstruction. The central slot between the two blocks is used for circulation and toilets
The Client wanted a workspace which, through its very form, generates a controlled micro-climate, obviating the necessity for air-condition. The brief specified a programme that was incremental – hence the modular units, which are indented into a cruciform so as to bring more daylight to the workspaces. To minimize hear input, the units are sealed along the east on the west (which enjoys a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape) shade is provided by the large roof overhang – consisting partly of a slatted pergola and partly thin membrane of water which reflects the incident hear of sunlight back into the sky.
This office complex for the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) is situated on the outer road of Connaught Circle, and acts as a pivot between the colonnades of Connaught Place and the new generation of high-rise towers that now surround it. Thus, the building is both proscenium and backdrop: a twelve-storey stage-set whose faceted glass surfaces reflect the buildings and trees around Connaught Place, and beyond which the new high-rise imagery of Delhi can be glimpsed.
The two lower levels of the complex consist of shopping decks and restaurants, while the upper levels of offices are located in two separate wings, generating a total built-up area of 63,000 square metres. Connecting the two wings, is a great pergola, 98 metres long, supported at either end by masonry piers and in the middle by a single column. A city proposal for an elevated pedestrian walkways (if ever constructed) will pass between the two blocks, allowing pedestrians to traverse the building as a great darwaza, i.e. gateway, defined by the portico-form.
The site, just down the road, from the UN Headquarters in New York, consists of two Manhattan city-blocks connecting adjacent streets, forming a narrow strip of land 60 metres long, with a frontage of 12 metres along 43rd St. and a mere 6.3 metres along 44th St. Into this crevice had to be inlaid a complex programme of offices for the Permanent Mission of India and an Exhibition Gallery (with direct access from 44th St.) located in the four levels of the podium, surmounted by a tower with residential accommodation for five different categories of staff, ranging from the security personnel (15.5 sq. metres each) to the Dy. Consul General (200 sq. metres in a triplex apartment with terrace gardens, at the top of the building). This wide range of apartment sizes were all accommodated in the same envelope (a tower 14 metres wide and 15.5 metres deep), wrapped in a taut metal panelled skin. The larger apartments at the top are interlocking duplexes somewhat like the Kanchanjunga Apartments in Bombay (1960-83), but with the double height areas glass-enclosed (so as to remain useable in the North American winters).
Madras is a low-rise city, with a quiet and relaxed life style. These new headquarters for MRF, the leading tyre manufacturer in India, gently follows the curve of the road to create a series of terraced gardens, recalling the waves on the seashore of the Marina along the waterfront in Madras
Rejecting the notion of a high-rise tower to convey the commercial pre-eminence of the client, this design generates monumentality though a single free-standing column rising to support the large pergola that floats above the terraces, protecting them from the sun. Within the building, the various levels of the offices open out onto a central atrium, linked through a casual pattern of connecting stairs, creating a focus for the building and a wonderfully casual way to walk from one department to another, or and to exit and go home at the end of the working day. At the roof terrace level, one emerges on to a large garden, with the trees and buildings of Madras all around.
This large complex of public sector offices in Bhopal, was designed for the Madhya Pradesh State Corporation. Developed from some of the architectural concepts initiated in the ECIL offices in Hyderabad, this complex is for a similar hot-dry climate.
It is designed to accommodate twelve independent State Government Corporation in four separate buildings which architecturally form a single mass, focussing round a courtyard, with a fountain at its centre. This courtyard is covered by a pergola at roof level, which not only protects the internal facades from the sun, but also ties the complex together visually.
Much of the lighting of the office spaces is from windows overlooking this central space; the external surfaces are either blank masonry, or double-walls with deep-set windows. The six-storey high blocks each have their own vertical circulation. At various points on the upper levels, they are interconnected by bridges. The driveway swings into the complex, passing under the overhead bridges – a classic pattern found in historic sectors of Bhopal city.
This office building is part of a new development by Reichmann International in the heart of Mexico City, on a site which was largely destroyed in the earthquake of 1985. Within the context of a Master Plan developed by the noted Mexican architect Ricardo Legoretta, the design of the buildings has been entrusted to several international architects (Caesar Pelli, Aldo Rossi. Fumihiko Maki, etc).
This project is a low-rise building. located along the front of the site, facing the historic Alameda Park. It has the proportions of a cube – the lower two floors of the building contain shops which plug into the shopping arcade along the rear of the site. The upper floors are for offices, with the top three having Executive Suites opening on to terraces with marvellous views of the city through the large “urban windows at the top of the building.
From Alameda Park, these openings, floating just above the level of the trees, will frame the multi-faceted mural, painted in the great Mexican tradition of public art, so vividly exemplified in the work of Deigo Riveira and Orazco. The external walls are clad in black volcanic rock used in many of Mexico City’s oldest buildings with the mullions of the square windows in a glossy reddish-brown metallic finish.