Charles Correa’s 1955 Master Thesis Uses Animated Film to Explain Public Participation in Urban Processes

Charles Correa Foundation has recently released several snippets of ‘You & Your Neighbourhood’, Charles Correa’s 1955 Master Thesis at MIT, an animation film for which the architect was scriptwriter, animator, photographer and director. The thesis put forward the idea of a participatory process for the betterment of neighbourhoods, with a strong emphasis on creating a framework for improving urban conditions in a bottom-up approach.

The short pieces of film bear the atmosphere of the 50s cinematography and illustrate the efficiency of this medium when it comes to conveying urban design ideas in laymen terms. The videos briefly touch on questions such as Why do neighbourhoods fall into disrepair? or How can urban sprawl be contained?. The pieces of Charles Correa’s Master Thesis were brought forward in light of the Foundation’s fourth edition of Z-AXIS, a biennial conference which will take place in September, around the same topic: “You and Your Neighborhood”. With this occasion, the themes underlined by the Indian architect’s thesis will be explored further, through a series of lectures on how to uplift and improve neighbourhoods and through a design competition following the event.

Throughout his life, Correa was a well-known critic of modern cities and their design, having voiced concerns over the uncontrollable growth of Indian cities. The architect was also a fervent activist for the improvement of life and housing in cities, themes which the Charles Correa Foundation continues to address. Charles Correa Foundation was born at the initiative of Charles Correa to support architectural, urban design, and community-based projects that improve the human settlements in India. The organization aims to identify ideas with potential and shape them into tangible projects that can be pitched to authorities and stakeholders.

Renowned architect and urban planner, Charles Correa was a pivotal figure for Indian architecture, having contributed to the shaping of an original, local architectural expression, through a blend of modernity and vernacular. Throughout his career spanning more than five decades, Correa designed an array of projects that reframed Indian architectural values, ranging from urban planning schemes like Navi Mumbai (New Bombay) to residential projects like the famous Belapur incremental housing project. His international work includes The Brain and Cognitive Sciences Center at MIT, the Ismaili Centre in Toronto, and the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown in Lisbon. Correa’s extensive body of work earned him numerous accolades, among which the RIBA Gold Medal in 1984, the Praemium Imperiale in 1994, and the 7th Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1998.

To learn more about the Z-AXIS virtual conference, visit the Foundation’s page and for a more comprehensive image of Charles Correa’s body of work, read Rohan Varma’s article on the architect’s life and architecture.

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Cite: Andreea Cutieru. "Charles Correa’s 1955 Master Thesis Uses Animated Film to Explain Public Participation in Urban Processes" 14 Aug 2020. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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