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Rohan Varma


Architecture as an Agent of Change: Remembering Charles Correa, "India's Greatest Architect"

A year ago today, on June 16th 2015, the architectural community lost Charles Correa (b.1930) – a man often referred to as “India’s Greatest Architect” and a person whose impact on the built environment extended far beyond his own native country. Rooted in India, Correa’s work blended Modernity and traditional vernacular styles to form architecture with a universal appeal. Over the course of his career, this work earned him—among many others—awards including the 1984 RIBA Royal Gold Medal (UK), the 1994 Praemium Imperiale (Japan), and the 2006 Padma Vibhushan (India’s second highest civilian honor).

Through his buildings we, as both architects and people who experience space, have learnt about the lyrical qualities of light and shade, the beauty that can be found in humble materials, the power of color, and the joy of woven narratives in space. Perhaps more than anything else, however, it was his belief in the notion that architecture can shape society which ensures the continued relevance of his work. “At it’s most vital, architecture is an agent of change,” Correa once wrote. “To invent tomorrow – that is its finest function.”

MIT / Charles Correa Associates. Image © Anton Grassl / ESTOBelapur / Charles Correa Associates. Image © Charles Correa AssociatesNavi Mumbai Masterplan. Image © Charles Correa AssociatesNavi Mumbai Masterplan. Image © Charles Correa Associates+ 21