Correa will be remembered best for VV towers

Legendary architect dead: He loved to marry western revivalist trend with Indian nativity

Correa will be remembered best for VV towers

Legend Charles Correa who was post-Independent India’s most important modernist architect left a deep impression of his style, concept and vision all over the country.
Though originally from Secunderabad, Correa’s works were well-defined in not only Mumbai, Delhi and Pune, but Bengaluru too, where he made distinct contribution to the architecture of public and private spaces.

The most siginificant and notable contribution to Bengaluru’s architecture he made is the Visvesvaraya Towers which stand very close to the Vidhana Soudha and High Court.  Prof Anantha Krishnan, Dean at CMR Institute of Architecture told Deccan Herald: “To this day the Visvesvaraya towers stands as witness to Correa’s unique style. At a time when the revivalist trend was dominant, Correa chose to be modern.

“In the initial days there was criticism that the style of Visvesvaraya towers did not match the style of Vidhana Soudha and High Court which were revivalist. His use of exposed concrete, lack of ornamentation on the exteriors suggested that he was modern in attitude.

Correa defended himself well saying that Bengaluru would head the modern way and the city should refelect modern architectural spaces. He also said he was blending the global modern style with Indian revivalist trends.”

Krishnan said another defining feature of Correa was the use of the courtyard concept. “Correa made use of the courtyard concept in building his house in Koramangala, which now hosts Fab India. Correa was intrigued by the Hindu concept of a Tulasi Mantap in a courtyard in Bengaluru. He said he loved to marry the western revivalist trend with Indian nativity and that’s why he stuck to the courtyard concept.  Correa used this concept in designing the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre inside IISC where he has built the house, office and guesthouse with courtyards. He also designed the staff housing at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research at Jakkur. A defining feature of the man is his return to courtyard concepts.”

Correa also used the feature of courtyard not only in the front of the house, but even at the back as he has done with the Titan Township.

 Krishnan says Correa built a big garden at the back of the houses so that not only the residents but their neighbours too could enjoy the open air space. He also built this to ensure that the entire neighbourhood enjoyed privacy to the extent affordable.

The township, near Attibele, Hosur contains unique row houses designed with unique common areas. The area was initially exclusive to Titan Industries employees, but is now open to the general public.

Architect Prem Chandrawakar says Correa was admirable and unique for his ability to keep the local alive. “He married the concepts of global with local — the local climate particularly and local culture. He was of the view that tropical countries should reflect a different architecture that did not merely reflect Western notions. Local climate was a very big factor in his thinking.”

Architect Naresh Narasimhan says one of the defining features of Correa was his “respect for local building traditions”.

 “He was by far one of the few architects who utilised climatic concepts in modern building designs. This was the case both in form and function. His admiration for India’s traditions was always noticeable.” “Apart from the VV towers and Titan township, he also designed housing colonies in Bengaluru. He also built two very attractive houses — his own at Koramangala and the one at Cambridge Layout for his sister.

“While Fab India operates from the first, the second house stays the same. Its an attractive building. He was also chief architect of Karnataka for some time,” Narasimhan said.


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