In world of architecture, he carved his niche with novelty

In world of architecture, he carved his niche with novelty

With an unending list of architectural marvels across the globe, Charles Correa was not only the undisputed numero uno architect of India but also one among the people whose influence spread across several countries.

Known for blending his architectural marvels with nature, he was also a votary of open spaces and as an architect, planner, activist and theoretician, he is one of the few contemporary architects who addressed not only issues of architecture, but of low-income housing and urban planning as well.

In India, Correa is to architecture what Sachin Tendulkar is for cricket or the late M F Hussain for painting or R K Laxman for cartoons. His works could never be paralleled – by the generations and times to come. His creations, spread across the country, stand distinct. He has designed structures in Europe, the United States, Latin America, Africa, West and South East Asia.

He was the chief architect for Navi Mumbai across the Mumbai harbour and was appointed by the then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi as the first Chairman of the National Commission on Urbanisation.

Correa has taught at several universities, both in India and abroad, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was Farwell Bemis Professor in the School of Architecture and Planning. He has been awarded the highest honours of his profession, including the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, the Praemium Imperiale of Japan, and the Gold Medals of the UIA and the RIBA.

“He was very innovative….there were no repetitions. His designs were excellent and structures extremely sound and it matched the Indian culture. He always wanted open spaces,” said Mumbai-based senior architect Anant Gadgil, who is a Congress spokesperson and legislator, the son of legendary V N Gadgil and grandson of late Kakasaheb Gadgil.

Correa’s company, Charles Correa Associates, was considered among the best in the world and the legendary Correa was on boards of several governments, cities and states. He had honorary fellowships of the top architects’ associations, including Washington DC, Paris, Helsinki, Dublin, Canada, Manila, Bulgaria and so on.  

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