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A tribute to the face of modern Indian architecture

The Irreplaceable
With the passing away of Charles Correa a vacuum has been created in the Indian architecture that may not be possible to fulfil.
The significance of his presence lies not so much in what he built but what his outspokenness has contributed to the progress of Indian architecture. In a way, he provided a philosophical content that was so much needed for the development of architecture in India. In fact, it was this philosophical content that rarely affected contemporary Indian architecture and it served to enlighten the younger generation of both – the architects and the beholders.
My personal acquaintance with Charles Correa was negligible but I never missed an opportunity to enrich myself with whatever he created. The quantity of such work was indeed amazing.
I know of no other Indian architect who built outside India in Europe and America. This in itself is a credible.
May God bless his soul.
– Architect Satish Gujral______________________________
An architect of his own principle
It was 1960s when I had just started my relationship with architecture – one iconic personality stood tall in this field – Charles Correa, an architect with high qualification, suave personality and a charismatic presence created awe amongst us.
He had by-far built his reputation over more than 5 decades of his architectural practice. However I feel his dedication to architecture somehow missed exploring the ‘business’ in this field. Architecture in last few decades has become a very multi-faceted and high-tech business which could have had a lot of benefit with such stalwarts being part of the said boom. I feel, Ar. Correa was not inclined towards this change and willingly did not participate in taking the architecture beyond its artistic format.
I personally shall cherish good memories of time spent with him. We had the opportunity to collaborate during my days as IIID President wherein he would ensure his presence in the events as an encouraging icon.
While I pray that Ar. Charles Correa’s soul rests in peace – I salute and celebrate his victory, he achieved in his mortal being.
– Architect Prem Nath___________________________________
“His spaces indirectly demonstrated our needs of outdoor life and sustainability”
I still remember Charles calling me one early morning, a few years ago, and saying Doshi listen to this and played the record of Mary Hopkin’s “Those Were the Days my Friend”.
At this moment I wish it is true. Has Charles, my close colleague, family friend and a person who always escorted my imagination and heighten my spirit not there anymore?
Yes, Charles is physically not there but our six decades of friendship and the memories of our time spend together is not lost. We shared our family gatherings together, travelled together and visited our projects together.
There were always frank observations, comments suggestion to change, redo what were both doing.
Charles will always remain present through his various multi-scale projects where he emphasised an ideal way of living, moving or working. His spaces indirectly demonstrated our needs of outdoor life as well as true sustainability. His magical and theoretical way of integrating high tech and low tech skills, images and elements in designing varied scales of building types has now become prototypes.
Likewise the lifestyle of his family where dwells the same spirit, i.e. live life joyously, as if it is a miracle or a gift from the heaven. The same spirit pervades in all areas of his architecture and planning where living, working, moving and cultivating spirit is the main theme.
I am sure, indefatigable spirit that Charles represent will remain ever present and spread its fragrance and feel his presence to all those who knew Charles and those who visit his buildings.
– Architect Balkrishna Doshi_
“Charles was the face of Indian architecture”
Charles has been a lifelong hero of mine and generations of Indian architects.  He was not just an inspiration; I believe he paved the building blocks of developing the character and direction of architecture and built environment of post-Independent India.
This is not just a moment of great grief for many of us, but also a poignant moment of an entire era that shaped the foundation of the nation’s modern architecture. We are immensely grateful to have had his brilliance, sensitivity, idealism as well as those brazen provocations that often nurtured one’s own idea of India and its architecture.  I hope India continues to honour his value systems and ideals even as we leap into the next era.
Charles represented Indian architecture worldwide and was the face of Indian architecture to the rest of the world. He introduced modernism into Indian architecture by beautifully integrating our great vernacular culture.  His artistic brilliance can still be experienced by anyone who visits Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya in Ahmedabad, the  iconic  Kanchanjunga apartment tower in Mumbai, Jawahar Kala Kendra in Jaipur or Bharat Bhavan in Bhopal.
I am always in awe of the simplicity of his architectural craft that combined our traditions and culture as well as delicately responded to our diverse climate. He was a very astute observer and deeply concerned about the state of India’s urbanisation and challenges of city planning. He also leaves a gigantic legacy of writing and scholarship that will be a treasure to future generations.
I will always fondly remember him and still recall that I received my first ever award in architecture from him. His wisdom, passion and idealism were and will continue to be a source of limitless inspiration to all of us. His place in our history is as one of the great minds of the republic.
– Architect Hafeez Contractor


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