Charles Correa

Image: The Guardian

He arguably has had the greatest influence on post-Independence architecture in India.

He challenged the design paradigm that Lutyens and British Raj stiff armed on the Indians. Architecture to him was “a three-legged stool: climate, technology and culture”.

His work was deceptively simple — lots of open, elevated spaces. His response was unique to the Indian culture and the idea of an extended family under one roof.

He captured the importance of the cosmos.

He spoke to functional design. His structures were for the city, the people and less about fashion and whimsy.

He pursued “the idea that buildings should use passive means to protect people against the elements — not mechanical air conditioning and heating, but breezes, shade, orientation, the ability of masonry to absorb heat, and what he calls ‘using a house in a nomadic way’”

In the 1970s and 1980s, he taught us how low-rise, high-density affordable housing could work. The housing he created didn’t endure the will of developers who fancied high-rise solutions. Though, it is ironic that today’s urban planners in India are re-embracing Correa’s approach.

In retrospect, he’s India’s greatest modern architect because his influence was India.

Originally published at

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