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Louis Kahn and the Great Depression

What Impact will Coronavirus (and the concurrent global recession/depression) have on Architecture in India?

Of course, only a prophet would know that, and I am certainly not a prophet. In fact, most days I forget what happened yesterday, so predicting the future is out of the question. But I do take a lot of aerial photographs, like notes to self in visual, synoptic form. And revisiting notes of the past can reveal hints towards possible futures. So let us dive into one such note from Ahmedabad, circa February 2019.

Dr. Vikram Sarabai Marg draws our eyes northwest towards Vastrapur, into a voluptuous canopy of trees engulfing the Indian Institute of Management. Nestled within the verdant cocoon is the work of American Architect Louis Kahn (1901- 1974), a poetic mix of brick and concrete.

Without pretending to be an expert on Kahn, one can confidently say he was personally and professionally molded by the Great Depression of the 1930’s. To put it another way, the Great Depression was an underlying factor in giving Ahmedabad the Indian Institute of Management.

So, while we have a fair idea what the Coronavirus will take in the short-term (thousands of lives and billions/trillions of rupees), the greater, and more exciting unknown is what it will give in the long-term?

Written by

Robert Stephens

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