Charles Correa

Charles Mark Correa (born 1 September 1930 in Sikandarabad, Andhra Pradesh; † 16 June 2015 in Mumbai) was an Indian architect and urban planner, activist, theorist and a key figure in the world landscape of contemporary architecture.


He studied architecture at the University of Michigan and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology after which he established a private practice in Bombay in 1958. His work in India shows a careful development, understanding and adapting modernism to a non-Western culture. In his early work he uses a local indigenous style within a modern setting. Land-use planning and community projects continually attempt to go beyond typical solutions to Third World problems.

Along with Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi, Raj Rewal, Achyut Kanvinde and Kuldip Singh, he was an activist in the Indian architectural movement during the decolonisation era in India.

Over the past four decades, Correa has done pioneering work on urban issues and low-cost shelter in the Third World. From 1970-75, he was Chief Architect for New Bombay, an urban growth centre of two million people, across the bay from the pre-existing city. In 1985, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi appointed him Chairman of the National Urban Development Commission.

Charles Correa passed away at his residence in Mumbai after a brief illness at the age of 84 on 16 June 2015.


Correa's work is considered a unifying element of traditional spiritual architecture and Western cultural understanding. Widely acclaimed buildings include the India Permanent Mission to the United Nations building in New York City and the Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya in Ahmedabad, India, dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi. Correa was married to artist Monica Correa and taught at MIT and Harvard.

In all his work - from the planning of Navi Mumbai to the carefully detailed Mahatma Gandhi memorial at Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad - he has placed special emphasis on conserving resources, energy and climate as the main factors in spatial planning.

Correa initially enthusiastically embraced the formal language of international modernism. For the 28-storey high-rise Kanchenjunga Apartments in Mumbai (1970-1983), with its adoption of Western flat layouts, he earned criticism, which he justified by citing the necessary relationship between construction and land costs in this city. This criticism was related to the expectation of what was probably the most influential advocate of a tradition-conscious building method. His Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya on the site of the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad from 1958 to 1963 is a clear and modest design for a museum commemorating Mahatma Gandhi, who lived here between 1917 and 1930. Square modules around a central courtyard respect the specifications of the Vaastu. The austere simplicity of the hipped-roofed components is relaxed by the irregular distribution appropriate to an Indian village.

Completed in 1978, the 160 units of Tara Group Housing in New Delhi are diagonally stepped and nested row houses on 0.8 hectares of land. Projecting like storeys, they are climate-controlled as per the lanes in the desert city of Jaisalmer. The Kanchenjunga Apartments are an equivalent built upwards: corner balconies broken into the façade extend over two storeys and create a necessary perforation in the block form.

From the plethora of different designs, all of which deal very consistently with Indian tradition, the circular form of the Madhya Pradesh state parliament building in Bhopal would stand out even without mythological reference. On a flat hill overlooking a part of the city, all functional rooms are located within a circular outer wall with a diameter of 140 metres, within which the large meeting hall is also circular and is spanned by a round dome. The dome is reminiscent of the country's most important stupa in Sanchi, about 50 kilometres away. The fact that a square inner courtyard was kept free for Brahma in the centre, in keeping with tradition, is typical of Correa. Construction lasted from 1980 to 1997.


  • 1972: Padma Shri
  • 1984: Royal Gold Medal
  • 1990: UIA Gold Medal
  • 1993: Elected Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • 1994: Praemium Imperiale
  • 1998: Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters
  • 2005: Austrian Decoration of Honour for Science and Art
  • 2006: Padma Vibhushan


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Charles Correa
Critical Regionalism
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This page was last changed on 2021-09-21.