Charles Correa’s contribution to architecture and urban planning in India is so vast and seminal that trying to say it in a few words or in a small breadth of time is perhaps futile. What has been translated into reality from his deeply cerebral and imaginative explorations is only a fraction of all that he thought and dreamt. His philosophy on nature, understanding of the relationships between man and environment, environment and buildings, buildings and images, images and symbols made his architecture master class- an inseparable amalgam of material and nonmaterial, powerful yet lyrical and aesthetic. For a career that spanned over six decades and comprised of supreme grasp of the micro and the macro; parts and the whole, Correa’s was a journey that never quite ended.
The onus of researching into Correa’s mind and his thought processes not only for his built projects but also for his unbuilt ones, rests on the present and future generations of Architects. Additionally, critics and followers need to understand the values he subscribed to, theories and philosophies which he tried to propound so that these understandings become a legacy -a perennial source of inspiration, energy and guiding force in Architecture and urban planning.
The idea of an annual lecture in his memory is not only to remember his legacy on a specific day but also to get inspired and engage in activities, research and practice of his values in Architecture throughout the year. In subsequent years, the objective will be to focus on a specific area of his architecture and find parallels in contemporary practice and reinterpret the same in today’s context. His architectural and intellectual legacy must live on and be conserved for the future generations.
This effort in Kolkata is to complement in some measure the goals of the Charles Correa Foundation in Goa.
Ar. Ashish Acharjee
Charles Correa Memorial Lecture, 2017, Kolkata