Charles Correa is arguably India’s most renowned architect and urban planner. From the Mahatma Gandhi Museum in Ahmedabad to the Brain and Cognitive Sciences Centre in Boston, his buildings have covered a wide spectrum. On the 50th anniversary of setting up his office in Mumbai, Rahul Singh spoke to Correa about his career and concerns:
Everybody who watched the Beijing Olympics was enthralled by the Bird’s Nest stadium. Why doesn’t India have such iconic buildings?
Chinese artist was the inspiration. Then, a Danish structural engineer, Ove Arup, who lives in England, did the actual interweaving structure (he also did the Sydney Opera House). For great buildings, you need a client with imagination, whose objective is excellence. In the 1960s and 1970s we had a lot of good buildings through government patronage of architects like Le Corbussier, Raj Rewal and Balkrishna Doshi. We need to find a way for public agencies to involve more private architects.
Tell us something about your career and your success.
I returned from the US when I was 25, became a partner in a firm. Then, at 28, I started on my own. I did not imagine I would last so long! I believe that if you enjoy what you do, you will do it well. After the Gandhi museum, I won a competition for low-cost housing. I was also invited to teach at MIT and the president of Peru, who was an architect, asked me to design some housing for them.