Charles Correa


Cristina Andrade

Charles Correa

(1930 – 16 de Junho 2015)

Arquitecto, urbanista, distinguido pelo Governo Indiano com o Prémio Padma Shri 1972. Em 1984 com a Royal Gold Medal pelo Royal Institute of British Architects, e em 2006, de novo por decisão do Governo Indiano, com o Prémio Padma Vibhushan.

Atento o seu recente desaparecimento, e em jeito de simples homenagem ao Homem e à sua obra, entendemos dar-lhe o devido relevo também para recordar as suas ligações a Portugal:

A primeira, por descender de Goeses, circunstância atestada pelo seu apelido – Correa; a segunda por ser o autor do Centro Champalimaud, em Lisboa.

A forma mais adequada que encontramos para esta invocação encontra-se no que a seu propósito está publicado no artigo do New York Times do passado dia 22 que passamos a transcrever. E para ilustrar a sua criação arquitectónica que honra a capital e o País a nota que a Fundação Champalimaud publicou aquando da inauguração do seu prestigiado Centro.


NEW DELHI — Charles Correa, an American-trained architect who returned to his native India to pioneer a new, indigenous architectural style, melding 20th-century modernism with Indian traditions, died on Tuesday in Mumbai. He was 84.

The cause was lung cancer, his son-in-law, Rahul Mehrotra, said.

Mr. Correa reached deep into India’s past for inspiration in producing work that is notable for its imagination and breadth. He created striking museums and university buildings in India and abroad — including one at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, his alma mater — as well as housing for a country with an ever-growing population.In congested urban areas, he designed low-rise affordable housing to counter heat and incorporate open space; in Mumbai, he created a high-rise apartment building made to feel as airy as an Indian bungalow.

In another project, the Crafts Museum in New Delhi, Mr. Correa devised an arrangement of spaces linked by courtyards “through which visitors make their own route, as though exploring the streets or squares of a village,” The Guardian wrote in 2013 on the occasion of a retrospective of his work at the Royal Institute of British Architects. The institute called him “India’s greatest architect.”

Mr. Correa designed the building that houses the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations in Manhattan. Credit Mark Kauzlarich/

The Crafts Museum, Mr. Correa told the newspaper, expressed his idea of “experiencing architecture not as an object one looks at, but as an energy field one moves through.”

His work was widely identified by its echoes of the ancient and the indigenous. One of his best-known early buildings was a Mahatma Gandhi memorial museum at Gandhi’s ashram in Ahmedabad. It was meant to echo the look of the villages in which many of Gandhi’s ideas were rooted. Mr. Correa went on to build an arts center in Jaipur, drawing on the city’s original 18th-century design. A fellow architect, Gautam Bhatia, said in an interview that even if Mr. Correa’s buildings were viewed out of context, “you would immediately be able to place them as Indian buildings.”

Mr. Correa was born on Sept. 1, 1930, in the Indian city of Secunderabad. His parents were from the western coastal state of Goa, a former Portuguese colony, where many Indians had converted to Christianity and taken Westernized names.

Mr. Correa studied at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and M.I.T. before returning to India and establishing his own company in Mumbai (then known as Bombay) in 1958, just 11 years after the country had gained independence from Britain. He was intent, he said, not on imitating the modernism he had studied in the West but on fusing it with India’s history and culture to create something new.

“India was a fresh country, and there was this wonderful feeling that everything was going to change and that you’d have a new kind of life,” he said of his return in a 2013 interview with Angela Brady, a former president of the Royal Institute. “There’s that wonderful feeling where there is so much hope and everything is so fragile. And you have to, at that moment, risk more, I think.”

Mr. Correa designed buildings outside India in his later years. He was one of several top architects, including Frank Gehry, chosen to work on the M.I.T. expansion, which included the Brain and Cognitive Sciences Complex, of which Mr. Correa was the lead designer. It was completed in 2005. He also designed the building that houses the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations in Manhattan. A recipient of many awards, he held visiting professorships at M.I.T., Harvard and elsewhere.

He is survived by his wife, Monika; two children, Nondita Correa-Mehrotra and Nakul Correa; and five grandchildren.

Mr. Correa was deeply invested in India’s urban future. He saw Mumbai, his adopted home, as a place of flourishing diversity and opportunity but also of strangling overpopulation. “A great city and a terrible place” was his description of Mumbai in an interview for “One City, Two Worlds,” a 2002 documentary film about the city that was conceived and narrated by Mr. Mehrotra, his son-in-law, who is also an architect.

Many say Mr. Correa’s urban efforts were never fully realized. His original plan for Navi Mumbai, or New Bombay, a satellite city meant to serve as a pressure valve for crowded Mumbai, was not fully executed, hampered by a “lack of political will,” his friend Anil Dharker wrote in a remembrance in The Indian Express.

Mr. Correa was for a time chairman of the Delhi Urban Arts Commission and the National Commission on Urbanization, but proposals made to the national commission are “gathering dust,” the architect Romi Khosla said.

“It was a tragedy of his life that he was not able to influence government, although they made him pretend he was,” Mr. Khosla said, adding that his influence in India was not “where it should have been.” He continued, “Charles’s influence has yet to emerge.”

In NYTimes

“On October 5th 2010 the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown was inaugurated in Lisbon, Portugal.

Designed by the architect, Charles Correa, this project returned to the public a part of the important riverside area of Pedrouços, next to Belem.

At the point where the River Tejo meets the Atlantic and from where the great Portuguese navigators once set sail, the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown seeks to celebrate not only the area’s epic past but also an outstanding moment in the recent history of our country.

Here, everything converges to the creation of a unique atmosphere for the development of the most advanced multidisciplinary and translational research in the field of biomedicine. The building’s contemporary architecture, along with its functionality, offers outstanding conditions to investigators, academics and health professionals, from Portugal and beyond, to carry out work oriented towards excellence and practical results.

The Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown covers an area of 60,000m2 facing the River Tejo and comprises three large areas. The main building houses the Champalimaud Clinical Centre’s diagnostic and treatment facilities, an indoor garden, research laboratories and administrative services, all interlinked to promote discussion and collaboration between scientists, clinicians and other professionals. The tropical pergola-covered garden is at the heart of this structure.

Tne Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown is a state-of-the-art facility for science, medicine, technology and public use.

The documentary film "Into the Unknown", directed by Sankalp Meshram and dedicated to Charles Corrêa, opens the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown doors for a unique look on the architecture of this building that is already a landmark in the city of Lisbon. “

in FChampalimaud