RIBA honours India's modernist master
The British architectural body salutes the great Indian architect Charles Correa in new Indian season
While India's economic growth rate - predicted to be a rampant 6.4% next year - puts it at the forefront of the world's emerging economies, its built environment (as we tragically saw last week) sometimes seems to lag behind many first-world nations; only a third of the country's population has access to good sanitation, for example.
Nevertheless, The Royal Institute of British Architects believes contemporary Indian building design can teach us plenty about the architectural challenges of the modern world. RIBA's Out of India season, beginning 14 May and running until 4 September, explores the influences and experiences of building in the subcontinent in a series of talks, exhibitions and film screenings. There will be a photographic retrospective of well-known and more obscure buildings, an examination of the country's slum problems, and a look at the use of symbols and metaphors in Indian buildings.
However, a good part of the season is dedicated to Charles Correa, the Bombay architect renowned not only for his seamless integration of Indian traditions with modernist styles, but also for his championing of the poor. As British architect David Adjaye - who designed the layout of RIBA's forthcoming exhibition - puts it, Correa's "work is the physical manifestation of the idea of Indian nationhood, modernity and progress."
Correa, who designed the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Museum in Ahmedabad, Jawahar Kala Kendra Arts Centre in Jaipur, as well as the Brain and Cognitive Sciences Center at MIT, Boston and the Champalimaud Centre for The Unknown in Lisbon, Portugal, will deliver a lecture on 15 May; an exhibition dedicated to Correa's work will run throughout the season; while films, either directed by Correa or featuring his work, will also be screened.
In all, it looks like a great season, offering an insight into Indian building design that's neither backward looking nor stereotypical in its outlook, while also giving us a fresh perspective on modernist building as a whole. To find out more, go here. For further insight into how we build today, in both India and elsewhere, consider our Atlas of 21st Century World Architecture; and for a stunning compilation of modern Indian design and architecture; take a look at our India Modern book.