With a month left of the exhibition, the book featuring material from Charles Correa’s archive at the RIBA will become a small memento of a very busy season…

Book cover: ‘Charles Correa: India's Greatest Architect’, featuring an image of Correa’s Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown, Lisbon.

Book cover: ‘Charles Correa: India’s Greatest Architect’, featuring an image of Correa’s Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown, Lisbon.

“Charles Correa is an Indian and international architect who, in a lifetime of achievement, has created work which is consistently beautiful, human and enduring.”

Charles Correa: India’s Greatest Architect, 2013, p.5

 

Often images and objects from the RIBA’s collections at the British Architectural Library make an appearance in films, adverts, books and magazines, but occasionally they get a starring role. Published to accompany the RIBA’s India season and Charles Correa exhibition, the shelves of the Library now includes the book Charles Correa: India’s Greatest Architect which is closely linked to the Library itself. Written by several contributors, including Irena Murray, former Director of the British Architectural Library, the book uses many drawings from the archive of Charles Correa, which was recently donated to the RIBA.

Navi Mumbai concept drawing

Concept drawing of Navi Mumbai, to the east, and connections to Mumbai across the harbour.
© Charles Correa Archive / RIBA, British Architectural Library

The book looks at twenty-two prominent projects from Correa’s prolific career, one of which is Navi Mumbai.

Navi Mumbai stands as one of the Correa’s greatest achievements. Correa’s work and concern with urbanism comes through in the many drawings detailing how people use streets and, in the case of Mumbai, how people live and move across the city. Exactly a hundred years ago on 1 August 1913, the weekly journal the Builder (p.120) published an article with the title ‘Proposed extension of Bombay City’, where it reported on a idea to reclaim from the sea 1,145 acres on the west and 124 acres on the east coast. It was just one of many proposals. Mumbai has grown over the centuries through land reclamation, but it could not continue for practical and environmental reasons. Navi Mumbai was to extend the city beyond the old city’s narrow island site, across the harbour to the mainland in the east; a bold solution to provide new homes and to relieve some of the pressure for land on the island.

Topographical analysis for Mumbai’s proposed eastward expansion

Topographical analysis for Mumbai’s proposed eastward expansion
© Charles Correa Archive / RIBA, British Architectural Library

The publication is a glimpse into the long and fruitful career of a great architect who deserves to be better known outside of his homeland. From Correa’s work we can begin to understand how cities can be planned and how to build for people and the way they live – lessons we need learn now more than ever.

The exhibition is admission free and open to the public, but it will close soon on 4 September 2013. Copies of the book are available from RIBA Bookshops priced £6.95.

 

About Wilson Yau
I work for the British Architectural Library at the RIBA as part of a team to share news, images and information online about the activities of the Library and the fascinating items we have in our architectural collections – it contains over four million items, so there's plenty to see! If you’re curious about what we do at the Library and with the collections, or want to discover the latest about our education programmes, public events and exhibitions at the RIBA, please visit www.architecture.com

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