Charles Correa Now
Regional Surveys

Buildings are like people; they are born, live a life, age, and eventually die. They go through a constant change that the architect may or may not have thought about while designing them. 

Charles Correa, who has been called India's greatest architect by the Royal Institute of British Architects, has also been a recipient of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1998. While he is undoubtedly the most famous architect from the Indian subcontinent, significantly less work has been done on how his buildings have aged and transformed over the years. 

In the project "Charles Correa Now", I developed a series of experiential photo essays on his buildings and life around them in contemporary times. Done in a documentary-style visual narrative, I tried to portray them raw and different from the typical airbrushed architecture photos we see today. 

I visited ten of Correa's buildings and sincerely tried to find new and honest ways of looking at his architecture through the lens of people who make use of the structures. I chose a mixture of buildings across the spectrum of functions, degrees of transformation, and locations throughout India.

The photo essays also bear the stamp of the world today. For example, the Church of Our Lady of Salvation in Dadar (Mumbai), designed the architect in 1974-77, recently re-opened the church after a long closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, sanitizing the church after every service. There is a photograph in this collection of an employee spraying a sanitization liquid in the nave of the church. It is not typical of architectural books. Similarly, in Ahmedabad, Similarly, photographs of Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel Stadium show children playing outside and in the corridors or under the stands of the stadium, which was officially closed.

My work involved visually and qualitatively excavating traces, objects, motifs, testimonies and anecdotes around the lives of these prominent buildings. I interviewed people who were part of the design team, like Nondita Correa Mehrotra, building owners, occupants, workers, administrators and people who have intimately knowledge of Correa's work over time, including his wife, the artist, Monika Correa. I also accessed personal archives and correspondence to understand how the design process evolved. 

I also interviewed many long-term users of these buildings, such as Mr Devilal Patidar in Bharat Bhawan, who told me that "it takes a lot of effort to keep these stones exposed." He was lamenting the indifference expressed by bureaucrats towards the design of the buildings, as well as the failure to maintain them long term. I also met Vijay, a young boy who sells bird feed at the Navrangpura Bus Terminal. He told me that he was born in the bus stand after his mother arrived there from her rural village, and still considered it his home.


This project would not have been possible if some people didn't humbly understand my musings of visualising the change in architecture. Thanks to Michael Toler from AKDC@MIT, who liked the idea and helped me move forward with it. Thanks to Raj Isar and Shiraz Alibhai from AKDN for supporting this idea and helping it move forward. 

Special thanks to Nondita Correa Mehoratra and Monika Correa for welcoming me and discussing all that happened during the design and construction of Charles Correa's buildings. Tahir Noronha, convener at Charles Correa Foundation, for helping me with permissions to visit the facilities and helping me with last-minute emergencies. 

Thanks to Sejal Selwadia, Adwait Adke, Jay Vadodaria, Ninad Adhikari and Eti Sharma for joining me in Vidhan Bhawan, Cidade De Goa, Bharat Bhawan, and Gun House.

Thanks to my mentors, Sandeep Virmani, Mary Norman Woods, and Kirit Dave, for their constant support and guidance. 

And special thanks to Natasha Maru for being my traveling partner on almost every trip and a strong support pillar. 


This collection contains records prepared by Nipun Prabhakar focusing on the sites as they exist and are being used today. In cases where there is an existing Archnet record for a site, that record appears under the heading "Related Sites."

  • Michael A. Toler, Archnet Content Manager, 16 February 2022