Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium, Ahmedabad (Charles Correa Now)
Ahmedabad, India

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium was designed and built for Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation over 7 years from 1959 to1966. Named after India's first home minister, it is the product of a famous collaboration between Charles Correa and Mahendra Raj. They divided the fees equally among each other - a rare instance of architects and civil engineers collaborating.

During an interview, Monika Correa, Charles' wife, who had witnessed the design process closely, stated that the commission for the stadium "started very early in the 60s. He got it in 61, and he started drawing and stuff. In 62, they laid the foundation stone, but the construction took time. Raj was a very, very fine engineer". 

She also appreciated the drawings Mahendra Raj did. "It was Charles' first project with him. Mahendra Raj was very particular about them. (There were) no computers at that time, (so) all are hand-drawn. The aesthetics of architectural drawings were very appealing to me. "

The building has witnessed critical historical events, including the first one-day international cricket match played in India. It was also used in Narendra Modi's oath-taking ceremony when he became the chief minister of Gujarat, momentos of which can still be seen in the Stadium, like paraphernalia on the stage. 

The Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium was included on the 2020 World Monuments Watch "to draw attention to the complex challenges of preserving not only an iconic twentieth-century modern structure but an emblematic public space for the people of Ahmedabad". Due to this, many events and talks have been organized to raise awareness of and to encourage preservation of the building.

In May 2010, the stadium hosted Swarnim Gujarat Fest, the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the foundation of Gujarat state. Renovation work carried out in advance of this event included constructing public toilets, pathways, drinking water facilities, and a VIP foyer area inside the Stadium.

I observed some new built-up areas in the stadium area which are inconsistent with the exposed concrete design of the building, including a white-box room where the stadium manager Mr Dipen Gandhi sits. He said that he got the room renovated after the previous manager left. The Stadium has found itself of use even in the times of COVID. The building now holds vaccination drives for the public.

When I visited the Stadium, I met many young players who could not access the field due to COVID restrictions, so they practised in the alleys at its periphery. I also met the gardener, who told me that he took the opportunity of the lockdown to plant new trees around the area.

-Nipun Prabhakar, 2021

23, Sardar Patel Stadium Rd, Nayak Nagar, Navrangpura, Ahmedabad, Gujarat 38001423, Sardar Patel Stadium Rd, Nayak Nagar, Navrangpura, Ahmedabad, Gujarat 380014, Ahmedabad, India
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Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium
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recreation and sport