Skip navigation

Tag Archives: Bollywood

Mumbai is a tough city to love. What with all its ugly sprawl, incessant construction, and smoke choked skies it is hard to find beauty that goes beyond its hackneyed Bollywood glamorization. Yet, despite these abhorrent flaws Mumbai remained the perennial muse of one India’s most renowned architect and urbanist Charles Correa. Correa was certainly qualified enough to settle down anywhere in the world after graduating from prestigious institutions like St. Xaviers College in Mumbai, the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but chose to return to Mumbai, or Bombay as he would have known it, to set up his own practice in 1958. Ever since Correa has indulged in a love-hate relationship with the city, dubbing it as both “a great city and a terrible place.” But instead of grumbling about it, Correa devoted his vast expertise to improve the ground level urban conditions of the city. Therefore, despite the unrelenting pace of the city, Mumbai paused on June 16 to mourn the sudden loss of Charles Correa. charlae correa Correa’s death came to me in the form of a casual blip on my Facebook newsfeed, a nonchalant series of sentences that truncated his entire life and death into a trending topic. But the oeuvre of Charles Correa is anything but temporary; his work spans from iconic memorials like the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad, to low income housing projects in Peru, and academic buildings like the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT. The common thread knitting these diverse projects together is Correa’s trademark clarity in design that is born from a deep connection to the site. In an interview for NDTV’s The Unstoppable Indians in 2008 Correa explained that “architecture is rooted in the place in which it stands” and responds to both human and natural agents like climate, culture and lifestyle, making an intimate understanding of the site crucial to Correa’s design philosophy. Kanchanjunga Apartments Correa’s famous Kanchanjunga Apartments in Mumbai exemplify the architect’s commitment to tailor make each project to thrive in its environs. Kanchanjuga is a unique high-rise in a sea of soulless glass towers that form the Mumbai skyline. It’s a building I grew up next to, completely enthralled by its odd Jenga tower-esque form, but despite all my juvenile interpretations the building is a true success in marrying the modern skyscraper with the old world charm of Indian bungalows. The building is situated on a small hill and the elevated location allows each apartment to break free from the overbearing lattice of the city, moreover Kanchanjunga is deliberately turned at an angle that protects each apartment from the harsh Indian sun while still allowing enough light to percolate through every room. Correa’s trademark ‘spaces open to the skies’ manifest themselves as enormous two-storey high balconies in each apartment that capitalize the building’s proximity to the sea and the much needed cool sea breeze that ventilates the apartments. The high-ceiling balconies are reminiscent of the verandahs found in traditional Indian homes, creating a large space for congregation in a city apartment bereft of the usual claustrophobia. Where Correa could have easily constructed another glass building, perfectly temperature controlled by the various engineers, he exercised his imagination, innovated, and designed functional homes that continue to exist symbiotically with their surroundings. breez In an age where Ayn Rand popularized the notion of the arrogant, excessively intellectual and ‘misunderstood’ genius architect, Charles Correa endured as a rejection of these stereotypes. Correa’s restrained eloquence and refreshing humility shine through every interview the late architect gave, and also reflect the genuine vision of modernity Correa had for the country. His designs were never tacky facsimiles of Western modernity, nor exaggerated Indian motifs from antiquity, they were rooted into and motivated by the India he wished to design. Correa’s extensive plans for planning Navi Mumbai and the mid to low income houses there, unfortunately most of which remain un-built, remain a testimony of how the architect was in constant pursuit of bettering India. Now, Correa’s legacy lives on in the form of the Urban Design Institute in Mumbai and the myriad of his memorable projects all across the world.

When I return to Mumbai I will inevitably gaze into its skyline. And amongst the sights of all the monstrous towers mushrooming and the cynical thoughts of the city’s unsustainable growth I will finally find the Kanchanjunga and smile- in a forest full of glass buildings Correa’s innovative design still triumphs. Young aspiring architects like myself can turn to Correa’s projects, his living legacy, for inspiration and carry on where the beloved Charles Correa left off. Yet, it is undeniable, the city and the world are forever worse without him.

-Guest Post by Gauri Bahuguna

 

 

 

 

 

PRESS RELEASEImage

The Mayur-front of house

Image

Scholar’s Suite-Courtyard 1 (copyright Bea Jauregui)

Image

Scholar’s Suite-Living Room 1

Image

Scholar’s Suite-Bedroom 1 

Image

Scholar’s Suite-Kitchen/Dining 1

Image

Scholar’s Suite-Bathroom 1

Image

Scholar’s Suite-Original Shutter 1

Image

Scholar’s Suite-Sofa

Image

Image

Scholar’s Suite-Light fixtures
Image

Scholar’s Suite-Doorknob

Image

Scholar’s Suite-Courtyard 2 (copyright Bea Jauregui)

 

EXTRAS

Image

Scholar’s Suite-Original Grille

Image

Scholar’s Suite-Bed

Image

Scholar’s Suite-Original Shutter 2

Image

Scholar’s Suite-Dining Table

Image

Scholar’s Suite-Living Room 2

Image

Scholar’s Suite-Bedroom 2 

Image

Scholar’s Suite-Kitchen/Dining 2

Image

Scholar’s Suite-Bathroom 2

Image

The Mayur-Annexe

Image

Scholar’s Suite-Floor Plan

Image

Scholar’s Suite-Section through bedroom looking at boundary wall

Image

Scholar’s Suite-Front Elevation

Image

Scholar’s Suite-Room Elevations (Living Room)

Image

Scholar’s Suite-Room Elevations (Bedroom)

Image

Scholar’s Suite-Room Elevations (Kitchen/Dining)

Image

Scholar’s Suite-Room Elevations (Bathroom)

Image

Scholar’s Suite-Axonometric-Furniture (Bed)

Image

Scholar’s Suite-Axonometric-Furniture (Sofa)

Image

Scholar’s Suite-Axonometric-Furniture (Dining Table)

Image

Scholar’s Suite-inaugural party

Image

Scholar’s Suite-inaugural party-blackboard comments

Image

Scholar’s Suite-workers-Contractor

Image

Scholar’s Suite-workers-Carpenter

Image

Scholar’s Suite-workers-Tiler + Painter

This is my final post in the series. It is really just a visual summary of the project.

Image

Plan of Suite and Courtyard

Image

Courtyard looking towards front facade (courtesy of Bea Jauregui)

Image

Courtyard looking towards boundary wall (courtesy of Bea Jauregui)

Image

Living Room looking towards entrance

Image

Living room looking towards boundary wall

Image

Bedroom looking towards wall shared with Room 11

Image

Bedroom looking towards bathroom doors
Image
Bathroom looking towards rear exit
Image
Bathroom looking at wall shared with kitchen
IMG_0478
Kitchen/dining looking towards rear
Image
Kitchen Cabinetry

The design intent of the new suite in the annexe courtyard of The Mayur was to create an experience for travelers/scholars that would heighten the sense of ambiguity at the threshold between home and hotel; echoing the original house and acting as a symbolic portal into the local Avadh region and beyond. As is customary at The Mayur visitors to the suite are likely to engage with the original home and contribute to its story, while simultaneously gaining an introduction to the region, neighboring regions and/or country through the visual queues around them within the suite . Studies of local textiles, architecture, art, festivals and popular culture brought forth the following images which influenced the theory behind the project and fed the design of each space. The images directly below are of the Imambara, Indian miniature painting, chikankari work, Woodblock-printing, mirror work, Ghalib’s haveli, old Bollywood poster from the movie ‘Don’, a blackboard, TV noise and the Indian festival of Holi.

023-InspirationBoard

Each of the main rooms and courtyard aim to reflect an aspect of the house’s history through symbolic references and repurposed components, as well as an element of regional art and culture. The courtyard’s swing echoes the swing in the main house; a point of social gathering for inhabitants of the house including domestic staff who use the room to watch TV, the owning family who take their morning tea in the room and guests from the guesthouse who gather throughout the day. Within the same courtyard, the 16 pavers and horse’s head at the main entrance to the suite mimic the chessboard; said to have been invented in India and given great significance in Indian/Mughal miniature paintings.

023-Long

Courtyard; Section drawing (left), Photo of completed work (right)

The Mughal theme continues in the pastel-hued living room with its contemporary divan constructed from a repurposed window grille and shutter from the original derelict suite. The birds in the shelves are intended to recall the sensual pleasures of the vegetable garden that once existed adjacent to this suite.

023-Long2

Living Room; Photo of model (left), Photo of completed work (right)

The tiled portrait of the original owner in the bedroom is most clearly discernible from outside the window and appears to peer out at those in the courtyard. Hard and soft references to regional textiles including mirror work, chikankari and block printing inform the appearance of the bedroom.

023-Long3

Bedroom; Perspective view (left), Photo of completed work (right)

Blackboard paint on one wall of the kitchen/dining alludes to the many scholars who have stayed at The Mayur and is intended to allow future scholars to leave their trace by writing down their thoughts on the wall and rubbing them off, converting the wall into a sort of fixed palimpsest. Colours derived from old Bollywood posters are applied to the kitchen cabinetry and dining table-constructed out of sewing machine table legs and 2 repurposed window shutters.

023-Long4

Kitchen/Dining; Axonometric view (left), Photo of completed work (right)

The bathroom took on extreme colour seen in so many aspects of Indian life. The composition is a translation of an actual image of ‘TV noise’ into a specific pattern.

023-Long5

Bathroom; Detail Room Elevation (left), Photo of completed work (right)

It is always interesting to me to retrospectively compare sketches, drawings and models (on the left above) to the final product (on the right above). Of course another important comparison is the old ‘before-after’ coming up in my next post.

My latest architectural project is now complete and Part 1 of this series is to serve as an introduction to its history, context and concept. The newly refurbished 1-bedroom suite within the annexe courtyard of The Mayur in Lucknow, India could be seen as a 3-dimensional pictorial interpretation of Indian miniature paintings using as its representational tools a variety of surfaces that trace the history of the house and the region.

Image

Noblewomen playing chess, ca. 1780-1800. Attributed to Nevasi Lal

The 20+ bedroom house, constructed in 1936 fusing together art deco and regional motifs, was originally intended to be an extended family home. Changes to the extended family structure resulted in the house later becoming more viable as a guesthouse. The guesthouse has come to be known as a place for scholars and the like, visiting Lucknow to carry out research.

Image

Front of the 1930s house

The new suite reflects on the history of the house through devices such as portraiture of its original owner as well as drawing on regional art and culture.

Image

Original owner: Brij Chand Sharma

The project works its way from the courtyard all the way into the interiors; fitted out with textiles such as chikankari and block-printed fabric and combined with colour schemes inspired by the Imambara (a Lucknowi monument) and old Bollywood posters.

Image

Inside the Imambara

Image

Old Bollywood poster

Constantly in transition, the property could see a future conversion into a boutique hotel or similar. The owners’ desire to reinvent and renew has resulted in this first foray into the refurbishment of one of its suites.

Image

Image

Scholar’s Suite; Courtyard

Part 2 will go into more detail about the finished project.