Highrise housing India. Charles Correa, born in 1 September 1930 , is one of the most iconic figuresof the Indian modernist movement.
He explored the possibilities ofsustainability in modern buildings in India. His education was European andhighly influenced the outcome of his design. Simultaneously his love for his countrybrought traditional features to blend with the European modern movement whichhe studied during university. He got his masters in architecture studying atMIT and after that he started his practice in India. He died in 2015 and duringhis long career he designed any kind of building such as institutional,offices, museums, housing for the rich and housing for the poor.In 2001 the total population of Indiapeaked at 1 billion with the population grow rate reaching 31.2 % 27.8 per centof the population inhabited the cities.
This grow rate has being rising sincethe beginning of the 20th century with the total population of Mumbai risingdramatically from 1900 to 1930 from 927956 inhabitants to 1380448 . Of coursethis rise of population created a dramatic change in the density of population,especially in urban locations, with a new demand of high rise buildings.. Correa was born in the thirties onlyfifteen years after the end of the First World War, which was also the periodof the rise of the modern movement. In 1952, after the world war 2 and rightbefore Charles Correa completed his studies, le Corbusier addressed a newunderstanding of housing in modern society by designing the Unite habitation inMarseille which would highly influence Correa when he was asked to create a modernhigh-rise apartment block in the centre of Mumbai. Mumbai had a lot in common with New Yorkcity such as its expanding growth rate and a highly diverse population leadingto the rise of urban architecture and the rise of demand of land. The big gamechanger for designing a successful building in India would be its climate withsee breezes and monsoons appearing normally in its climate. It is that whatCorrea investigated and tried to tackle or better cooperate with to create themodern high rise building in India.
The paragon of his work and specifically ofhigh rise building is the Kanchenjunga apartmentsKanchenjunga is the third highest mountain in the world rising to 8.586 meterssituated at the eastern side of the Himalayas. But what does a mountain has todo with an apartment block? Kanchenjunga apartments stand up 81 meters highdominating the skyline of Mumbai with a 21 metre square footprint standing likea mountain. The apartments and the building standing high above the Indian sealevelwould have to tackle and prosper with the same natural forces. Christian Nober Shulzsaid ”place represents that part of truth that belongs to architecture” thatis what Charles Chorea used as a starting point in designing this buildingchoosing a mountains name utilizing it as a metaphor as both a building and amountain not move but stand there for eternity, that’s why nature should beunderstand and investigated if the building is to last for ever .
Kanchenjunga apartments are located in Bombay India more specifically southwest of the city centre( in an upscale urban neighbourhood. It includes all thecharacter of the Indian high class society of Mumbai blending a modern approachwith Indian tradition and knowledge .It is consisted of 32 luxury apartmentsvarying in four typologies which include from 3 to 6 bedrooms. The maininspiration for this project is the traditional Indian bungalow,which is themost simple paradigm of an Indian house .Bungalows used the verandas asdefensible living spaces and Correa believed that these defensible zones whasone of the great creation of the colonial days. Correa created a modern interpretationplacing a protective zone of verandas wrapping them around the main living zoneof each flat typology mimicking and multiplying the traditional way of handlingnature.
Orientation was vital for the success of the design openings are placedwest to east capturing the sea breezes and creating natural ventilation foreach flat. Heavy rain, monsoons and hot sun were also challenges that are facedwhile designing in India , Kanchenjunga apartments tackled these challenges bycreating a change of level of the verandas creating a microclimate at thecentre of the structure where the living spaces are located. This change oflevel also maximises privacy for the occupants . Correa’s commented on housingin India mentioning ”to cross a dessert and enter a house around a courtyardis a pleasure beyond mere photogenic image-making, it is the quality of light,and the ambience of moving air that forms the essence of our experience” andthat could sum the direction of his virtue.
He applied these features in everyflat typology blending them with an innovative design which let them beingstack upon one another, like a Lego tower, creating a tower block which offers it’sresidence private courtyards natural ventilation and the best views of Mumbai’sskyline. This tower block is constructed of areinforced concrete central core of an elevator and stairs which provideslateral stability to the rest of the structure. It was the first time in Indiathat the slip method was utilized in a multi-storey building which means thatthe central core was initially build and the rest of the structure was tied onthis core afterwards. The verandas and terraces cantilevered 6.3 metersallowing comfortable external spaces not commonly seen in a skyscraper. Theconcrete corestands in the middle of the structure with only two apartments placed in everyfloor. Each apartment The choice of smooth concrete for façade material, gave the building a severeappearance, the pale yellow finish is what makes it outstand its context,material wise, as most of the context buildings are performed in white.
When itwas finished it was also outstanding through height as photos from the early80;s do not show any other buildings evading the skyline of Bombay . Thecreation of this building symbolizes the beginning of modernity in India .Todaywe see a lot of high rise buildings standing next to it, occupying Bombays skyline . Indian modernity is andshould be a different thing than what western modernity is ,symbolizing thefact that western civilisation is not better but different and that is howarchitecture should be treated. Of course the virtues of the western life stylewhere understood and used by Charles Correa while designing but always with theunderstanding of the place that he was building and how this place would interactwith the building. Charles Correa commented on the fact that hippies started inhabitingindia in the 70’s saying that they are sending a signal that they are coming towhere you are going and that is how he treated architecture.
He did understandthe lifestyle of the west but did not envy it, he tried to gain knowledge fromit but not for copying it but for embracing the