Charles Correa was an Indian architect, planner, activist, and theoretician who studied architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of Michigan. He taught and lectured at many universities, both in India and abroad, including MIT, Harvard University, the University of London, and Cambridge University, where he was Nehru Professor. Mr. Correa is known for the wide range of his architectural work in India and on urbanisation and low-cost shelter in the Third World, which he articulated in his 1985 publication, The New Landscape.
His architectural designs have been internationally acclaimed and he has received many awards including the Royal Institute of British Architects Gold Medal (1984), the Indian Institute of Architects Gold Medal (1987), the International Union of Architects Gold Medal (1990), and the Praemium Imperiale for Architecture from the Japan Art Association (1994). Professor Correa was a member of the 1980, 1983, 1986, and 2001 Aga Khan Award for Architecture Steering Committees, and of the 1989 Award Master Jury. He was presented an Aga Khan Award for Architecture during the 1998 cycle as the architect of Vidhan Bhavan in Bhopal, India.
Over the past decade Correa's impact on global architecture extended far beyond India with international projects such as the Champalimaud Centre in Lisbon, the Brain Science Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Ismaili Centre in Toronto.
Recipient of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1998.
Vidhan Bhavan, the new state assembly for the government of Madhya Pradesh, is located on a hill in the centre of Bhopal. Since the main access road is not axial but swings toward the site in an irregular pattern following the contours of the hill, the plan of the building and its interior gardens and courtyards was developed within an almost continuous circular exterior wall. This form established a visual unity and presence regardless of the direction from which one approaches it. The building's four main functions - a Lower House, Upper House, Combined Hall, and Library - require extensive administrative facilities, meeting rooms, suites for the political leaders, cafeterias, and common rooms. All of these diverse elements are linked by a series of gardens defined by two symmetrical architectural axes that intersect at the centre of the circle. These axes extend to the edges of the site and open into panoramic views of the surrounding city. Vidhan Bhavan is conceived as a "city within a city". The use of local red stone, handmade ceramic tiles, and painted surfaces refers to the architectural traditions of Madhya Pradesh: gateways, enclosures, courts, small domes, and other architectural details that develop a new imagery based on traditional forms. Large contemporary murals, sculpture, and paintings by local artists enliven the spaces. The jury commended the complex as "the creation of an ensemble that provides a wide range of spatial experiences as one moves through the complex".