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 High
rise housing India
. Charles Correa, born in 1 September 1930 , is one of the most iconic figures
of the Indian modernist movement. He explored the possibilities of
sustainability in modern buildings in India. His education was European and
highly influenced the outcome of his design. Simultaneously his love for his country
brought traditional features to blend with the European modern movement which
he studied during university. He got his masters in architecture studying at
MIT and after that he started his practice in India. He died in 2015 and during
his 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 India
peaked at 1 billion with the population grow rate reaching 31.2 % 27.8 per cent
of the population inhabited the cities. This grow rate has being rising since
the beginning of the 20th century with the total population of Mumbai rising
dramatically from 1900 to 1930 from 927956 inhabitants to 1380448 . Of course
this rise of population created a dramatic change in the density of population,
especially in urban locations, with a new demand of high rise buildings..

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Correa was born in the thirties only
fifteen years after the end of the First World War, which was also the period
of the rise of the modern movement. In 1952, after the world war 2 and right
before Charles Correa completed his studies, le Corbusier addressed a new
understanding of housing in modern society by designing the Unite habitation in
Marseille which would highly influence Correa when he was asked to create a modern
high-rise apartment block in the centre of Mumbai.

 

Mumbai had a lot in common with New York
city such as its expanding growth rate and a highly diverse population leading
to the rise of urban architecture and the rise of demand of land. The big game
changer for designing a successful building in India would be its climate with
see breezes and monsoons appearing normally in its climate. It is that what
Correa investigated and tried to tackle or better cooperate with to create the
modern high rise building in India. The paragon of his work and specifically of
high rise building is the Kanchenjunga apartments

Kanchenjunga is the third highest mountain in the world rising to 8.586 meters
situated at the eastern side of the Himalayas. But what does a mountain has to
do with an apartment block? Kanchenjunga apartments stand up 81 meters high
dominating the skyline of Mumbai with a 21 metre square footprint standing like
a mountain. The apartments and the building standing high above the Indian sea
level
would have to tackle and prosper with the same natural forces. Christian Nober Shulz
said ”place represents that part of truth that belongs to architecture” that
is what Charles Chorea used as a starting point in designing this building
choosing a mountains name utilizing it as a metaphor as both a building and a
mountain not move but stand there for eternity, that’s why nature should be
understand and investigated if the building is to last for ever .  

Kanchenjunga apartments are located in Bombay India more specifically south
west of the city centre( in an upscale urban neighbourhood. It includes all the
character of the Indian high class society of Mumbai blending a modern approach
with Indian tradition and knowledge .It is consisted of 32 luxury apartments
varying in four typologies which include from 3 to 6 bedrooms. The main
inspiration for this project is the traditional Indian bungalow,which is the
most simple paradigm of an Indian house .Bungalows used the verandas as
defensible living spaces and Correa believed that these defensible zones whas
one of the great creation of the colonial days. Correa created a modern interpretation
placing a protective zone of verandas wrapping them around the main living zone
of each flat typology mimicking and multiplying the traditional way of handling
nature. Orientation was vital for the success of the design openings are placed
west to east capturing the sea breezes and creating natural ventilation for
each flat. Heavy rain, monsoons and hot sun were also challenges that are faced
while designing in India , Kanchenjunga apartments tackled these challenges by
creating a change of level of the verandas creating a microclimate at the
centre of the structure where the living spaces are located. This change of
level also maximises privacy for the occupants . Correa’s commented on housing
in India mentioning ”to cross a dessert and enter a house around a courtyard
is 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” and
that could sum the direction of his virtue. He applied these features in every
flat typology blending them with an innovative design which let them being
stack upon one another, like a Lego tower,  creating a tower block which offers it’s
residence private courtyards natural ventilation and the best views of Mumbai’s
skyline.

This tower block is constructed of a
reinforced concrete central core of an elevator and stairs which provides
lateral stability to the rest of the structure. It was the first time in India
that the slip method was utilized in a multi-storey building which means that
the central core was initially build and the rest of the structure was tied on
this core afterwards. The verandas and terraces cantilevered 6.3 meters
allowing comfortable external spaces not commonly seen in a skyscraper. The
concrete core
stands in the middle of the structure with only two apartments placed in every
floor. Each apartment

The choice of smooth concrete for façade material, gave the building a severe
appearance, the pale yellow finish is what makes it outstand its context,
material wise, as most of the context buildings are performed in white. When it
was finished it was also outstanding through height as photos from the early
80;s do not show any other buildings evading the skyline of Bombay . The
creation of this building symbolizes the beginning of modernity in India .Today
we see a lot of high rise buildings standing next to it, occupying  Bombays skyline . Indian modernity is and
should be a different thing than what western modernity is ,symbolizing the
fact that western civilisation is not better but different and that is how
architecture should be treated. Of course the virtues of the western life style
where understood and used by Charles Correa while designing but always with the
understanding of the place that he was building and how this place would interact
with the building. Charles Correa commented on the fact that hippies started inhabiting
india in the 70’s saying that they are sending a signal that they are coming to
where you are going and that is how he treated architecture. He did understand
the lifestyle of the west but did not envy it, he tried to gain knowledge from
it but not for copying it but for embracing the  

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