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Louis Kahn-Designed Dorms in India May Be Razed


A world-class architectural-preservation controversy is brewing in #India, where the administration at the #Indian #Institute of #Management in #Ahmedabad had announced plans to raze 14 of 18 student dormitory buildings designed by the architect #Louis #Kahn and built in the 1960s and 1970s.

#After a local and international outcry, an online meeting to begin seeking new bids for the demolition was canceled.

#Kahn, one of the most important #American architects in history, is best known for masterworks like the #Salk #Institute in #La #Jolla, #Calif., and the #Kimbell #Art #Museum in #Fort #Worth, as well as the #Philips #Exeter #Academy #Library in #Exeter, N.H., and the #First #Unitarian #Church of #Rochester, N.Y. (#He also famously had three families, talked to bricks and died on the men’s room floor in #Penn #Station.)

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The exposed red-brick student dormitories in #Ahmedabad are integral to the institute’s holistic campus design and are considered among the architect’s finest works — with repetition, geometry and the manipulation of light and shadow. They exemplify #Kahn’s ability to design buildings in “response to the cultures, climates and traditions of their respective places,” said the historian #William J.R. #Curtis, who has written op-eds for #Architectural #Record and The #Architectural #Review in support of the dorms’ preservation.

#In a statement, the #World #Monuments #Fund called on the institute’s administration to reconsider, citing the project’s influence on the “modern development of #Indian higher education,” and the environmentally sensitive design that continues to be an example of how to build for a local climate. “Conceived as an ensemble, the #Kahn campus must be preserved in its entirety to protect the aesthetic, functional and symbolic values imbued within,” the statement said.

#Supporters of the dorms include the #Council of #Architecture, #India, as well as architects and academics including the #Pritzker #Architecture #Prize laureates #Rafael #Moneo, #Alejandro #Aravena and #Balkrishna #Doshi (the architect who brought #Kahn to #India in the early 1960s), who have posted an open letter. A #Change.org petition had over 12,000 signatures on #Thursday afternoon.

The management institute’s director, #Errol D’#Souza, defended the demolition plans in a letter to alumni, calling the structures “unlivable” because of issues including “concrete and slabs falling from the roofs”; brick deterioration causing cracking and water seepage; and structural issues resulting from a 2001 earthquake.

The school had previously commissioned an extensive restoration project for the buildings, but reversed course with a plan to build anew.



[ source link ]
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/31/arts/design/louis-kahn-buildings-raze.html

##Louis ##KahnDesigned ##Dorms ##India ##Razed

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