Page N2.1 . 18 October 2000                     
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    High-rise Housing in India

    by Charles Correa

    For over 40 years, architect Charles Correa has been designing public housing and other major buildings for cities in his native India.

    In this developing country where the urban population is growing twice as fast as the rural, the inventive, award-winning architect, planner, activist, and theoretician has adapted the language of modern architecture to create low-tech and low-cost yet humane habitats.

    Correa's latest book is a retrospective of this work. He describes his most significant projects in detail, from low-income, high-density housing to complete townships. His drawings demonstrate his architectural finesse and a compassion for the everyday lives of the people he designs for.

    Common themes in the design of Charles Correa are efficient use of precious space, careful attention to natural ventilation, and comfortable accommodation to crowded life styles. In the Maharashtra Housing project designed last year, Correa demonstrated how very low-income residents can be humanely accommodated even at high densities, in eight-story apartment buildings.

    Maharashtra Housing, 1999

    This design was a response to a request from the Maharashtra Housing Development Board to develop high-density housing in the heart of Bombay, as transit camps for old buildings under repair.

    Since the accommodation is only transitory, the area per family is very small—exactly 20.9 square meters (225 square feet) was specified, and this must provide a room, a cooking area, and a bathroom.

    This article is excerpted from a new book, Housing and Urbanisation, copyright 1999 by Charles Correa, with permission of the publisher, Thames & Hudson.

     

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    ArchWeek Photo

    View of buildings, showing social and circulation spaces.
    Image: Charles Correa

    ArchWeek Photo

    The area per family is very small but must provide a room, cooking area, and bathroom.
    Image: Charles Correa

     

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