Is There a Gandhian Way of Making Architecture and Place? A Case of the Sabarmati Ashram

On the relevance of walks and quiet for the cultivation of wholesomeness. 

 

When he was well into his seventies and with forty years of building behind him, Laurie Baker came to the conclusion that Gandhi is “the only leader in our country who has talked consistently with common sense about the building needs of our country”.

Charles Correa was a young man of only 28 when he was dealt the task of integrating the values of a man of Gandhi’s stature within a built work – a museum housing documents from Gandhi’s life on the banks of the Sabarmati river. This was the place where Gandhi had set up his ashram, where the historic dandi march had begun. The MIT-returned Correa had just embarked on his architectural practice. In doing so, Correa extracted the underlying thread of simplicity running through Gandhi’s philosophy. Even Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru commented on the day of the inauguration that unlike many of the museums he had seen before this, “There is nothing pretentious here, [it] is a very simple and lovely thing.”

In this article on Creative Yatra, I attempt to scratch the surface on what all this may mean.

 

Image 1

From “Architecture Embodying a Conscience in an Unforgiving Urbanity”, Berkeley Prize

 

Cover photograph by Pranlal Patel

About the Author

Niharika Sanyal

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