Panaji's waterfront takes centre stage in India's urban planning universe next week, when the power-packed Z-Axis conference on 'Architecture and the City' is inaugurated at Kala Academy on March 20. Organized and directed by the Charles Correa Foundation (CCF), "Z-Axis intends to connect the fraternity of thinker-doers in the domains of architecture, urban design, planning, social projects and conservation to an audience of influencers, professionals and students of architecture, planning and design thus creating a consequential community of intellectuals who will invariably influence the future".
This new addition to Goa's burgeoning roster of blockbuster conclaves and festivals features an extraordinary lineup, capped by Pritzker Prize winner Rafael Moneo, the "architect's architect" cited by the Royal Institute of British Architects (when he won its Gold Medal in 2003) as "the closest embodiment we have of the idea of the renaissance architect—practitioner, teacher, theorist, critic, deeply knowledgeable on the arts. His work does not just delight the eye, but always provokes thinking".
Other notable speakers include Tanzania-born David Adjaye, who is collaborating with Okwui Enwezor to design the Venice Art Biennale, and Usman Haque, whose work "lies in the interface of experience, technology and behavioural science", as well as Caracas-based Alfredo Brillembourg of the cutting edge Urban-Think Tank (U-TT).
On March 22, Z-Axis's appropriately titled 'Climactic Session' on "challenges and opportunities in post-Independence India" brings together India's most celebrated master architects: Mahendra Raj, Balkrishna Doshi, Raj Rewal, and Goa's own Charles Correa.
CCF was created to "initiate and encourage architecture, urban design, and community projects in Goa". From its light-filled headquarters in the heart of Panaji's heritage district of Fontainhas, this visionary NGO "operates in a space between practice and academics. Through part-applied research and part-activism, it is catalysing action... in the realm of design, architecture, and urbanism".