“The Delhi Urban Arts Commission was a body that just gave out approvals before Correa took charge. He transformed it into a place that looked at Delhi in a new way. He inspired people around him to re-imagine the city,” said A.G.K. Menon, the convenor of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage’s (INTACH) Delhi chapter.
Correa worked towards giving Delhi inter-connected green spaces, among other things. It was under him that a model urban village was set up at Khirki and the Shahajanabad redevelopment plan was drawn up.
At a memorial held at the National Gallery of Modern Art here on Saturday, friends and colleagues remembered Correa and what made him one of the greatest Indian architects of his generation.
“Correa was able to become a modern architect, yet put as much meaning into the buildings as our historic structures have. He did modern architecture for the Indian context,” said Ratish Nanda, a conservation architect and project director at the Aga Khan Trust for Culture.
Correa worked towards making urban planning visionary by infusing aspects of culture into the buildings. From the cultural hub of Jawahar Kala Kendra in Jaipur to Delhi’s Tara Apartments, open spaces had an integral role to play in his buildings.
The story goes that Correa resigned from the DUAC top post when a controversial project came before it. A sunken road was supposed to connect East and Central Delhi, but would open out in the Nizamuddin area, near protected monuments like Humayun’s Tomb. The project was later scrapped.