Despite being a British lady, Irena Murray admires the work of Indian architect, Charles Correa.

Irena Murray, the former director at British Architectural Library, London, delivered a speech at The British Council on the work of Indian architect, Charles Correa. She shared that after meeting him in 2013 during an exhibition, she got so inspired by his work that she started researching on his architecture. By Arjita Mishra


Murray used to work at The Royal Institute of British Architects as the director of British Architectural Library. Considered to be one of the world’s leading experts in her field, she voluntarily took retirement so that she could concentrate and focus on her personal architectural research projects.

In 2014, Murray was among the nine champions of architecture for honorary fellowships by Portland Place. It is a prestigious accolade awarded to people who have made a contribution to the advancement of architecture, sustainable communities and the education of future generations.

Recently, at the British Council, she delivered a lecture on  the work of Charles Correa. “I particularly talked about the way by which he combines the traditional architecture with his love for the modern and contemporary architecture,” said Murray.

Charles Correa was one of the most renowned contemporary architectures in the world. With his extraordinary and inspiring designs, he played a pivotal role in the creation of architectures in India. All of his work — from the carefully detailed Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Museum at Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad to Kanchanjunga Apartment tower in Mumbai — has a special place in the architectural field.

She shared with us that during the exhibition, she had worked with Correa and even after that, she received an opportunity to work with him on a project for which she retired. “I hope that the project will help to build a bridge between the Indian and British architectures,” she said.

“Correa gifted certain papers, which are part of his drawings or works, to the Royal Institute of British Architects, with a hope that we will be able to preserve those papers that have been damaged,” she said.

Murray also added that she is happy that all of the papers of the architect has been preserved by the digital library which is at Correa’s office and at the Charles Correa Foundation, Goa. “It is more useable and it can be preserved for a longer period of time,” she said. Adding to this, Murray said, “I see this as a kind of an opportunity for both countries to preserve and restore those papers as they are incredible and are important for future reference.”

During the conversation she explained to us the difference between International and transitional architecture.“International architecture means the work which is done globally, apart from where you belong. Whereas transitional architecture means to share your experience of working in your country with another. And not only that but, also to gain an experience from other countries,” she elaborated.

Murray told us that Correa built both international and transitional architecture.