By Savitha Hira
Info: Courtesy IIM-A-RFP; S& KC
Photography: Courtesy India Art & Architecture FB Page
Mumbai’s Somaya & Kalappa Consultants’ win the competition for Conservation Architects for the conservation of the 20th century Louis Kahn’ IIM-A.
The air at India’s premier Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A), feels intellectual. It is a beautiful building reminiscent of 20th century architecture in the distinctive Louis Kahn style.
Completed in 1963 by chief architect, Louis Kahn, the majestic building in exposed bricks is known for its institutional and residential complexes, open courtyards, imposing flights of steps, hexagonal classrooms, high windows, and acclimatized layout among several other features.
The architectural vocabulary of the Louis Kahn Campus Complex is exposed brick work with exposed concrete being used for slabs, lintels, and beams. The grandeur of the Louis Kahn Complex comes from its massive brick arches and extensive brick facades. The structural strength and stability of the buildings can be gauged from the fact that no major structural damage occurred to these buildings during 2001 Gujarat earthquake.
However, IIMA is now challenged by the need to protect and enhance this campus complex, since it has been seriously affected by age and the elements. There are problems arising from the original specification, quality of workmanship, deferred maintenance, and age. The local brick selected by Kahn is very porous, mortars are harder than bricks, and reinforcement has been laid without adequate cover. The vertical and horizontal mild steel reinforcements in the brick walls and brick arches have corroded and have caused cracks which are creating structural problems. This has been exacerbated by seepage from defective water services and drainage, together with the failure of rainwater pipes (many buried in chases within the walls) and blocked roof outlets. Rising dampness is present in many areas. The defects have resulted in extensive efflorescence, loss of the face of bricks, and corrosion of MS electrical conduits (also buried within the brickwork).
IIM-A has after all these years finally decided to conserve and restore its magnificent annals by appointing Mr. Stephen Gee of Peter Inskip + Peter Jenkins Architects, UK and Mrs. Brinda Somaya of Somaya & Kalappa Consultants, Mumbai as the Conservation Consultants and Conservation Architects respectively.
The proposed exercise, which may take up to 5 years plus, and is estimated at a cost of approx.15 cr. per annum, will take into consideration the conservation, restoration and repair management of the following Louis Kahn Buildings: Faculty Block, Library, Classroom Complex and Dormitories’.
|Ar. Brinda Somaya|
Ar. Brinda Somaya believes that with this project the IIM-A and its Director Dr. Ashish Nanda have led the way in bringing to the forefront the importance of conserving and protecting the rich legacy of 20th century buildings that exist in India today.