Thursday, January 5, 2012


The Kala Academy in Panaji is Goa’s premier cultural institution & center for performing arts. The programme called for the creation of spaces for several performance halls, exhibitions galleries, a large auditorium, amphitheatre, an art gallery, informal public gathering spaces & lounges, in addition to the administrative block. The spatial organisation is relatively horizontal, organised around an orthogonal grid with an interesting play of volumes. The grid allows Correa the flexibility to manipulate spaces to create a very rich sensory experience, while at the same time, meeting the functional requirements of the programme. Thus, the entrance is through a double height space with an open floor plan in the ground floor drawing one inside. One moves through a very interesting series of spaces, a deliberate internal street derived undoubtedly from the nostalgic past of Goa.

Correa has successfully managed to integrate an elaborate internal street like passage into a relatively formal scheme of a performing arts venue and achieve a delicate balance between inside & outside. One is never really away from the greenery outside, from the cool breeze coming in over the Mandovi river, from the sun, from light & shadow. Correa masterfully unites all these elements to draw one through the space, the circulatory pathway being one of his special focuses. People are made to walk through, made to pause, made to walk faster – all through the careful manipulation of vistas, volumes, frames, colours, light & dark. Strategically placed platforms & seats allow people to relax and converse & while time away enjoyably till the start of the function, acting out a social function which is getting rarer by the day.

There are walls which have been given depth & life through realistic perspectives  of arcaded streets, of projecting balconies, of staircases, of windows, of doorways – the walls themselves forming a huge canvas, where the visitor feels as if part of an elaborate set, a walk through time into an old world street. Here, the boundary between reality & illusion blurs in a happy way to transport the visitor to a different experience, one created by the combined collaborative genius’ of Correa & the Goan artist Mario Miranda

The exterior of the building is of laterite, creating a beautiful texture which is further accentuated in the sun. One gets subconscious images of the weathered lateritic walls of the great forts of Goa. This, when contrasted with the smoothness of the concrete beams & pergolas, creates an interesting interplay.

How does one define critical regionalism? Is it a blind imitation of the vernacular & the traditional? Or is it an interpretation of design always keeping the essence of the traditional alive, while exploring & addressing present day concerns in a contemporary manner? That is what sets Charles Correa apart from the rest. His is an architecture where the indoor & outdoor spaces merge into one another, an architecture of horizontal planes, of courtyards, of verandahs, of platforms, all relating to the site and context...His Kala academy is his interpretation of a contemporary identity of Goa & its culture.


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  1. nice photos..even the play of light in structure is interesting as well the perspectives...

  2. Priyanka BhattacharyaMarch 5, 2013 at 3:49 PM

    u r awesome..its a nice and potential collection. ur effort is very much appreciable....stay well.bye

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  6. Very nice pictures, together with a good text. I visited this center in Nov/1990 and still have the memory of one staircase going to nowhere... Do you know the date of construction of this building?

  7. I saw here it was built in 1969 and here ( that it was built in 1985

  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.