Kala Academy, Goa’s cultural centre, which was designed by the renowned architect Charles Correa in the late 1970s, is threatened with demolition by the State Government in the next few weeks. It is an exceedingly important building, not just among Correa’s international repertoire, but also in the State of Goa.
Vivek Menezes in his article titled ‘Trashing the magic of Charles Correa’ says that the Kala Academy is “... the only government-run arts institution in the country with separate faculties for both Western and Indian classical music, and also offers courses in theatre and dance. Few venues in India host such diverse programming ...”
This diversity is not restricted in use, as Alexandre Moniz Barbosa says in his editorial ‘Hold it, re-think the demolition of that pièce de résistance’. The Kala Academy also has a great diversity in its users. It is a rare example of an equitable public building in India. It has been host to Konkani tiatrs, drama, film screenings and music competitions across all genres and languages; there are exhibitions and book fairs in the foyer and the art gallery. We hold Z-Axis, our biennial conference on architecture here. It’s really a much-used venue for a diverse set of programs.
And it is truly accessible — a number of citizens come to visit daily. As Himanshu Burte says, the building is “... a remarkable lesson about how a public building can actually focus on being a shelter for unprogrammed gathering and exploration, rather than on making a statement of self-importance.”
Poet Ranjit Hoskote says part of the magic of Kala Academy is that “the street is internalized by the building, which opens itself to the sky, vegetation and the river ... the interplay of sight-line and screen, the open-to-sky spaces, the gradients linking various levels in a gentle terracing—all the classic features of Correa’s architecture are present. And let us not forget the laterite that forms its key medium—it articulates the flesh and blood of Goa’s architecture, it comes from the soil of Goa, from the soul of Goa."
Please support this petition to save the Kala Academy. The building has been leaking but we are sure it can be repaired — the problem isn't insurmountable, and we don't quite understand the need to tear it down! We request the Government to heed the advice of the Charles Correa Foundation and appoint an experienced consultant to undertake the repairs to the structure so that the building can be used again.