This Gandhi memorial museum designed by Charles Correa is located in the Ashram where the Mahatma lived from 1917 to 1930. Housing his books, letters and photographs, this modest and humanly scaled memorial uses brick piers, stone floors and tiled roofs to find a contemporary expression for the spirit of swadeshi.
Sabarmati Ashram Museum technical information
- Architects : Charles Correa
- Typology : Cultural Architecture / Museum, Residence
- Location : Sabarmati Ashram, suburb of Ahmedabad, India
- Project year : 1963
- Materials : Wooden doors, stone floors, ceramic tile roofs, and brick columns
- Images: © Archives of Charles Correa
This is the right place for our activities to carry on the search for Truth and develop Fearlessness. On one side are the iron bolts of the foreigners and on the other, thunderbolts of mother nature.
– Mahatma Gandhi
Memorial Museum Photographs
Gandhi Memorial Museum description
The commission was Charles Correa’s first important work in private practice. In order to reflect the simplicity of Gandhi’s life and the incremental nature of a living institution the architect used modular units 6 metres x 6 metres of reinforced cement concrete connecting spaces, both open and covered, allowing for eventual expansion. Correa’s subtle changes of the enclosure allow for variety in the module’s lighting, temperature, and visual permeability.
The museum uses a simple but delicately detailed post and beam structure. Load bearing brick columns support concrete channels, which also support the wooden roof. The foundation is made of concrete and is raised about a foot from the ground.
The monumental and archetypal structure of the museum recalls the well-known work of Louis Kahn, who began two projects in the region shortly after Correa’s museum was built.
Being a Gujarati, I thought I should be able to render the greatest services to the country through the Gujarati language. And then as Ahmedabad was an ancient centre of hand loom weaving, it was likely to be most favourable field for the revival of the cottage industry of hand spinning. There was also a hope that, the city being capital of Gujarat, monetary help from its wealthy citizens would be more available than any other place.
– Gandhi explanation for choosing Ahmedabad as is hub of activities.
The Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya project provided an example of how to combine the Hindu Architectural and cosmological idea of isotropy with Modernist functional planning. The concept of isotropy (similar to fractals) refers to an infinitely scaleable structure that is found in the repitition and manipulation of the decorative elements in Hindu temples. In the Smarak Sangrahalaya, the modular pavilion unit was designed to facilitate a future extension and to emphasize the idea of a single element making a whole.
Correa placed five distinctly programmed interior spaces within the asymmetrical grid plan. The plan of the museum has also been compared to village houses in India’s Banni region. Instead of a single volume, the houses consist of five huts each with a different function, which surround to make a courtyard. The inhabitants walk back and forth across the outside space to use the different rooms.
Memorial Museum Plans