Interior Room of the Sabarmati Ashram Museum (Gandhi Residence) / Charles Correa

© Archives of Charles Correa

The 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.

Gandhi Sabarmati Ashram Museum Technical Information

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

Gandhi Memorial Museum Photographs

Courtyard inside the Sabarmati Ashram Museum (Gandhi Residence) / Charles Correa

© Archives of Charles Correa

Sabarmati Ashram Museum (Gandhi Residence) / Charles Correa

© Archives of Charles Correa

Exterior of the Sabarmati Ashram Museum (Gandhi Residence) / Charles Correa

© Archives of Charles Correa

Bench inside the Sabarmati Ashram Museum (Gandhi Residence) / Charles Correa

© Archives of Charles Correa

Gandhi Memorial Museum (and residence)

The commission was Charles Correa’s first important work in private practice. To reflect the simplicity of Gandhi’s life and the incremental nature of a living institution, the architect used modular units 6 meters x 6 meters of reinforced cement concrete connecting spaces, both open and covered, allowing for eventual expansion. Correa’s subtle changes in 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 repetition 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 component 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 surrounds to make a courtyard. The inhabitants walk back and forth across the outside space to use the different rooms.

Gandhi Memorial Museum Plans
Floor Plan of the Museum

Floor Plan | © Charles Correa

Section of the Sabarmati Ashram Museum (Gandhi Residence) / Charles Correa

Section and Site Plan | © Charles Correa

Gandhi Memorial Museum Gallery
About Charles Correa

Charles Mark Correa was an Indian architect and urban planner. Credited for the creation of modern architecture in post-Independent India, he was celebrated for his sensitivity to the needs of the urban poor and his use of traditional methods and materials. He designed almost 100 buildings in India, from low-income housing to luxury condos and cultural buildings such as the Jawahar Kala Kendra Arts Centre in Jaipur.
Other Works from Charles Correa