Completed in 1963, the Gandhi Memorial Museum was designed by Charles Correa and 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 Memorial Museum Technical Information
- Architects: Charles Correa
- Topics: Modular Architecture, Museums
- Location: Sabarmati Ashram, a suburb of Ahmedabad, India
- Project year: 1963
- Materials: Wooden doors, Stone Floors, Ceramic tile roofs, and brick columns
- Topics: Modular Architecture, Repetition
- Photographs: © 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 Gandhi1
Gandhi Memorial Museum Photographs
Gandhi Memorial Museum
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 by 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 a foot from the ground.
The museum’s monumental and archetypal structure 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 the 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 found in the repetition and manipulation of Hindu temples’ decorative elements. 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 with different functions surrounding a courtyard. The inhabitants walk back and forth across the outside space to use the different rooms.
Gandhi Memorial Museum Plans
Gandhi Memorial Museum Gallery
About Charles Correa
Charles Mark Correa was an Indian architect and urban planner. Credited for creating modern architecture in post-Independent India, he was celebrated for his sensitivity to the urban poor’s needs 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
Charles Correa by Kenneth Frampton