IIM Ahmedabad: With the architect and conservation experts advocating for greater transparency and engagement from the management of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and decision-makers, international experts Friday also offered their services and expertise to preserve the Louis Kahn buildings on campus. In November 2022, the Board of Governors of IIMA ( Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad or IIM A) had announced their decision to demolish and reconstruct Louis Kahn buildings.
READ: IIM A inaugurates JSW School of Public Policy’s new building at campus
The experts were voicing their opinions at the second day of a two-day webinar on “Future for the Modern Past: Heritage-led Development for IIM Ahmedabad”, organised by the National Scientific Committee of 20 C (NSC-20C), ICOMOS India with partnering institute Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute for Architecture & Environmental Studies (KRVIA), Mumbai, in collaboration with the Emerging Professionals Working Group (EPWG), ICOMOS India.
Calling for a “heritage audit” that documents the “tangible and intangible heritage”, Chandavarkar added that it should be the the “lodestar” guiding all consequent decisions and actions.
IIM Ahmedabad Placements 2023
“Acknowledge heritage as a public asset…Public assets require public processes with widest possible disclosure and consultation. This has been missing so far at IIMA and it should be realised that heritage in the way it publicly seeps into our cultural identity, is essentially a form of collective wisdom and must be managed on that basis,” Chandavarkar said.
Mallika Sarabhai, who reminisced about how she grew up seeing the IIMA planned and built with her father Dr Vikram Sarabhai sitting together with architect Louis Kahn, and where she later went on to study, rued that while there has been community engagement on the preservation of the buildings, the same has not been forthcoming so far from the administration.
“I think there’s lots of community engagement. What there isn’t, is, any kind of trust and transparency between the decision makers and those of us who wish to save it. Perhaps what we need to work on right now is, to let bygones be bygones…there’s a new director there, there’s a new vision…If we can go to the Moon and Mars, surely we can save buildings…because this is the heritage of humanity.”
Echoing Sarabhai’s sentiments, Dutch architect Wessel de Jonge, said, “It’s no longer proper to pull down buildings and build new buildings… We have CO2 emissions… It’s simply irresponsible to think like that… There is a lot of expertise in the Netherlands about brick and glueing bricks… so if there’s anything we can do, that’s also an option.”
IIM Ahmedabad Executive placement 2022. Median Salary up by 21%
American architect Susan Macdonald, who is part of the Getty Conservation Institute too offered her services and said, “The fact that the Getty’s invitation to IIM-A to apply for grant under Keeping it Modern conservation initiative was not taken up does provide a clue that it’s not really just about the money… We offered a few years ago to organise with IIMA and (organise) a highly expert meeting to examine and discuss technical challenges such as reinforced masonry etc… I offer again today to work with IIMA to bring together the world’s best technical minds, including India’s best, to understand the highly complex technical challenges.”
Meanwhile, Delhi-based conservation architect Navin Piplani who was formerly the principal director of INTACH Heritage Academy, alluded to the worst-case scenario where the buildings end up demolished and implored for documentation and archiving of the heritage value of these buildings before it is too late.
“Whatever is left and whatever is going to go, has to be preserved in some form for the future generations and the only possible solution is conservation documentation, analysis and getting to the evidence of how it was built, the archival records, how it was built…That is the second-best option, by keeping the memories, the records , the drawings and the vision and the rest of it,” Piplani said
“The demolition must be allowed only after undertaking of comprehensive documentation of all valuable and significant resources,” he added. Source