‘Unlivable’: IIM-A to Demolish Dorms Designed by Louis Kahn

The buildings have been termed ‘unsafe due to dilapidation and structural deterioration.’

Published
India
2 min read
The Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad has decided to demolish 14 of its dormitories designed by American architect Louis Kahn in the 1960s.
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The Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad has decided to demolish 14 of its dormitories designed by American architect Louis Kahn in the 1960s.

The buildings have been termed ‘unsafe due to dilapidation and structural deterioration.’

The dormitories have suffered damage due to water seepage and the 2001 earthquake, reported PTI.

The restoration of the dorms was part of an ongoing project by a well-known Mumbai-based consultant.

IIM-A was one of the iconic buildings built by Louis Kahn in the 1960s.

Kahn’s Project

IIM-A was the brainchild of the industrialist and philanthropist Vikram Sarabhai. Young Doshi was offered the job but referred it to Kahn, whom he believed to be the next best after his own mentor, Le Corbusier.

Kahn’s project dates from the early 1960s and basically contains two sectors ingeniously locked together: the block and court containing the Vikram Sarabhai Library, Lecture Halls and Administration and the 18 dormitories.

‘Structurally Deteriorated’

In a 11-page letter on Wednesday to the alumni, IIM-A Director Errol D’Souza said the dorm buildings were unsafe for living now.

“For a few of the dorms, however, there will be a new history that we will strive to have in a relationship of continuity with the surrounding buildings of Kahn rather than otherwise,” read the letter.

D’Souza’s pointed out that slabs falling from the roofs of the dormitories could be dangerous for those living there, according to The Indian Express.

“As is well-known that concrete encasing was not used by Kahn to protect the embedded reinforcement bars in the brickwork and that has resulted in rusting of the bars and cracks in the brickwork. The bricks used were not the best in class and had an in-built efflorescence,” read the letter, reported PTI.

Several of the buildings like the library, the faculty wings, the classroom complex and the dorms, are being restored. To assess the longevity of the buildings, an independent structural consultant has been appointed.

What Does the Demolition Mean for the IIM-A?

Students of architecture and alumni members have expressed concern that bringing down the Kahn buildings means defeating all that restoration and conservation stand for, reported The Indian Express.

The institute director has argued that the building committee members have discussed questions such as, “why we should presume that the past is not changeable and why we should assume that future generations will value things in exactly the same way that past generations have. We wondered if it is appropriate for us to colonise future perceptions of living spaces. As we try to preserve the past to prevent loss how much are we creating our own imagination of the past,” quoted the media report.

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