Sunday, April 18, 2021

Case Studies

Well Built Unbuilding – Kala Academy by Charles Correa

Kala Academy by Charles Correa

A building built in the concept of unbuilding. That merges with the habitual activities of the people living in the society. A building to express the arts that exhibits the culture and heritage of the society which itself is an art. The art – Kala Academy, Goa. The artist – Charles Correa. The Kala Academy is a cultural center built by the Kala Academy Society funded with the help of the Government of Goa. The Kala Academy Society is a non-profit organization that was established by the government of Goa that helps to promote local and international art forms.

Kala Academy Case study

  • Architect: Charles Correa
  • Funded by: Ministry of Art & Culture of the Government of Goa
  • Started at: 1970
  • Completed at: 1983
  • Location: Campal, Panaji
  • Site Area: 6.3 Acres

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The first chief minister of Goa had a dream of forming a society for arts in the state of Goa. Thus, Goa Government forms the Kala Academy. The society first decided to accommodate an existing built entity. But later Rane who has known Charles Correa for a long time approached him. Thus, the art in the name of Kala Academy happened. The building is described as an apex body to develop music, dance, drama, fine art, folk art, literature, etc., and thereby promote the cultural unit of the state of Goa.

Above all, the site located along the banks of the river Mandovi in the city of Campal, Panaji. This place is a mixed-use land with a military hospital, cricket ground, and a park around them. Being located in a beautiful riverfront view which habitat the fishermen to catch fish. Also to relax themselves no wonder the site made Charles Correa excite. Subsequently, he designed it in such a way as to avoid any discomfort for the people living in that habitat.


The planning provides the space for exhibition halls auditorium, open-air theatre, lounges, cafeteria, meeting rooms, teaching rooms, black box, rehearsal rooms, and the admin block.

The main building, service building, muktangan, parking area, and exhibition space are divisions of the site. While the ground floor being used for the public, the first floor carries the academic and administrative activities. With four entries the building had a well-defined pedestrian which never fails to surprise the people walking in the site. The small gates in the entrances and the beautiful open space on one side with a lawn made the place even more public. The façade of the building which reminds us of the Villa of Savoye had a beautiful pergola that plays with the light and shadow especially during the day. The entrances are open even at midnight so that the people can come here at any time to enjoy the environment.

Well Built Unbuilding - Kala Academy by Charles Correa
Kala Academy by Charles Correa


More than just designing the spaces he just orchestrated it. That is how it shoud be told. The connection to the indoor spaces with the outdoor spaces just makes the people have a different experience. The poet Ranjit Hoskote once told about the building that “Let us not forget the laterite that forms its key medium – it articulates the flesh and blood of Goa’s architecture, it comes from the soi of Goa, from the soul of Goa.” There is no doubt that he told us the truth.

Well Built Unbuilding - Kala Academy by Charles Correa
Panning of Kala Academy by Charles Correa

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As the main theme of the building is to exhibit the arts belonging to the people of Goa. The main entrance directs us to the spacious plaza which itself is an art. As a result, the murals on the walls of the plaza which gets mixed with the natural lighting confuses the people as if they were in a street or some other place. The confusingly interesting pattern continues even through the staircase leading to the first floor.

Well Built Unbuilding - Kala Academy by Charles Correa
Plaza of Kala Academy by Charles Correa
Well Built Unbuilding - Kala Academy by Charles Correa
Staircase at Kala Academy by Charles Correa


The art gallery is the place to exhibit the art made by the people of Goa. The wall that carries those arts runs throughout the area for 30m with a height of 1.5m. All the four sides are used to exhibit the arts. Spotlighting is used in the gallery with low intensity but pointing all over the wall.

Well Built Unbuilding - Kala Academy by Charles Correa
Art Gallery at Kala Academy by Charles Correa
Well Built Unbuilding - Kala Academy by Charles Correa
Art Gallery at Kala Academy by Charles Correa

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            The auditorium was named after the great Goa-born singer Dinanath Mangeshkar. The murals of the plaza also continue to the auditorium creating an illusion of balconies. Where the people sit and enjoy the shows resembling old Goan theatres. Charles Correa approached Maria Miranda who is a great cartoonist to draw the murals of the auditorium which required acoustic extrusions in the drawings. The auditorium has a seating capacity of 1000 seats with a stage opening of 9.6m covering an overall area of 1300sq.m. The height of each raking rises to 10-20cm.

Well Built Unbuilding - Kala Academy by Charles Correa
Auditorium at Art Gallery at Kala Academy
Interior view of Auditorium at Art Gallery at Kala Academy


            The open-air theatre is happened to be in the east side of the site where the stage has a ceiling that is extended from the first floor of the building. With a seating capacity of 2000 (without a chair) the main open-air theatre it forms the shape of a double herringbone. It connects to the east road on one side and the main lobby and the cafeteria on the other two sides. The lower seat rises for 30cm with a tread width of 100cm while the higher seat rises up to 45cm. When the seats block the noise from the road, the stage blocks the noise from the river front.

Open air theatre in Kala Academy
Well Built Unbuilding – Kala Academy by Charles Correa


The mini open-air theatre stays on the north side of the building which can accommodate 300 people. With the farthest height of 6m, the open-air theatre is square in shape and covers an area of 56.25 sq.m.

Mini open-air theatre


With other spaces like the black box, preview theatre, library, cafeteria, teaching studio, and the administration offices the Kala Academy has become the first preference for the people to conduct any International Film Festivals in Goa.

Kala Academy Studio


Another important feature is the jetty at the backside in the riverfront connecting the river to the academy. With a beautiful view just like in the movies, the jetty was the entry for the celebrities visiting the International Film Festival. After creating beautiful sceneries and being a favorite love spot for the people visiting the great Kala Academy the function of the jetty came to an end recently due to corrosion.

Riverfront – Kala Academy by Charles Correa

Being a part of the culture and art of Goa and being art itself, the government decided to break down a part of the structure which is the open-air theatre. After many reviews and reconsiderations, they agreed not to be demolished and also agreed to repair it. This is a building where the habituate of the people overpowers the design instead of vice versa. Hence, By creating wonderful memories and promoting cultural significance the building always stands unique.


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