Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Charles Correa – Kanchanjunga Apartments, Cumballa Hill, Mumbai, 1970-1983

Charles Correa – Kanchanjunga Apartments, Cumballa Hill, Mumbai, 1970-1983

Correa’s penchant for sectional displacement accompanied where appropriate by changes in the floor surface, is at its most elaborate in the 28-story, Kanchanjunga apartments completed in Bombay. Here Correa pushed his capacity for ingenious cellular planning to the limit, as is evident from the interlock of the one and a half story, split-level, 3 and 4 bedroom units with the two and half  story 5 and 6 bedroom units. Smaller displacements of level were critical in this work in that they differentiated between the external earth filled terraces and the internal elevated living volumes. These subtle shifts enabled Correa to effectively shield these high rise units from the effect of the both the sun and monsoon rains. This was largely achieved by providing the tower with relatively deep, garden verandahs, suspended in the air. Clearly such an arrangement had its precedent in the cross-over units of Le Corbusier’s Unit habitation built at Marseilles in 1952, although here in Bombay the sectional provision was achieved without resorting to the extreme of differentiating between up and down-going units. Whole structure is made of reinforced concrete. The building is a 32-storeyed reinforced concrete structure with 6.3m cantilevered open terraces. The central core houses lifts and other services also provides the main structural element for resisting lateral loads. The central core was constructed ahead of the main structure by slip method of construction. This technique was used for the first time in India for a multi-storeyed building. With its concrete construction and large areas of white panels, bears a strong resemblance to modern apartment buildings in the West. However, the garden terraces of Kanchanjunga Apartments are actually a modern interpretation of a feature of the traditional Indian bungalow: the verandah.  In a bungalow, the verandah wraps the main living area.

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