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The 'Haveli' on Campus: Anant Raje and the Kasturbhai Lalbhai Management Development Centre
"The building is basically an enlarged house, like a haveli or a mahal. A central courtyard, flanked by two rows of rooms with a corridor that serves the rooms, connects on the front side with the classrooms, dining halls and lounge."
Raje developed the initial ideas for this block and discussed them with Louis Kahn--as he notes in Anant Raje, Architect, Selected Works 1971-2009, edited by Shubhra Raje and Amita Raje, Tulika Books, New Delhi, 2012 (AR-SW), "The early concepts were discussed with Kahn, but the later design and development were done by me" (p.31). As the Management Development Centre was nearing completion, Kasturbhai Lalbhai, who had played a key role in establishing and nurturing the institute passed away on January 20, 1980. The IIMA Board, in its meeting of April 8, 1980, decided to "rename the Management Development Centre at the Institute which is at present under construction, in memory of late Sheth Kasturbhai Lalbhai." The KLMDC was formally inaugurated in 1981. This complex has a built-up area of 80,000 square feet, and accommodates 64 rooms to house executive education participants, a classroom, a kitchen and dining area, syndicate rooms, and lounges. An annexe, with a built-up area of 18,000 square feet was added in 1987-89. The annexe has a classroom, two conference halls, four syndicate rooms, and office spaces. The main complex was also the temporary premises for the Vikram Sarabhai Library when it was being renovated in 2016-18.
Raje visualized the management development centre as an entity that would conform to the idiom that Louis Kahn employed. As he notes in AR-SW (p.31), "The making of openings in brick masonry follows the previous order in Kahn buildings. The exposed brick masonry bearing wall is the predominant architectural decision." However, he drew on local imagery to describe the structure: "The building is basically an enlarged house, like a haveli or a mahal. A central courtyard, flanked by two rows of rooms with a corridor that serves the rooms, connects on the front side with the classrooms, dining halls and lounge" (p.31). With the passage of time, the locus of executive education has shifted to the New Campus and the International Management Development Centre. The maintenance of the KLMDC has also demanded more attention. Yet, it remains an important stage in the evolution of the Main Campus, signalling the transition from Louis Kahn to his successors.
This article is based on Chapter 3 of the monograph 'Not Yet 25: IIMA in Louis Kahn's Designs and Pranlal Patel's Images', by Vijaya Sherry Chand, IIMA Archives, January 2023.
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