Posted on: December 31st, 2020
Authorities at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad announced on Christmas this year that it will be demolishing and replacing 14 dormitories and various other parts of IIM-A campus, designed by renowned American architect Louis I Kahn.
Demolishing dorms of IIM-A has coming up as shocking news in architecture fraternity. IIM-A is not only a highly renowned business school but also a great Architectural work of the American architect Louis I Kahn, which represents India at a global level. After announcing this decision, there is a major furor amongst architectural fraternity and IIM alumni. They, immediately requested the authorities not to demolish these dorms as they are a symbol of modern architectural masterpiece of 20th century. The design fraternity across the globe has suggested not demolishing these iconic structures and finding a way to restore them. “Alumni expressed concern about the campus losing its cultural and Kahn’s architectural heritage, while some have stated that this will make the campus lose its central theme of meeting and socializing”. 
Image Courtesy: archeyes.com
In response to this uproar across social media and in reply to various letters, IIM-A authority wrote a letter explaining the damages within the structure and quoted it “Unsafe for living”. According to Errol D’Souza, Director of IIM-A, the rusted reinforcement, and falling parts of concrete and slabs are dangerous for living. Also, he added in letter that there are other problems like leakage from roofs, dampness in walls and other structural damages that need to be addressed. Further it is added that new proposal would have more dorms comprising around 800 students instead of 500.
Dating back to the early 1960s, Kahn’s scheme created Vikram Sarabhai Library, Lecture Halls, Administration, and the 18 dormitories. Imagining both the built areas and the voids, the timeless design built mainly in brick, reflects the architect’s philosophy with its play of light, orthogonal forms, and historical inspirations. As Indian laws only provide protection to buildings and sites more than 100 years old, Kahn’s project finds itself in a difficult situation. 
Image Courtesy: wikimedia.org
The management has hired Mumbai based firm Somaya & Kalappa consultation (SNK) for this project. SNK has also done the restoration of the library, administrative and lecture blocks in 2017 and further received UNESCO award for model restoration.
The cultural- heritage aspect and due to its influencing existence the expertise and alumni have requested the management to find ways to restore or renovate the building rather than demolishing it.