Citing safety as “primary” for the institute, the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA) On Thursday, he announced that he would stop restoration work on buildings on the old campus and move forward with reconstruction, suggesting that most of the dormitories, faculty blocks and classrooms would be demolished. It also launched a redesigned website with a new logo.
Sharing details about the decisions taken by the IIMA Board of Governors and citing the latest structural report of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkie, IIMA Director Professor Errol D’Souza said : “The structural engineering reports tell us that the life of these buildings is over and they are unsafe. It is almost impossible to continue to restore the buildings … which we have been trying for the last 30-40 years.”
Noting that the Board did not want to compromise safety, D’Souza said the iconic Louis Kahn Plaza will nevertheless be preserved.
In a communication shared with his alum by D’souza, the BoG wrote that “the deterioration of the structures was first raised at a meeting of the Building Committee in July 1982.” IIMA was built between 1962 and 1974 and was one of the most imposing masterpieces Kahn designed, unique in its exposed brick, concrete slabs, concrete lintels and concrete beams. The academic blocks, the faculty offices and the 33 fully furnished bedrooms and the square are its main features.
“We want to keep a legacy, but we don’t want to do it if it’s going to hurt or kill people… we had cases where there were pieces of the building coming off… we had situations where parts of the ‘building had really fallen…’ he said.
Addressing IIT Roorkie, which the director referred to as “the best construction team in the country”, he said, “We asked them to do tests on the buildings… The tests clearly show that there is hardly any left residual life with the building and are not seismically safe in a state known to have earthquakes…”
On the decision to keep Louis Kahn Square, the director said, “We’re going to keep the buildings you see in Louis Kahn Square. We’re going to rebuild them with the same facades…we’re going to make some interior changes to make them more user-friendly and we will maintain these buildings as well as dormitories 16-18 on the outskirts of campus.” The other bedrooms will be remodeled with Kahn’s legacy in mind, he said.
IIMA faced strong protests from all walks of life, including architects, designers, historians, alumni and children of legendary American architect Louis Kahn in December 2020, when it issued an expression of interest inviting bids for the reconstruction of bedrooms. Within days, after the opposition, the first management institute withdrew the EoI.