Why Anant Raje is called Louis Kahn of India-min
There is hardly anybody in Indian architecture profession who doesn’t know Anant Raje, a revered architect, teacher, intellectual and perfectionist. Apart from his professional practice, Raje’s association with architectural education remained consistent throughout his life. He taught at School of Architecture, CEPT, Ahmedabad from 1969 to 2009 where he was Professor Emeritus and Director of the School in 1980s. He was visiting faculty at many prestigious Schools of Architecture the world over.
Executive Management Centre at the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad, Indian Institute of Forest Management Bhopal, The Indian Statistical Institute in New Delhi, Galbabhai Farmers’ Training Institute in Banaskantha, Gujarat and MAFCO wholesale market, Mumbai are some of his memorable projects. In all these projects Raje always tried to put certain ideas to test – may be because of that in all his works there was originality and something new.
All great architects look for guidance from other great architects, and Raje was an exception to this. It was Louis Kahn who had profound influence on Anant Raje. Raje first met Kahn when the latter was asked to design IIM Ahmedabad building. Before starting work on the project Kahn wanted to meet the local architects to understand type of building, climatic conditions, the Indian way of life and similar topics. When such a meeting was arranged, Raje was one of the invitees. After six months of becoming acquainted with Kahn, Raje was invited by the former to work in his office in Philadelphia. Raje worked there from 1964 to 1969 in close association with the master architect.
Though Raje was never a formal student of Kahn’s, his learning occurred in the course of work and friendship during the years from 1964 to 1974. Choosing to work for and with Kahn, instead of studying with him provided a clue to a personal orientation towards a pragmatic orientation towards architecture. After a decade long association with a connoisseur of architecture, Raje imbibed in him Kahn’s philosophy of architecture vis-à-vis, sense of order, appreciation of light, handling of materials especially brick and concrete, climate control, etc. Kahn’s influence on Raje is evident in many of his works like the Management Development Centre and the Ravi Mathai Centre in IIM campus.
So, there is nothing wrong if Raje is considered as Louis Kahn of India because he richly deserves that nomenclature.