The proposal to demolish the Louis Kahn’s IIMA building is an act of cultural vandalism

Proposal on Louis Kahns IIMA building is an act of cultural vandalism

Synopsis- IIMA decision to demolish historic dormitories designed by architect Louis Khan, this would constitute an act of cultural vandalism.  


  • Louis Kahn, a world-famous architect, called in 1960s to Ahmedabad to design various buildings, and the IIMA was one of the iconic structures built by him.
  • Works of this excellence belong to both national and universal heritage.
  • However, the administration of the Indian Institute of Management decided to demolish 14 dormitories on the IIMA campus as they turn unsafe.
  • It led to the protests in the campus and reconsideration of the decision. 

Why the proposal to demolish the dorms of IIMA represent as cultural vandalism? 

Having supported the restoration of the entire campus for years, the administration claimed that as this work was not ‘satisfactory’ the whole lot should be pulled down, which is an act of cultural vandalism against an architectural masterpiece which is not only of great importance to India but to the world. 

  • Current laws in India provide national heritage protection only to buildings and sites more than 100 years old. This leaves Kahn’s IIM- Ahmedabad in extremely vulnerable positions. 
  • capitalism, political corruption and land speculation pose threats to ancient and modern works of quality. 

Fortunately, many organizations and individuals both within the country and abroad have written to the institute, urging the management to reconsider the decision. 

What is the significance of Louis Kahn IIMA  Architecture? 

Kahn built two projects on the Indian subcontinent, the Assembly Complex in Dhaka, Bangladesh and the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad (IIMA). Both reflect his response to the cultures, climates and traditions of their respective places. 

Significance of IIMA building- 

  • The complex is built mainly in brick, with some interventions of concrete for lateral bracing and tie bars.
  • With its interweaving of space and form, light and shade, orthogonal and diagonal geometries, the dormitory complex is a virtuoso demonstration of Kahn’s immense skill as a designer.
  • A citadel of learning, replete with cylindrical towers, shaded streets and squares, it is not unlike a tight-knit Indian fortified town.

Way forward- 

  • First, there is a need to reshape national heritage laws to protect 20th-century buildings. 
    • Heritage should be assessed on the basis of long-term quality rather than the cut-off date of a hundred years.
  • Second, IIMA Director and Board need to live up to their responsibilities by restoring and protecting Kahn’s work in its totality, so that the future generations may be inspired by it. 

Thus,the leaders of IIMA should be persuaded to complete the restoration of Kahn’s buildings at the highest possible level, and perhaps attain the same World Heritage status 

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