As the world rang in 2021, India's prestigious IIM-A stakeholders secured a big win. The Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, on Friday, withdrew its earlier plans to demolish the iconic buildings in the campus for their heritage value. The decision was inspired by strong disapproval from alumni, local and international organizations, architects, historians and academicians.
In a letter issued by the board of governors for IIM-A, the institution said that they "are sensitive to the feedback from some stakeholders who are not in agreement with this approach." Therefore, IIM-A has decided against razing down the legacy dorms by withdrawing the expression of interest that was earlier put out.
"We will deliberate on the feedback received, re-evaluate the options, consult the best global conservation and structural experts, and chart out a course of action, which the institute will communicate in due course," the Board said while announcing its latest decision," IIM-A BoG members said.
"Many of you have been writing in ever since the Expression of Interest was put up for the design of the student housing at the main campus of the institute. You have sought to remind us that the dormitories designed by Louis Kahn are a cultural legacy and that these buildings are to be seen as an integral part of the ensemble of buildings that constitute the campus. Thank you – we acknowledge your sentiments and appreciate the underlying passion you have for the institute," the Board stated in its letter.
Proposal to demolish legacy dorms
IIM-A management had put out an expression of interest last month, inviting architects and designers, to propose plans for demolishing the dormitories in the campus that were built by American architect Louis Kahn and replace them with new ones. Soon after, there a huge outcry as IIM-A alumni criticized the proposal.
There were petitions, WhatsApp groups participated by hundreds of former students who voiced against IIM-A's proposal. Over 600 architects and academics from 118 universities across 30 nations signed a petition to reconsider the proposal, which was referred to as "an act of cultural vandalism" and something that "will seriously damage the global reputation of IIM-A."
The proposal was to restore the core of the Louis Kahn buildings, including the library, the faculty wings and the class room complex, along with dorms of the periphery of the complex (Dorms 16-18). Of the total 18 dorms, 14 were to be razed down.