Stroll down the Campal road and you cannot miss the Kala Academy, Goa's premier center for the performing arts. Designed by Charles Correa, one of India's best known architects, it was built over 1973-83.
Sarto Almeida and Jaimini Mehta describe the spirit that imbues this landmark of Panjim. ."...Kala Academy, a large cultural institution on the banks of the Mandovi at Panaji. The Kala-project undertook significant innovations in spatial organization. A modernist plan-form of post and beam construction on an orthogonal grid offered the architect the necessary variation in dimensions demanded by a programme that makes use of several performance halls, exhibition galleries, informal public gathering places, etc."
I like the interplay, almost a jugalbandi, of the cleanly organised parallel lines of the roof and the organic chaos of the tree branches.
Illusion and reality merge in the spaces of the Kala Academy. Murals on the high walls turn visitors into actors, 'performing' as they walk from art gallery to canteen. It is perhaps a tribute to 'tiatro' a highly popular and successful form of Konkani theatre. The realistic perspective of the street murals resemble the elaborate backdrops of a typical tiatro.
Are the windows, doors and stairs real or illusions? Some are real, some are not. But then as the ancients and the makers of Matrix would have us believe, yeh saab maya hai! All is illusory.
"Both these projects (the other being Cidade de Goa also designed by Correa) are significant as they created an identity of contemporary Goa and did not merely express a commonly held idea of what Goa is all about. In a contemporary context, they reinterpreted elements — the clustered village and the public street---that have only an indirect association with Goa, derived mainly from the Portuguese past. However, they speak of a large and remembered part of Goa and to that extent are credible and successful attempts at defining and expressing our identity."