Keywords Change this

Indian Modernism, Churches, Post-independence Architecture In India

Project timeline

1974 – 1977



Location Change this


Also known as Change this

Our Lady of Salvation Church, Portuguese Church

Architect Change this


Article last edited by Bostjan on
October 10th, 2020

Salvacao Church Change this

Mumbai, India
by Charles Correa Change this
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Description Change this

Taking a series of ideas from early Christian churches, Charles Correa has attempted a return to the basics. The design is based on the life of Christ expressed through Baptism, the Public Life and the Crucifixion; each of these corresponding theologically to Preparation, Instruction or Enlightenment and the Final Sacrifice. Liturgically, these ideas find their expression in the Baptismal Font and Confessionals; the Pulpit and Altar; and the Tabernacle. In the early churches the plan and disposition of physical elements clearly reflected these concerns. In the architect's later churches these elements were integrated under essentially one major space.

The design of this church in the Dadar neighborhood of Bombay commenced in 1974 and the work completed in 1977. The church consists of a series of interlocking courtyards and covered spaces which allows any of the functions to take place indoors or outdoors depending on the weather. The covered spaces are caped by giant concrete shells (the "canons" of earlier works) which act as flues for the rising hot air. All the areas, both indoor and outdoor, interconnect so that the spaces - and the breezes - flow across the site.

ln 1983 Correa added to the entrance area of the church and changed the facades to add curves where once there were straight lines. By the addition of brick stub walls and re-inventing the RCC matrix at which the "cannons" sit, Correa softened the Le Corbusierish forms he originally used to create the church which adapted the "closed-box architecture of the North" to Indian conditions. With these changes, some ten years after the building's conception, the architect has enriched views across the site, generated additional alcoves for worship, and created a more evocative and flamboyant building in this new context.

The bare strength of the exposed concretework provides a stark environment for worship. The simplicity of the concrete structure and paving and the simple wood work furniture- contrasts with the richness of the altar and the fresco on glass, painted by legendary Indian artist M F Husain. In the architect's concept this area represents the extrovert and social aspects of religion. Husain's work illustrates the Biblical tale of the "Loaves and Fish" in the glass painting which is divided into several segments like that of traditional stained-glass windows.



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