Society | Past continuous
A new breed of archivists are liberating our small histories from neglect and slow death
I waited for the monsoons to end last year, before I sent off my collection," says Charles Correa, one of India’s finest architects, wistfully. He spent two years annotating and cross-referencing his complete collection of architectural drawings and models. It is now housed with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), in London, which will hold a large exhibition to showcase it in May 2013. The decision to send it away came only after repeatedly asking Indian archives if they would store his work. “Nobody could. They don’t have the infrastructure, which is not that much, if you think about it—just some air conditioning and the will to preserve. But in London it will be kept well. Yet, I was hurt by the thought that it would not be accessible to Indians. My work is located here. It belongs here. So I made copies of every single piece. I am trying to work with the Urban Design Research Institute (UDRI), Mumbai, to see how it can be made accessible digitally, hyperlinking it, on CDs or online. That’s still a work in progress though," he says.