Ahmedabad contains two hugely influential 20th century works of architecture: Le Corbusier's Mill Owners Association Building, in pristine condition but no longer used, and Louis I. Kahn's Indian Institute of Management, a still active university under restoration after heavy damage in a 2001 earthquake. What was groundbreaking when they were built is now a bit more difficult to appreciate. Given the richness of traditional and colonial architecture and the exuberance of Indian life, each project feels sterile and overly self conscious, designed more to appeal to the artistic tics and dogma of their designers and architectural critics of the time than to the people and uses the building serve. It is a problem all too common in architecture, unfortunately.
We did have one of the best experiences on the trip, arriving during the city's kite festival. Up on the roof of a traditional haveli in the old center of Ahmedabad, we participated in what can only be considered a gargantuan block party, as residents celebrated the universal joy of the kite. Ahmedabad hosts an international kite festival site in a newer section of town, with fancy kites from around the world, but this display of thousands of residents and their humble indian kites above the roof tops has to be the best way to experience the festival.