Ahmedabad contains the work of two hugely influential 20th century architects. For me the projects were a bit anticlimactic. Corbusier's Mill Owners Association Building was in perfect condition, a gleaming example of architecture as a piece of sculpture. Void of furniture now, it is difficult to imagine how its free-flowing irregular spaces, open to the elements, might have been used, and the famous facade of gargantuan sunshades and huge red doorway seem to provide little useful benefit for the effort. Kahn's Indian Institute of Management was being restored, the brickwork heavily damaged in a 2001 earthquake. What failed to impress were the big holes serving little purpose to the cramped interior spaces behind, the overkill of massive buttresses on the projects smallest buildings, and the iconic, but unnecessary, concrete ties under the flat arches. Each project, IMHO, represented too little interest the occupants that would inhabit them and too much interest in the artistic whims and dogma of their designers, a failing all too common among famous architects.
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.