The news cycle occasionally throws up unusual connections, but few as startling as the death of one of India’s greatest architects and the scandal surrounding controversial businessman Lalit Modi.

Charles Correa died in Mumbai on June 16. He was 84, and he leaves behind a staggering body of work in India and abroad. Among his designs is the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown, the research and diagnostic centre in Lisbon where Lalit Modi’s wife, Minal, was treated for liver cancer in 2014.

According to a story in The Indian Express, the government of Rajasthan headed by Vasundhara Raje, one of Modi’s friends, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Champalimaud Foundation to set up a cancer research centre in Jaipur two months after Minal Modi’s treatment. Lalit Modi claimed in an interview with journalist Rajdeep Sardesai that Raje had previously accompanied Minal Modi to the centre.

Last August, Modi tweeted photos of the centre.



Here's what the writer Amitav Ghosh had to say about the building when he visited it in 2011.
The site is spectacular…and the building rises magnificently to the challenge. Charles has succeeded in creating a startlingly new configuration of some of the recurring elements in his work: sculptural monoliths; echoing geometrical forms; reflecting surfaces; courtyards that both embrace and separate; and the interplay of light and shadow. The landscaping is particularly striking in its references to Portugal’s role in the diffusion and exchange of botanical species around the world.

Correa’s unusual and evocative design for the centre draws on Lisbon’s maritime history, as he explains to Sankalp Meshram in the documentary Into the Unknown. The entire film can be viewed here.