The Brilliant Story of IIM Ahmedabad: From Inception to Extensions, and its Future

The Brilliant Story of IIM Ahmedabad


IIM Ahmedabad
The Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad_Dave Morris

What brings this red-brick campus built half a century ago, into the limelight again? Is the future of this living legacy threatened? Yes, the organization’s decision to demolish a deteriorating part of the campus had stirred controversy and sparked global resistance. The organization saw strong opposition from the Alumni of the prestigious institution in addition to significant global Architectural organizations and family members of Louis Khan. The decision seems to have been revoked but there is no legal confirmation from the organization.  

This red brick campus is the Indian Institute of Management, Campus in Ahmedabad or simply, IIM Ahmedabad. Indian Architect, Balakrishna Doshi approached Louis Khan to design the 60-acre campus. Doshi believed that Khan would have a unique and brilliant vision to facilitate the education of the brightest minds of India in this Campus. Assisted by Balakrishna Doshi and Anant Raje, Louis Khan designed this exposed-brick campus. Unfortunately, Khan didn’t live to see the completion of the project in 1974. 

Inception of IIMs

indian institute of management in ahmedabad
Model of Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad_Anant Raje Foundation

The Indian Institute of Management was founded by former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on the advice of the Government India Planning Commission in 1959 to address the need for business managers in developing independent India. A network of 19 such IIMs was established across the states of India and IIM, Ahmedabad was the second of those to be designed succeeding IIM, Calcutta in November 1961 in collaboration with the MIT Sloan School of Management. IIM, Ahmedabad was set up under the leadership of Dr. Vikram Sarabhai and approached Harvard Business School for assistance in developing the business education programs.

Louis Khan’s Conceptual Approach towards IIM-A Old Campus

Floor Plan, IIM Ahmedabad_wikiarquitectura
Floor Plan, IIM Ahmedabad_wikiarquitectura

Louis Khan didn’t just design modern coming-of-age classroom buildings as the campus, he questioned the educational system and classroom being the fundamental learning environment. His concept aligned with the nation’s higher vision of training citizens to become the best business minds in collaboration with Western institutions in the ‘newly industrialized nation’. Unlike making the classrooms the foreground of the campus, Louis Khan designed the courtyard as the focus, created alleyways around it, and increased the visual permeability with voids in the facade to foster an educational environment outside the classroom, promoting a novel style of teaching and learning intended to happen in the newly established IIM, Ahmedabad.

Arches with Concrete Slabs and Lintels in IIM-A_Cemal Emden
Arches with Concrete Slabs and Lintels in IIM Ahmedabad_Cemal Emden

His new approach to education and educational spaces didn’t hinder him from appreciating indigenous architecture. When Khan was approached by Doshi, he was designing the National Assembly Building in Bangladesh. He saw a similar culture in India rooted in tradition. He also considered the local arid climate and came up with the idea of an exposed brick structure, especially with brick being a local material.

The usage of brick didn’t limit his designs. Numerous arches and circle cutouts adorned the walls of the campus building despite the use of brick. The geometric cutouts in the facade were inspired by the vernacular architecture of the region and allowed for visual permeability, ventilation, and lighting. Khan capitalized on this opportunity to blend modern architecture with a traditional twist, and the result was what we see today.

Campus Extension: New Campus IIM Ahmedabad by HCPDPM

IIM-A New Campus_Dinesh Mehta
IIM Ahmedabad New Campus_Dinesh Mehta

IIM Ahmedabad organized a national competition in 1999 to design the new campus for IIM Ahmedabad as an extension to the old campus, on an adjacent plot separated by road. Initially, ten firms were invited to contest the first phase of the competition followed by shortlisting three firms for the second phase. Finally, HCP Design, Planning, and Management was awarded the project.

Subway connecting new and old
Subway connecting new and old

The 39-acre campus is visually disconnected from the old campus with a road separating the two. The campus is functionally as independent as visually with separate entrances on distinct plots. Though the campus seems to be compact in contrast to the old campus which is spread out, it maintains consistency of geometric forms and exposed materials (concrete in the new campus and brick in the old campus) with the old campus. The architects honor the old campus with a subway that speaks the glory of Louis Khan and his works and connects the two campuses quietly. 

IIM-A Extension Floor
IIM Ahmedabad Extension Floor

The new campus mainly houses the International Management Centre for Innovation & Incubation and postgraduate teaching and housing facilities for an expanded postgraduate program in management. Elaborating, the extension consists of an academic block with 5 classrooms, seminar rooms, and administrative facilities. For housing the students, there are 9 dormitories for 340 students and 20 blocks for married students in addition to kitchen and dining facilities. Moreover, there is a separate block to accommodate the needs of the center for innovation and incubation. All spaces are inclusively designed with elements like ramps wherever necessary. 

IIM Ahmedabad Master Planning 

Phases of Masterplanning IIM Ahmedabad_HCP
Phases of Masterplanning IIM Ahmedabad_HCP

Following the extension, the management again hosted a competition inviting conceptual proposals with a vision to increase double its capacity, over the next two decades. HCP succeeded in the competition one more time. HCP collaborated with the institute and came up with a master plan to be constructed in phases. The main idea behind the master plan was to protect, elevate, and integrate the old campus yet articulate the spaces in between the Iconic buildings designed by Louis Khan. With this idea in mind, HCP devised a strategic flexible brief detailing the guidelines for the new buildings, that explain the efficiency of land use, use of form, and materials to respect the legacy of the old campus.

Restoration & Upgradation of Vikram Sarabhai Library

In parallel with master planning, restoration works of the old campus were awarded to Somaya & Kalappa Consultants preceded by their win in the competition organized by IIM Ahmedabad for this project. The iconic old campus has driven generations of students since its inception towards excellence via alternative innovative ways by providing spaces to discuss, dissect, and solve problems. Louis Khan’s sublime red structures stand with pride, even after seeing the Gujarat earthquake. 

However, the iconic structure was no exception to the wear and tear caused by the harsh climate and usage over a period of considerable time. With the effects of such wear and tear visible, there was an urgent need to restore the buildings, and the organization raised funds by approaching corporates and alumni to undertake the process as soon as possible.

TCS Foundation, a nonprofit organization run by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) extended its hands in 2016 for the restoration and upgradation of Vikram Sarabhai Library by funding 20 crore Indian Rupees. The task was undertaken by Somaya & Kalappa Consultants (SNK) in July 2016 and completed in December 2018. They were awarded the prestigious UNESCO Asia Pacific Award for Cultural Heritage for their restoration work in IIM Ahmedabad.

Vikram Sarabhai Library before restoration_SNK consultants
Vikram Sarabhai Library before restoration_SNK consultants
Vikram Sarabhai Library after restoration_SNK Consultants
Vikram Sarabhai Library after restoration_SNK Consultants

Future of IIM Ahmedabad

Murmurs about the demolition and partial demolition of the old campus of IIM Ahmedabad appeared from time to time gathering negative responses from all over the world. The organization announced that it was to demolish the dormitories of the old campus as the trial restoration of these structures by the award-winning SNK Consultants was unsatisfactory.

Following the 34-page exit letter written by the former director of the organization advocating redevelopment of the campus in January 2023, a town hall event was organized on June 4, 2023, where the IIT Roorkee team highlighted structural integrity issues. However, outbursts from alumni, Louis Khan’s family, and organizations like WMF, are pouring in criticizing the organization’s attempt to raze the legacy of Louis Khan. The red buildings remain intact to date, but the silence from important personnel like the institute’s chairman Pankaj Patel, and IIM Ahmedabad director Bharat Bhaskar on this issue, leaves the fate of the old campus questioned!


  • Q: How much does the IIM Ahmedabad MBA program cost?
  • A: The exact fees for the 2024-2026 batch haven’t been released yet. However, the IIM Ahmedabad fees for the previous batch (2021-2023) were around INR 23 lakhs, including tuition fees of INR 16.99 lakhs. We can expect the upcoming fees to be in a similar range. IIM Ahmedabad’s website will have the confirmed fees announced soon:
  • Q: Does IIM Ahmedabad offer any online courses?
  • A: Yes, IIM Ahmedabad offers a few online programs. Their most popular online program is the Executive Post Graduate Program in Management (ePGP). There might be other short online courses available as well.
  • Q: How much do the IIM Ahmedabad online courses cost?
  • A: The fees vary depending on the program. The ePGP program fee is around INR 20 lakhs, while other programs might have different costs. You can find the specific fees for each program on the IIM Ahmedabad website’s online program section:
  • Q: What are the criteria for getting into IIM Ahmedabad’s MBA program?
  • A: IIM Ahmedabad uses a holistic selection process that considers several factors, including:
    • Academic Background: A Bachelor’s degree with at least 50% marks or equivalent CGPA is required.
    • Standardized Test Scores: A high score on the CAT (Common Admission Test) is crucial.
    • Work Experience (for some programs): Certain programs, like the PGPx program, require a minimum number of years of work experience.
    • Written Essays and Letters of Recommendation: These provide insights into your skills, motivations, and career goals.
    • Performance in the interview round: The interview allows the admissions committee to assess your soft skills, communication abilities, and overall fit for the program.