Saturday, 14 February 2015

 A r c h i t e c t u r e   " O u t   o f   t h e   B o x "
I love reading. To be honest, I used to spend hours with books as a young adult. Of late as a parent, my world has been populated with children's fiction, fairy tales and revisiting books that I read as a little child :)

A book that I treasure and still enjoy turning a few pages of is "A Whack on the Side of the Head" by  Roger von Oech. As we grow older, our thinking increasingly starts getting slotted in a matrix of rights and wrongs. Education systems reward and encourage young children who draw straight lines and color the sky blue. This book illustrates alternate ways of thinking, problem solving and whacks one's brain out of complacence!

Auroville, Pondicherry has been home to many experiments - in exploring alternate ways of living and creating; one could say treading on the path laid out in 'A Whack on the Side of the Head'. 

Out of the many experiments that have captured my interest over years, those related to architecture have had a profound impact. Today's feature celebrates Architect Andre Hababou's work in Auroville - work that leads one to look at forms, spaces and materials in a new and revolutionary way. This is a two part series, the following being a feature on the Master Architect, Roger Anger.

Prema's Residence, Auromodele, Auroville

My first introduction to Auromodele - a community of about 12 residences designed by Ar. Roger Anger and his school, was as a fresh architecture graduate. The residence pictured above "Prema's residence' designed by Roger Anger and Andre Hababou is a favorite. 

A work of Art that transcends known boundaries of form, seamlessly amalgamating indoor and outdoor spaces, this is an architectural gem, building innovation at its best. Sculpture or Architecture, or both?

Prema's Residence, Auromodele, Auroville     Images: Top & Bottom right: Divya Agrawal

Ferrocement is the magic behind these graceful, curving forms that look perfectly in harmony. The structure embraces its landscape and seems to rise from it. Deep overhangs and thick walls moderate indoor temperature, making for climatically appropriate design in a geography that witnesses sweltering summers.

Residence by Andre Hababou, Auromodele, Auroville

The roof curves and increases in volume to accommodate habitable space in the residence above - a masterly confluence of straight lines and curves.

New Creation School (top left), The Pavillion of Tibetan culture (top & bottom right), Surrender Community (bottom left)

Use of alternate materials and building techniques form the backbone of Andre's work. A sculptural aesthetic ties together the entire body of his work, irrespective of the form used.

Images: Top left & right : Divya Agrawal

Auromode, a space that houses Andre's studio and a garment production unit is a complex of fifteen buildings integrating principles of climate control, waste reuse and rainwater harvesting. 

With a portfolio of work that espouses constant experiment, Andre Hababou's architecture has had a thought shaping influence on me. 

It would be exciting to locate literature on construction techniques used in these works, particularly in Auromodele, where ferrocement has given shape to architecture that is very much 'out of the box'.

All images: Andre Hababou, unless stated otherwise
Text & creative layout copyrights: Onthedesignboat   

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