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Ajit & Ratna 

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AjitWHEN DID YOU COME TO AUROVILLE?
Ajit lived here from 1971-78 and 1987 till now; Ratna from 1987 till now.

BACKGROUND, OR SOME INFO ON YOUR TRAINING
Ajit - Studied architecture at School of Planning and Architecture in New Delhi; Ratna - Studied at University of Hannover, Germany.


SOME D
ESCRIPTION OF THE NATURE OF YOUR WORK
Interpretation of basic traditional architectural patterns to suit modern needs.
Involvement in Pondicherry, protection of architectural heritage of the old town and restoration of old buildings.

THROUGH YOUR WORK, WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO FIND, OR EXPRESS?
Searching for a 'timeless' architecture which is beyond the fads and doesn't struggle to be 'new' and 'inventive' for the sake of being so. Looking for an 'egoless' architecture as a balance to the ego-driven contemporary modern architectural movement.

WHICH OF YOUR WORKS BEST EXPRESSES YOUR VISION, OR PHILOSOPHY?
Our own house in Samasti, as well as the pediatric clinic behind the Health Centre near Aspiration; also the extension of the École Française d'Extrème Orient & Hotel de l'Orient in Pondicherry.

PLEASE GIVE SOME OVERVIEW OF THE EVOLUTION OF YOUR WORK, MILESTONES ON THE WAY
I started my (Ajit) career with Aurofuture in 1971 and participated in several outside projects, like preparing master plans for steel towns in Salem, Kudremukh. Stayed in Germany from 1978 to 1986 and took the opportunity to critically evaluate what I had done till then, meanwhile using the University library and new professional opportunities to re-educate myself. Got interested in environmental activism, the study and preservation of traditional built-forms, the essence of cities, etc. Came to know works of Christopher Alexander and Jeffrey Bawa, which have shaped our practice.

WHICH ARCHITECTURAL PROJECT IN AUROVILLE OTHER THAN YOUR OWN DO YOU APPRECIATE MOST?
A lot of early Auroville buildings done by non-architects (I made a set of slides on this theme in 1981). For example, Charlie's house in Aurogreen; Piero and Gloria's early Aspiration huts and some of the new school buildings in Transition; the first phase of the houses in the Grace settlement by Helmut; Joy and Jean LeGrand's house; some of Poppo's early work in Auromodele and Certitude; Suhasini's Kindergarten building and Dharmesh's Atithi Griha in Bharat Nivas.

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