Ajit & Ratna
WHEN DID YOU COME TO
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 DESCRIPTION OF
THE NATURE OF YOUR WORK
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?
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
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.
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.