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RolfArtist

When did you come to Auroville?

In December 1981.

Background and some info on your training?

I was born 1954 in Trier , Germany . Surrounded and inspired by ancient Roman monuments and 2000 years of history of Architecture, I studied Design and Arts in a beautiful ‘Art Nouveau' building in Trier . Extensive practical experience and college degree in Architecture, Engineering, and Construction.

 

Some Description of the nature of your work?

Research in organic forms and materials, light weight - low cost structures, and the design and realisation of residential and public buildings. By the physical work on site and the experience with the materials used, all details in a construction are addressed and optimised = cost-effective.
Design and development of the Art spaces in the Cultural Zone.

 

Through you work, what are you trying to find or express?

To create “Lebensraum”- ‘space to live' - in full harmony with Nature and its flow of energies.We spend most of our time in buildings, be it at home or in the place of work. By making a maximum use of natural materials and of our knowledge of universal energies, thereby creating an environment of beauty and living things, we can enhance the harmonious development and health of our full being. It goes without saying, that this is especially important for the growing children.
The Architect has the great responsibility of creating this optimum environment and space for an integral harmony - outside and inside - of the whole being.

 

Which works express best your vision or philosophy?

There is first the house in Ami. All of it was experimental and designed on the spot. Independent walls and windows allow a free flow of forms, creating a pleasant environment and a harmonious flow of energies. Apart from a fixed space-frame of granite pillars and wood beams, the shape of the roof-structure was defined by the possibilities and limits of the materials used. Big windows, open to a green and living environment, invite an optimum of cooling ventilation.

Then the apartment housing project ‘Atlantis'. The concept, drawings and model are inspired by a description of a city in Atlantis and its solution of high density urban residential-housing. Adapted to local climate conditions and a maximum use of bio-energies, natural materials, and recycling techniques, it is a perfect ‘ Green Building ' in the true sense of the word. It offers practical solutions to all kinds of criteria like sound-containment of the apartments, cool and fresh air-circulation, big interior space with collective facilities and spaces for social interaction of the residents, and of course gardens and green spaces on all levels. As a concept and model, it can be adapted to any required shape, size, and function. Population density development can mean green hills and valleys with small creeks flowing into lakes…

 

Please give some overview of the evolution of your work.

Starting off from an Artists point of view and with the complete liberty to experiment with form and space in the Ami house was a great learning experience. I developed these light-weight, low cost techniques in several buildings further to a point of permanent, problem- and maintenance-free structures. This did not finalise my research, but the goal to find more sustainable and natural building techniques brought me to “bamboo reinforced concrete”. (Extensive research has been done by bamboo research institutes in USA and North India .) The steel reinforcement in the Ferro-cement shell is replaced by especially treated bamboo strips. Two of the Art studios in Kalabhumi were built in this way 7 years ago, proving as permanent and maintenance free as the steel-reinforced structures next to them. - Apart from these practical applications and realisations, I designed around 1992 an alternative proposal for the double skin of Matrimandir. In an exhibition together with different proposals, it was selected by more than 200 Aurovilians as the best and most practical solution. - During my work for the Auroville planning and development, I came forward with several proposals for housing projects, with “Atlantis” by far the best solution for urban density development in a harmonious coexistence of Man and Nature.

(Only recently I was delighted to learn, that Austrian artist and architect Hundertwasser worked parallel or earlier on similar projects with the same concepts and philosophy. ( see “'Hundertwasser - Architecture' - For a more human architecture in harmony with nature -“, © 1997, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, Harel Management, Vienna , Austria , and Taschen Verlag, Cologne , Germany .)

 

Which architectural project in Auroville do you appreciate most?

For me, conventional drawing board architecture with too many straight lines and masses of concrete is definitely not pointing towards a sustainable and healthy architecture for the ‘City of the Future'. Some exceptions to this are Jean's and Joy's house by Pierre Legrand and Dharmesh's Atithis Griha Guesthouse.

Publications:

Indian Architect & Builder, August 1990, p.32-37.

Inside Outside, No.145, May 1997, p.112-120.

Weblink:

http://www.rolfart.webs.com/apps/photos/

 

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