01.02.2021 Views

Concept. Anupama Kundoo 'Feel the Ground' Venice Biennale 2012

'Feel the Ground. Wall House: One to One' was an invited installation, as part of 'Common Ground' curated by David Chipperfield for the 13th international architecture exhibition of 'la Biennale di Venezia'. Anupama Kundoo's Wall House in Auroville was constructed in full scale, making the point that architecture is a collaborative act, and that we are more common than we are different across the globe, regardless of our diversity. The curators wrote: "Kundoo, has built an ambitious, 1:1 facsimili of the Wall House, a building she designed in Auroville in India in 2000. The common ground is in its making. A team of Indian craftsmen, some of whom had never left their home country, were brought to Venice to construct the project in collaboration with staff and students from the University of Queensland, and students from IUAV in Venice, creating skills exchange across 3 continents. The final piece embodies the dialogue between construct on cultures, and also is a showcase for Kundoo's architecture, a lyrical modernism at easy with the demands of its climate."

'Feel the Ground. Wall House: One to One' was an invited installation, as part of 'Common Ground' curated by David Chipperfield for the 13th international architecture exhibition of 'la Biennale di Venezia'. Anupama Kundoo's Wall House in Auroville was constructed in full scale, making the point that architecture is a collaborative act, and that we are more common than we are different across the globe, regardless of our diversity.
The curators wrote: "Kundoo, has built an ambitious, 1:1 facsimili of the Wall House, a building she designed in Auroville in India in 2000. The common ground is in its making. A team of Indian craftsmen, some of whom had never left their home country, were brought to Venice to construct the project in collaboration with staff and students from the University of Queensland, and students from IUAV in Venice, creating skills exchange across 3 continents. The final piece embodies the dialogue between construct on cultures, and also is a showcase for Kundoo's architecture, a lyrical modernism at easy with the demands of its climate."

SHOW MORE
SHOW LESS

Create successful ePaper yourself

Turn your PDF publications into a flip-book with our unique Google optimized e-Paper software.

Feel the Ground

1



Underpinning my work is the philosophical belief in the synthetic

nature of architecture. Architecture is a total experience whereby

the variables of context, spatiality, construction, material capacity,

and humanity are inextricably linked. ” AK

What we have ‘in common’ is much more than our ‘differences’ despite the

apparent discordances in the way diverse societies express themselves through

their built environments. There are indeed common aspirations, and a rich

culture of shared material and spatial traditions across the world and also

through time. Each innovation in one place has helped technologies to evolve

worldwide, and we continue to further ancient building traditions that continue

to survive in the collective memory.

Wall House One to One transplants a contemporary architectural

project from rural India to within the walls of the historic Corderie building

of the Arsenale in Venice. Through this act, the project seeks to demonstrate—

in the most direct way—that we have more in common than we may imagine.

It dwells on the similarities between two apparently divergent architectural

cultures.

The ancient brick pillars of the Corderie set in lime mortar are interwoven

with traditional south Indian brickwork also set in lime mortar. However,

the traditional hand-made Indian achikal brick continues to be produced

while Italian brick making has become industrialized. The plan of the Wall

2


3


4


House is interwoven into the plan of the Corderie, merging the new and the

old, the temporary and the permanent. The exhibit and the space of exhibition

flow into one another without confrontation, each attempting to flatter the

other in the dialogue that occurs between them. Integration instead of confrontation

is the essential approach. Spatially there is much in common: the

long plan, the linear arrangements and circulation, the double height central

space with mezzanines on either side. Structurally too one notices the catenary

curves, arches and vaults, metal tie rods instead of buttresses, jack arch slabs,

fired clay roof tiles … Architecture’s richness is enhanced by the shared understanding

across continents and time, about materials and of making buildings.

Architecture as a total experience

The rebuilding of the Wall House in 1:1 scale enables these ideas to

be experienced first-hand. The installation of a full-scale model challenges the

exhibition of architecture as artifact; a practice that can overemphasize the

visual component of architecture while foregoing the significance of all other

sensory perceptions and variables. The idea of Wall House One to One is to

exhibit architecture as a total experience.

The dialogue that occurs in the original Wall House between the

materiality of the architecture and the non-materiality of the voids for human

use, is augmented with overlays of the new site; the Corderie. The complement

of scale and spatial composition between the Wall House and its new context

5


Wall House One to One 1: 20 explorative model

displayed in the foyer of the School of Architecture,

University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

6


is imagined to create a harmonious balance and sense of quietude within the

exhibition space. Instead of imposing an autonomous object within the Corderie,

it is intended that the insertion will melt into its context and reveal to the senses

the genius loci of the space.

Brick, the unit of common ground in architecture

Materially speaking, brick could be considered the unit of common

ground in architecture. Brick is the first manufactured material and continues

to be developed to sophistication. Made of the earth itself brick has survived

all transitions in building technologies. It is the bridge between the past and

the future, between the developing countries and the developed countries,

between the high-tech and low-tech manufacturing processes. Yet the brick is

not to be taken for granted. There is much to be discovered and learnt from it.

The building showcases a range of technologies using fired clay, in walls and

roofing systems.

In bewildering array. Textured and tactile.


Inviting touch, intimacy. Red orange.

The colour of Auroville earth, complement of

the forest. As a potter and maker of brick and

tile, this is a material to which I readily respond.

In Anupama’s new house, still under construction

we see the village pots as filler in a concrete

slab. Again, guna tiles for vaulted roofs and jack

arches in extruded hollow clay segments. Bricks,

not the standard European size, but achakul,

18 × 10 × 2.5 cm used in vaults, sprung low, and

in walls where Anupama plays with scale, at

once emphasising and subordinating the brick

size in a massive façade rendered delicate by the

rhythm of broad, deeply raked joints, off-white,

the colour of the lime mortar. Making a bold and

quite literal statement by coming to a point in

an acute angle at the north-east corner, the ‘wall’

is introduced as the pivotal conceptual element

of the structure.


From Ray Meeker: The Interior of Being, Inside

Outside, January 2000

7


Cross section Wall House One to One

in the Corderie

8


My approach to architecture is derived from a basic respect and


appreciation of the hand and its capacity to generate, make and experience

buildings. My aim in exhibiting a representation of my own

house at one to one is to celebrate the many hands that shape and

drive my practice and to reveal their imprint on my architecture.

Hands signify the sensual, the tactile, the human, the individual

and the personal engagement involved in the crafting space. Hands

are not just for making but also for thinking and solving like when

we draw and make models.

” AK

Celebrating the Hands

The rich culture of the ‘handmade’ in buildings is endangered in contemporary

architecture. Absorbing crafts into buildings as structural and textural

solutions rather than as ‘objects’ added as finishes and superficial decoration

re-establishes the fine culture that we had until recently. Handcrafted elements

are an integral part of the architectural expression, crafts are incorporated in a

tectonic sense neither decorative, nor incidental to the main. They shape the

form and the structural system and the spatial experience significantly. When

something goes through the hand, it’s not just the skill that is represented, but

also the care and involvement, the wisdom contained in it.

9


Wooden model 1:20 Wall House One to One

in the Corderie

Bricks produced within the ‘Baked-in situ earth

construction’ project, Homes for Homeless Children,

Volontariat in collaboration with Ray Meeker.

5% of coal dust was infused into the brick clay

so that they self burn till the fuel is spent.

Pondicherry 2008.

10


The original Wall House in Auroville, Tamil Nadu

The building is situated outside the planned city limits in the Auromodele area

which is designated for research and experimentation a testing ground for

architectural prototypes.

The Wall House was planned as the architect’s own place of residence,

compactly accommodating everyday needs while effortlessly expanding to absorb

visitors. Ultimately, the house can be seen as an attempt not only to redefine

the building program for a private-residence in rural India, but also to test

various spatial and technological innovations to inform other projects.

Spatially, the innovation lies in the redefinition of borders and transitional

spaces in which a keen responsiveness to the conditions of local climate

and culture are demonstrated. Technologically, one of the fundamental concepts

behind the project involves the use of traditional and local materials in

new and inventive ways given the global resource crunch as well as rapid urbanisation.

The technological innovations are based on redefining the use of

age-old benign materials and thus result in a visual landscape that is modern

with confronting or rejecting tradition and culture.

Landscape design is an integral and inseparable part of the overall

architecture. Existing trees are incorporated in the design as extensions to

the spatial compositions created, enabling a smooth transition between the

building and its surrounding natural setting.

Exhibition Design

Anupama Kundoo, Michael Dickson

Structural Engineer

Greg Killen

Associate architect India

Nitin Bondre

Associate architect Venice

Alvise Marzollo

Material Production

Head Craftsman:, Sekar Sokkalingam

Logistics

Gautam Chatterjee, Frederick Schulze-Buxloh,

Marina Kiriakova, Yashoda Joshi

Student Assistants

Katie Hawgood, Jessica Spresser, Yohei Omura,

Brianna Towers, Sari Bianca Basini, Alexandra

Kelly

Craftsmen

Sekar Sokkalingam, Ponnuvel Samikkannu,

Manimaran Govindasamy , Janakiraman

Krishnamurthy, Kumar Saminathan, Gopi

Seetharaman

11


Location plan

12


Relevance of the original Wall House

The Wall House was the culmination of ongoing extensive research and experimentation.

This involved the search for a balance between high-tech and lowtech

which incorporated everyday materials through techniques that include

the contribution of those with lower level skills and education. Such hybrid

forms of construction focus on new ways of using age-old local materials.

They combine hand skills and local craft traditions with knowledge-based

scientific systems. Situated in rural India, surrounded by rapid urbanization

and its associated constraints of unskilled labour and lack of resources, the

house serves as a laboratory to arrive at suitable and relevant technology models

for the future development of the city, as well as the local area beyond.

Student assistance in construction

The University of Queensland,

The University of Sydney, and

Università Iuav di Venezia:

Zeglar Fergus

Elliot Harvie

Daniel Lau

Samuel Bowstead

Amy Learmouth

Georgina Russell

Leah Gallagher

Nicola Eason

Marjorie Dixon

Peter Tran


Dr Anupama Kundoo Born in Pune, graduated

from the Sir J. J. College of Architecture, University

of Bombay, and began her independent practice

in 1990. Closely associated with Roger Anger in

the planning of Auroville, she was responsible

for the detail development of the Administrative

Zone, its Habitat Areas, and Auroville’s City

Centre. In 2008 she was awarded her doctorate

at the TU Berlin. Anupama Kundoo has had the

experience of living, working, researching and

teaching in a variety of cultural contexts: Mumbai,

Auroville, Barcelona, Berlin, London and New

York. She is currently teaching at the School of

Architecture, University of Queensland, Brisbane,

Australia.

The University of Queensland

School of Architecture

Room 318 · Zelman Cowen Building,

Brisbane QLD 4072 · Australia

P +61 420 678436

F +61 7 3365 3999

www.anupamakundoo.com

info@anupamakundoo.com

Andreas Deffner lives and works as a photographer

in Berlin and India. His art projects

have made him explore more remote areas

of both the Indian society as well as the subcontinent.

White too White, the exhibition on

Indians suffering from albinism has won him

a Lead Award. His perspectives: Wall House.

Making and Remaking 1996 to 2012.

Harun Farocki lives and works in Berlin. He is

the author of more than 100 productions, for

cinema, television, and in the last 15 years also

for art spaces. He was a visiting professor at

the UC Berkeley and Harvard and tought film

at the Academy of Art in Vienna. In Comparison,

diverse social realities across the world through

the making of brick.

Ray Meeker studied architecture and ceramics

at the University of Southern California. With

his wife Deborah Smith, he founded the Golden

Bridge Pottery, Pondicherry, South India in 1971.

Through his experiments in fired buildings he

has gained recognition from the architectural

community in India. Agnijata, the making of a

baked insitu mud building.

Anupama Kundoo,

Venice, 2012

14


Finding common ground between imported techniques and local

traditions, the project seeks to enhance the capacity of the developing world

to grow sustainably and equitably while nurturing livelihoods and tradition

for the rich culture of the ‘handmade’ in buildings is becoming increasingly

endangered.

Collaboration

Many hands have been involved in the making of this work. Diverse groups

such as staff and students of the University of Queensland, Australia and

students of Università Iuav di Venezia, Venice, have worked alongside craftsmen

from Tamil Nadu, India, assisted by professionals from different countries

and cultures. The project also sought to reveal the common ground in

architectural practice and building construction through the direct collaboration

of diverse people who may not even share a common language. The combined

efforts of all these participants confront the common ground of building

practice between industrial, handcrafted, unskilled and semi-skilled labour.

The issues raised here are further expanded through showcasing the

independent work of artists whose paths have crossed mine. Their work will

widen the discussion while contextualizing my own research, and approaching

the subject through their different perspectives:

Andreas Deffner, Harun Farocki, and Ray Meeker.

William Chan

Michela Benedetti

Valentina D’Alberto

Elena Favaro

Laura Spezzoni

Paolo Toldo

Gabriele Longega

Stefano Zeni

Enrico Perini

Alice Babini

Luca Iuorio

Giorgio Braga

Mattia Bittolo

Special Acknowledgements

Natarajan Bala Baskar

John MacArthur

Sauro Mezetti

15


We are all quite fascinated by your proposal. This could be quite spectacular

and beautiful. We have identified possible locations within the sequence of

the Corderie. The scale of your proposal means that it will be a very significant

part of the exhibition and to some degree we must plan around it. We are

quite confident that you are dealing with the logistic issues and the administration

of the biennale seems happy that your proposal can be realised from

a practical point of view.

The following pages were added after

the exhibition. Photos: La Biennale

di Venezia (1), Andreas Deffner (16),

Anupama Kundoo architects (3)

Right: Title panel in the exhibition,

Italian/English (English see next page)

We very much look forward to realising your project with you.

Best wishes

David

Excerpt from an email to Anupama Kundoo

from Sir David Chipperfield, Curator of Common Ground,

the 13 th Architectural Biennale, Venice, Italy, 2012,

3 April, 2012

16


Feel the Ground. Wall House: One to One

Kundoo, architetto indiano che vive in Australia, ha costruito un ambiziosa

copia 1 :1 della Wall House, un edificio che ha progettato ad Auroville, in

India, nel 2000: Il terreno comune è nella sua realizzazione: una squadra

di artigiani indiani, alcuni dei quali non avevano mai lasciato il loro paese

prima, sono stati portati a Venezia per realizzare il progetto, in collaborazione

con i docenti e gli studenti de l’Università del Queensland e con gli

studenti dello IUAV, Istituto Universitario di Architettura di Venezia, creando

uno scambio di competenze tra tre differenti continenti. L’opera finale rappresenta

il dialogo tra le diverse culture della costruzione architettonica ed

è anche una vetrina per l’opera di Kundoo, un modernismo lirico che si adatta

bene alle esigenze del suo territorio.

Con iI supporto aggiuntivo di:

University of Queensland, Think Brick, Sharad Hegde,

Viabizzuno progettiamo la luce

17


Dear Anupama

It has been a pleasure to walk through the exhibition after the stress and

chaos of the opening days, and to calmly enjoy the installations. You were

a real star of the biennale, not only for your idea but for your spirit and

enthusiasm, you taught us all a lesson, and it was an honour to work with

you. I am happy that your efforts have been well understood by visitors.

I have heard many compliments. I know how much effort went into your

project and I thank you for your commitment and patience.

David

Sir David Chipperfield in an email

to Anupama Kundoo, 1 September 2012

18


Feel the Ground. Wall House: One to One

Kundoo, an Indian architect now based in Australia, has built an ambitious,

1:1 facsimile of the Wall House, a building she designed in Auroville, India

in 2000. The common ground is in its making. A team of Indian craftsmen,

some of whom had never before left their home country; were brought to

Venice to construct the project in collaboration with staff and students from

the University of Queensland, and students from IUAV in Venice, creating

a skills exchange across three continents. The final piece embodies the

dialogue between construct on cultures, and also is a showcase for Kundoo’s

architecture, a lyrical modernism at ease with the demands of its climate.

With the additional support of:

University of Queensland, Think Brick, Sharad Hegde,

Viabizzuno progettiamo la luce

19


20


21


22


23


24


25


26


27


28


29


30


31


32


33


34


35


The Hindu, Sunday, December 16,2012

(Chennai edition)

36


Uncommon Courage. Anupama Kundoo at the Biennale

We entered Anupama Kundoo’s generously allotted exhibition space in the

cavernous Corderie of the Arsenale as the corks popped. Champagne. 8 pm,

fourteen hours before Vernissage, the three-day preview of Common Ground.

Deborah and I had just flown in from Chennai. Work was still winding down.

Gathered there in the midst of Wall House 1:1 was an extraordinarily diverse

group. Anupama was hosting—toasting—in her own home, masons from

Tamil Nadu, students and engineers from The University of Queensland in

Australia, photographers from Germany and a variety of Italian professionals

from the official Biennale team, a group that made a fitting image of the

common ground.

“This is the first time that anyone has attempted a full scale installation in

the history of the Architectural Biennale.” Italian engineer Enzo Margis with 13

years of experience at the Biennale said.

I got a call from Australia in late April. From Anupama. “I have just been

accepted as an exhibiter at the Architecture Biennale in Venice. Need help.”

Back in the mid-90’s I made terracotta tubes and jack-arch elements for the

original Wall House in Auroville and was so taken by the concept that I wrote

about the house in Inside/Outside even before the house was finished.

Anupama: “I am going to rebuild my house—full scale—in the Corderie

37


of the Arsenale. Can you organize: Achakal, 70,000. Guna tiles, 5,000. Jack-arch

bricks, 500. Filler slab pots, 120 ... etc, etc? Need it by July 1. Exhibition opens

August 27.“ None of this stuff is off-the-shelf. Everything had to be made. I

identified the makers. Sekar, who would lead the team of masons in Venice, took

over collecting, packing and shipping. All was ready to go by end May. I think the

container actually docked in Venice on July 27th, one month before the opening.

Undaunted. Anupama has always been fearless. I mean she manages fear.

No one could take on a project of this scale, in this time frame, without serious

doubt. But she takes aim and lets go. After 18 years as an architect in Auroville

she went to Germany and earned a PhD at the University of Technology Berlin

(TU). She held the Chair for Environmental Technology and Material Sciences at

Parsons, the New School for Design in New York. Today she is Senior Lecturer

at the University of Queensland School of Architecture in Australia, and has

now come on a dizzying flight to the Biennale in Venice, widely considered the

world’s most important architectural exhibition.

Anupama: „By transplanting my Wall House, a contemporary project located

in rural India inside the walls of the Corderie in the Arsenale in Venice, I want

people to ‘feel’ the common ground. The ancient brick pillars of the Corderie, set

in lime mortar, sit side-by-side, shadow and embrace the south Indian brickwork,

also set in lime mortar. Two apparently divergent cultures, structures, materials

disappear into each other. It is non-confrontational play, a dialogue with no need

38


of an interpreter. It is mutual admiration, almost flirting. Instead of imposing

an autonomous object within the Corderie, I intend to reveal to the senses

the genius loci of the original space.“

Nothing to read. No photos. Nothing to look at really. Only the house. We

are standing quietly inside the art, no longer outsiders.

Anupama builds community. She delegates. She trusts. Her positivity propels.

She built a strong, loyal team of craftsmen in Auroville, and again, with

the students in Australia. In Venice she gave Sekar and his team from Tamil

Nadu the best accommodation. They felt perfectly at home, eating sambar

rice and pizza. They never got lost (I did) in the labyrinthine streets of Venice.

Sekar says, “We just moved from one temple (church) to the next.”

Collaborators. Harun Farocki spooled his brilliant film In Comparison,

layering and contrasting community and technology through the production

of bricks, from handmade in Burkina Faso in West Africa to mass produced

in highly sophisticated German super-machines, tracing the path of building

culture as community based, sometimes even as a social event, to an intellectual

construct centered far from the building site. Andreas Deffner’s documentation

of Wall House, as it evolved from the mid-1990’s to the present,

was ingeniously displayed in a compact set of photos the size of an achakal.

And my own film, Agni Jata (fire born) spooled, documenting my first test in

Auroville of a mud house stabilized in situ by fire.

39


Auroville. 1996. The Wall House. Fired clay. In bewildering array. Textured and

tactile. Inviting intimacy. Red orange, the color of Auroville soil, complement of

the forest green. We see the village pot as filler in a concrete slab, guna tiles for

vaulted roofs and jack-arches in extruded hollow clay segments. Bricks. Handmade.

Not the standard European size, but achakal, 18 × 10 × 2.5 cm used in vaults,

sprung low, and in walls where Anupama plays with scale, at once emphasizing

and subordinating the brick size in a massive fayade rendered delicate by the

rhythm of broad, deeply raked joints, off-white, the color of the lime mortar. Making

a bold and quite literal statement by coming to a point in an acute angle at

the northeast corner, the wall is introduced as the pivotal conceptual element of

this house.

Living between the lines. Wall House is a redefinition of borders and transitional

spaces in response to local climate and culture. The first-floor living corridor;

verging on the vaulted atrium, opens into nothing. This is a cliff house, a

sort of shallow cave dwelling on the edge of a cavern of cool interior air. Through

carefully orchestrated overlays of brickwork, punctuated by openings to the

forest and the sky beyond, outside and inside reverberate—unite—transparent

yet texturally rich, a spirited dialogue of density and depth, like a Zen painting,

where a few strokes of the brush offer space between the lines which I can enter

into—become a part of.

40


David Chipperfield’s brief encouraged architects to move beyond the

“individual, the privileged, the spectacular and the special.” Wall House is a

heady blend—a complex weave where spatial sophistication and material

elegance converge in an innovative, evolving architectural language that

recognizes “continuity, context and memory.”

10 pm. Anupama Kundoo, exhausted, yet still radiant, is ready for the

Vernissage.

Ray Meeker

Pondicherry

November 2012

Ray Meeker studied architecture and ceramics at the University of

Southern California. With his wife, Deborah Smith, he founded the

Golden Bridge Pottery, Pondicherry, South India, in 1971. Through

his experiments in ‘fired building’ he has gained recognition from

the architectural community in India.

41


Anupama Kundoo

Wall House One to One

Participating project to the 13 th International

Architecture Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia

Common Ground

29 th August –25 th November 2012

Venice, Italy

Architecture in full scale.

Celebrating the ‘hand’.

Emphasizing material, technology,

and sustainability.

With the support of

The University of Queensland

Think Brick

Sharad Hegde

© 2012 Anupama Kundoo, for the images by

Andreas Deffner (10) ,Kaylene Biggs (2)

Floor plan and cross section: Jessica Spresser

Concept, design and production:

Büro Fleischmann · Prof. Gerd Fleischmann,

Ulrichshusen, Germany

Printing: druckhaus koethen GmbH ·

www.koethen.de

Created and presented to accompany the work

of Anupama Kundoo at the 13th International

Architecture Exhibition with the contribution of

la Biennale di Venezia 2012

Printed in Germany 08/2012

42

Hooray! Your file is uploaded and ready to be published.

Saved successfully!

Ooh no, something went wrong!