In Focus -
Anuradha & Krishna
Hear what the ‘Mad Mud Architects’say...
Anu graduated from SAP,Anna University,Chennai in ‘88 and Krishna from SPA , Delhi in ‘ 87. They jokingly refer to themselves as the ‘Mad Mud architects’! Significantly inspired by Gandhi and Laurie Baker’ s ideas on building with local materials and local artisans, they say, however, that their buildings are not in the Laurie Baker style. They have been mainly working with rural and tribal communities in different parts of India although they have done some buildings for the TVS Brake India factory in Sholinghur.
All their buildings have been built with mud technologies suitable for present day lifestyles - and that’s no mean feat. Surprisingly, albeit responsibly, they do not aim for low cost but for low energy! Cost might become lower in the process. For them, buildings are not products but processes. Wherever they build they strive to train groups of local youth in these alternate technologies so that the building process is a livelihood option for them. Most conventional buildings spend more on materials and less on labour! They try to reverse the trend and use more labour intensive techniques( eg.arch instead of lintels, stabilised soil blocks instead of concrete blocks etc.) so that the money for the building goes into the local community and boosts the local economy.
Over the years, they have been very impressed by the way each traditional rural and tribal community built uniquely responding to their particular climate and terrain and humbly claim that they have learnt a lot from them!
Living and working with tribal communities has made them realise how important education is for people and how dismal the education system is in these areas! They also realise that an architect cannot remain a specialist with singular focus when living in a village - they have had to help with education. So for the last 17 years they have been running a resource centre for tribal children, called Thulir, in Sittilingi village, Dharmapuri where the couple is based. They ran an after school learning centre for govt school children and a basic technology course for young people for 11 years. In 2015 they started a primary school for tribal children. They are proud of the fact that their school has been built entirely by the ex students of their basic technology course and uses recycled waste materials as much as possible!
Visit their website for more fascinating stories
Anu and Krishna have built in Gandhigram, Sholinghur, Gudalur and Sittilingi in Tamilnadu,Timbaktu Collective in Anantapur,Andhra and post earthquake reconstruction work in villages around Bhuj, Gujarat. They are justifiably proud of their unique renovation of a hundred year old building for the Hammer Commune in Germany.