Dialogues on design

CAF is a 17-year-old trust to promote discourse in design and art in all its forms and is held together by a group of professionals.
Dialogues on design

CHENNAI: Imagine a single-storey dwelling, its walls fashioned from compressed earth blocks, and its pitched roof crafted from teak and coconut wood sourced from the local area. Inside, there are two bedrooms, a spacious hall, and a sheltered courtyard. This open area serves not only as a dining room but also as a communal space where residents gather to socialise or quietly mend their fishing nets.

This was the design that Japanese architect Shigeru Ban had made specifically using earth materials to rebuild a Sri Lankan fishing village devastated by the 2004 tsunami. The Pritzker Architecture Prize laureate has a lot more lessons of unique models of architecture to impart, from Tainan Art Museum, Paper Dome to Shutter House. Hence, when SEED and Living etc, organisations from Kochi ,decided to bring the architect to their city, architects of Chennai Architecture Foundation (CAF) thought it would be a great idea to bring him to namma ooru too.

Architect Pramod Balakrishnan, trustee of CAF shares, “Shigeru Ban has won an award in 2014 that is the most prestigious one in the field of architecture. His work is completely different and includes a lot of earth materials like wood and timber. He has worked across various kinds of typologies. His work in disaster areas is phenomenal. His other works also carry the same attitude to the built. He also does regular work which includes designing museums and schools. Sustainability is the main message through his designs. It’s the first time for chennai that such a reputed international architect who works around the world is coming.”

Shigeru Ban
Shigeru Ban

The event is a presentation by him of his works and interaction with the audience and is being organised at Kalakshetra. “We wanted to select a venue that is akin to his model of work, rather than conduct the interaction at some hotel. We thought Kalakshetra would be the perfect place for it. People coming for the interaction can also go through the architecture of the venue and not many people might have seen it from the inside,” says Pramod. Since Japanese culture is entirely different from Indian culture, there is a lot to learn. He adds, “It will be a good exposure for everyone. Usually international architects won’t come to Chennai and people in places like Ahmedabad, Delhi, Mumbai will get exposed to a lot of such lectures. This is an opportunity for Chennaiites.”

CAF is a 17-year-old trust to promote discourse in design and art in all its forms and is held together by a group of professionals. They conduct conversations in architecture, the city, music, films etc. Pramod says, “All our events are open to all and we don’t charge a fee. Even the Shigeru Ban event is free for all. We want people who share an interest in architecture to come together. The venue can accommodate 600-800 people. Through interactions like these we aim to look at changing the desires of designing.”

The interaction will be conducted at the Kalakshetra auditorium on June 22 at 5 pm.

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