KOCHI: The Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB) 2016 -17 pavilion, which was designed and built by principal architect Tony Joseph of Stapati bagged the prestigious NDTV’s fifth edition of Design and Architecture Project of the Year Award. Selected from among the winners of the various categories, the KMB pavilion also won the Best Project award in the Institutional category.These highly coveted awards, which were announced in New Delhi recently, focus on the complexities of a building project from a design, aesthetic, sustainability and conservation perspective as well as a strong sense of purpose.
Stapati is an architecture practice established by Tony Joseph in 1989 and its architecture emerges from a sensitive understanding of the context: one where the evolution of design is firmly rooted in the region’s traditional narratives, while interpreting the elements in a modern context.Joseph, who had also participated in the KMB 2016 -17, built the award-winning pavilion by using the recycled debris and discarded materials from Kochi. Though a rugged exterior sprawled over 4,157 sq.ft, the pavilion was an air-conditioned space with a distinct amphitheatre feel that could accommodate 300 people.
Expressing happiness on winning the award, Bose Krishnamachari, president, Kochi Biennale Foundation (KBF), said, “The aesthetic elegance created using unconventional and unused materials like old sarees, t-shirts and the like with its ‘ temporality’ made this pavilion, different. This accentuated the feel in such a way it became a memorable experience for the audience.”Bose said it could not have been possible without the support ofthe people of Kochi, the Kerala government and other well-wishers. “Since the country’s art ecosystem is rapidly progressing, we are proud to play a prominent role in its evolution,” he added.
Internationally acclaimed artist Sudarshan Shetty who curated the KMB 2016 -17said, “I feel proud to have this project included in the Biennale. It is a mark of recognition for Tony’s architectural skill to be able to bring together things which are unconventional ideas and materials to construct a beautiful structure while at the same time making it enormously functional too.” The artist added: “I am also elated to know that some of the decisions we made have borne fruits.”
The concept of the design evolved from the context of the site, drawing parallels to the surrounding fabric of Fort Kochi, with its stock of dilapidated godowns and adaptively reused structures.
Stapati also features for the fifth year on the trot in the ‘AD 100’ list of the Most Influential Designers in the Subcontinent in 2018 by Architectural Digest.