Hut Petite Ferme

Hut Petite Ferme

Architect
Anupama Kundoo Architects
Location
Auroville, Tamil Nadu, India | View Map
Project Year
1990
Category
Private Houses
© Andreas Deffner

Hut Petite Ferme

Anupama Kundoo Architects as Architects

Hut Petite Ferme is the first home designed by Anupama Kundoo for herself, just after she had graduated as an architect from Bombay and was travelling around in rural India. The process coincided with her personal journey and her quest for personal freedom from the need for permanence when it came to shelter. Hut Petite Ferme was inspired by the simplicity of shelters in villages mostly constructed as self-built thatched mud structures, as well as the more complex thatch ‘capsules’ she encountered in Auroville’s pioneering years with their triangulated geometry, developed by the Australian architect Johnny Allen.

The round wooden structures of untreated casuarina trees tied together with coconut rope stood on rough-cut granite stilts that prevented termites from reaching the wood. The upper floor was of split pakamaram palm stems, and woven coconut leaves were the roof finish. The bedroom, a raised platform, was tucked into an alcove, and a sittinghammock hung within another small alcove. Two solar panels took care of the lighting and music; a black plastic bag hung outdoors provided warm water in the colder months, and used shower water to feed papaya and banana plants beside the salad and vegetable garden. Round wood, as opposed to timber with rectangular profiles, can be used directly after felling, regardless of its irregular shapes.

A relatively young tree provides the same cross-sectional strength as a much older tree needs to provide an equivalent rectangular profile. Round wood construction provides a viable alternative for building with wood as a cultivated natural building material. She lived here during the first decade of her architectural practice, and the experience had a profound effect on her holistic design approach, which looked at the life cycle of buildings and reviewed climatic comfort strategies – spending resources judiciously and looking for beauty in simplicity.

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