Wall House

Wall House

Architect
Anupama Kundoo Architects
Location
Auroville, Tamil Nadu, India | View Map
Project Year
2000
Category
Private Houses
© Javier Callejas

Wall House

Anupama Kundoo Architects as Architects

Wall House, Kundoo’s own residence, is situated outside the city of Auroville, in any three of them support for the table area designated for research and experimentation. It has become a prototype for her later work. A long, vaulted space within the brick masonry, 2.2 metres in width, accommodates the various activities arranged in a row. The linear space spills over to the north east into alcoves and projections, and on the south west under the large overhang of the main vaulted roof.

The design of the house ensures that the activities are cocooned into private secure spaces, while living areas are open to nature, where boundaries between inside and outside are dissolved. After living in the simple Hut Petite Ferme, Kundoo decided to avoid the most conventional building technologies, which are costly, energy-intensive and exclude local craftsmen. Instead Kundoo began investigating preindustrial achakal bricks and lime mortar that were still being produced locally. She developed various terracotta roofing systems that could provide a livelihood for local potters who had to compete with the growing metal and plastic industry.

Negotiating the balance between hi-tech and low-tech, between handmade and machine-made, these hybrid technologies focus on new ways of using age-old local materials. The exposed masonry of bricks set in lime mortar is scaled down by the 2.5-centimetre thick achakal bricks, which require far less energy to make than factory bricks. Catenary vaults using custom-made hollow clay tubes insulate and eliminate the need for structural steel. Vaults in the ground floor use achakal bricks structurally. Flat terraces use custom-made trapezoid modules over partly pre-cast beams as in a jack arch. Terracotta pots are used as fillers on intermediate floors to increase the effective depth of concrete while minimising the volume of concrete and steel. The double height volume of the house enhances the air stack movement and increases the draft of natural ventilation.

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