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Samskara, Made in India © 2014 Anshika Varma

Residences

Paul and Claudine

Auroville, India
2002 – 2003
Client: Paul and Claudine
Project Team: Anupama Kundoo, Sheril Castelino, Vinayagam
Contractor: Kolam
The inhabitants wanted a simple and compact little house in Auroville to address their simple needs: a living dining and kitchen area on the ground floor. A bedroom with an attached bath and dressing area on one side, a little terrace with a mini pool on the other, on the first floor.

The living area is raised, and is surrounded by three alcoves with rough granite cills.
There is a direct contact with the open kitchen and the living area with the entrance and dining areas between them. Warm earth colours define the mood of the house, the walls being built with cement-stabilised rammed earth from the site, and a similar shade of pigment used as the IPS floor finish.

A staircase without handrails, in the same finish takes one to the upper floor. The bedroom is on a raised platform and tucked partly into the bed alcove. Storage space is claimed below the platform. The bed overlooks a little open-to sky terrace with a really tiny pool, a little bigger than a bathtub, primarily for chilling out in the hot weather. The garden is watered out of this pool daily. Rough granite that is used as coping slabs, contributes to the outdoor feeling.

The bathroom and dressing area are also very simple, the surfaces finished with stucco plaster containing marble dust. The upper floor is characterised by the warmth lent to its white walls by the terracotta under surface of the insulated vault roof, as well as the earth coloured IPS floor finish.

Furniture is more or less avoided deliberately, and most of the needs are met with by built-in solutions. Alcoves, cills, platforms and parapet heights take seating into account and one can sit comfortably in many places.

Uncluttered spaces have been created devoid of furniture, so that in spite of being small, the space itself could be experienced as the essential quality, rather than the numerous objects that one possesses and gathers in the course of living. This gives the house a timeless quality. And gives the narrow spaces of the house the quality, of a much more generous space that is flowing into each other in continuity, which is flowing freely between inside and outside. This gives the inhabitants the feeling of having space for their future instead of the feeling that their space is already occupied with the things of their past.

The result is an elegance of beauty in simplicity, revealing the underlying nature of things rather than the superficial details of their manifestation.