Matrimandir Reception and Exhibition Space:
The Visitors' Centre - with Suhasini as architect and Logu as contractor - has completed the building of a new exhibition and reception space for Matrimandir.
This ground floor facility is adjoining the main Auroville exhibition hall - you just walk from one into the other, making it easily accessible for all. It allows us to regroup activities under one roof and greatly helps in managing the flow of visitors. It houses:
- An exhibition hall, with a beautiful new exhibition - done by Leonard - on Matrimandir featuring the original rosewood model of the Matrimandir and Gardens,
- A video room showing videos on Matrimandir
- The Blue Room with its adjacent office dedicated to the reception of special guests
- A space for exhibitions on all aspects of Auroville - which is almost ready.
This new building is being financed by the commercial activities at the Visitors' Centre with Matrimandir providing material - the earth for the walls and the stones for the paving of the verandahs - and covering the cost of the exhibition and the projector. The building is a structure of concrete beams with rammed earth walls.
International Zone Exhibition:
A low cost open air exhibition space has been created for displaying the colourful exhibition on the International Zone of Auroville. This exhibition enables us to convey the international dimension of Auroville, present the facilities, activities and institutions of the International Zone and share the work done by the National Pavilions.
The International Zone group provided us with the flex panels and a small grant from PCG was used to create simple metal frames with small rain protections made of recycled material. This frame just became ready as the cyclone struck, narrowly missing it but bringing down the shade trees. We then had to construct a simple sunshade over the exhibition area which so far has been sufficient to prevent any fading of the panels. Thanks to Francine from AVI France for coming up with the idea and to Jaya and Shivaya for a great help.
Aquadyn water at the parking:
Aquadyn and Visitors' Centre teamed up to provide dynamised water at the visitors' parking, giving Aquadyn a good exposure to the public.
This facility, aimed primarily at the visitors serves also villagers and Aurovilians. It is available daily from 6am to 7pm. It has been financed jointly by Aquadyn and the Visitors' Centre.
We have widened the availability of brochures and leaflets on Auroville to visitors in their own language with translations into Chinese, Telugu, Italian, Bengali and Spanish and have received new publications on different aspects of Auroville from design to wildlife, as well as compilations from a range of Aurovilian authors.
Extension of Kalki Boutique:
New watchman's house and storeroom: The 2 old nubian vaults - part watchman's house, part storeroom - had to be taken down to allow some needed space for the extension of Kalki Boutique. Kalki Boutique financed the building of a new watchman house/storeroom which also has a toilet /shower and changing room for the employees. It is located next to the check post. The building of Kalki Boutique extension is ongoing.
With the help of Auronevi, a beautiful simply landscaped garden and pond were created at the visitors' entrance to the compound.
And last but not least....Waterless urinals: After trying out successfully a simple method of waterless urinals at the parking, we transformed the gents urinals in the main toilets into waterless urinals. It works!
This step is part of our effort to reduce water consumption and upgrade our water treatment plant.
Projects for 2012/2013 include:
- Using the 2 rooms upstairs - previously housing the old Matrimandir exhibition and video space - for an exhibition on "Sri Aurobindo, Mother: the advent of a new world".
- Preparing an exhibition on Auroville's best practices conceived as part exhibition/presentation on Auroville's creativity and research, and part advertising for units engaged in research activities. It will aim to convey through various means the wide range of avenues through which Auroville's energy is manifested.
- Creating an Art Gallery on the first floor of the new building to give the public access to the work of Auroville artists.
Fundraising for all these projects is underway.
2011-2012 Financial Report
The Visitors' Centre's income comes exclusively from the contributions given by all the commercial units operating at Visitors' Centre. These contributions are based on space used and turnover. In addition Visitors' Centre receives every unit's contributions to the common electricity and diesel bills.
Visitors' Centre also receives 10% from all the money spent on new construction from the boutiques etc... so that the public spaces, - paths, garden, facilities and services - can also be upgraded. This year those amounts have gone directly to help build the Matrimandir Reception and Exhibition space.
The Parking account is separate. All income from the Parking goes to City Services who allocate a budget to cover the wages and part of the maintenance of the parking, the free shuttles for handicapped, the footpath to Matrimandir, etc... Visitors' Centre contributes for the infrastructure and for maintenance expenses not covered by City Services.
photos by Giorgio and Manohar