The housing of Prarthna started as a conventional
housing development with an array of Apartment blocks comprising
of different types of Housing units. But after the first 2 blocks
it became clear that a mixed land use of row houses and apartments
would be more appropriate for the needs of Auroville. Auroville
is a society of extreme cultural, social and economic diversity
and often the lifestyle of the people are very different to be accommodated
within the narrow range of different housing types of 2 bed/bath
or 3 bed/2 bath………….We needed to explore a more site specific and
climatically suitable principle of housing.
Taking this into account the neo-urbanism model
of using streets and semi private green spaces was adapted into
the site plan. This was enhanced by evolving a building language
that was inspired from the vernacular forms of costal Tamil Nadu.
The concept of using transition spaces that are verandahs, sit outs
and terraces as the living spaces with a cascade of shading roofs
in terracotta tiles as the skyline.
As this was then the unifying element in the
housing, one could then freely explore the internal layout of the
houses to the needs and lifestyle of the occupant.
Like most of the projects done by the Architecture
Dept, Auroville Building Centre the guiding principles are
- Solar passive design
- Participatory design process with the end
- Flexibility of functions within spaces
- Low input construction techniques and materials
- Recycling of waste water
- Minimalism of built form