Thotti Mane

Thotti Mane-   House with a central court and circulation around it. Thotti manes have been in existence since times immemorial. Huge houses built around open to sky central court which was always filled with lot of activities – children playing around, women folks drying the grains or mangoes for making pickles, old people relaxing in the verandah. A space which connected all the age group people together.

The Thotti Mane still holds the central place in many people’s hearts. The design of the space, Mangalore tiles and Wooden column touches the soul directly and establishes a strong connect making it a happier space to use.

Construction of Pagoda style cottage

Project Name – Pagoda Cottages at Pyramid Valley International

Location – Bangalore, Karnataka

Client – The Pyramid Spiritual Trust

Architect – Bharathi Prem Associates

About the Architect – Bharathi Prem did her B.Arch from UVCE, Bengaluru, in the year 1995 and also a LEED AP from USGBC. Bharathi Prem (BPA) Associates was started by Bharathi Prem and Prem Kumar in the year 2000. BPA is a small controlled practice, designing, residential, commercial, institutional, hospitality projects, which is characterized by certain quality, material integrity, with a spiritual essence. It nurtures the wide variety and scales of its projects and is not defined by a particular genre, but being harmonious with the surroundings as well as the users.

Design Approach – We strongly believe in realizing more than a building, we to create a space, a destination capturing the spiritual essence of the place. Our philosophy is to create simple harmonious buildings for the user and the surroundings, with a very humane approach.

We play music that nobody can hear; it is frozen music, to be peaceful and happy, to be in harmony with the surroundings, making the dreams a reality. Our music is frozen in the form of structure, volume, scale, creating a blend with space and nature.

We enjoy the process of stitching the building to its surroundings by articulating and ensuring that there is always a connection with the ground and have a continuous dialogue with the each other. We also believe that sustainable design is never an option but a basic pre-requisite for the right design. We try to create a perfect harmony, a symphony between space and matter, an extension of the character, belief thus making a relationship with the surroundings and the elements an extension of his consciousness, expression of freedom. We connect harmoniously various elements with his dreams and vision, create a blend between wood and mud, stone and steel, glass and granite.

Materials Used – Overview of the materials used throughout the site –

  • Exposed bricks
  • Ferro-cement slab
  • Shabad stone
  • Sadarahalli stones
  • Bamboo poles

The material palette ranges from wire-cut bricks, shahbad stones for flooring and locally available granite. Ferro-cement slabs are used reinforcing the sense of simplicity, devoid of anything pretentious. The deliberate use of raw and rustic materials for the interiors and exteriors is an attempt to express the materials in their truest forms.

Introduction – Pyramid Valley international is a serene spiritual centre in 28 acres of land located amidst hillocks and tree. This beautiful, serene, tranquil campus invokes instinctive calmness and serenity with a large meditation pyramid. This pyramid attracts visitors from all over the world. To accommodate these visitors, various facilities are constructed. One such facility is the Pagoda styled cottages.

Architecture – The cottages are designed such that they dictate sheer simplicity. The architecture treads very lightly on the ground on which these cottages sit, bringing into focus the minimalism of the structures. Even though the architecture is simplistic, the cottages are comfortable and aesthetically pleasing. An attempt has been done to reinterpret the strong traditional Pagoda style structure in a contemporary style, which is reminiscent of ideologies in spirituality and Zen. Highlighting the pyramid was one of the basic guideline considered while designing.

Design – The cottages are as simple and basic as can be. It provides the guests all the essential amenities that would be required. Each block has two cottages shared by a common wall. The two blocks are separated by a landscaped garden. The cottages are designed so as to be let out individually as 8 rooms during peak seasons, maximising the facility’s capacity to accommodate guests.

The spaces within the cottages are done up modestly with a soaking pond, against walls of exposed bricks. There is a large window facing and framing the pyramid, maintaining it as the focal point. Each cottage has a semi closed verandah, bedroom, a living area, a kitchenette and two toilets. The verandah is an ingenious design that helps to keep the cottages comfortable even during summer season. It provides as an efficient buffer for the summer heat. The verandah also facilitates introspective time for the meditator, looking out into the scenic greenery and the pyramid in the distance. Split level ventilation and double height spaces that support conventional current, makes these cottages independent of artificial air-conditioning. The roof does not serve only as a visual treat to the eyes, but also adds to the character and ventilation of the cottages.

Landscape – The court in between the two cottages is designed as a dry and green space. This area is inspired from the Yin and Yang principle of spirituality in accordance to the basic design fabric revolving across the site. The yin and yang pattern is manicured in the landscaped area. The green grass and white pebbles help creating the effect of yin and yang. Stepping stones interspersed with grass is a refreshing change from the raw appeal of the exposed brick walls. Also, bamboo poles are used to define the court area from the cottage space.

Journey…..

We are trained for many years, from our birth to see, connect, compare, build, attribute the path of success through external measures. Our sense organs are trained to  believe and value the external factors, on the path of this external journey we loose the connect with our own inward journey which is much more fabulous,astonishing and boundless, but the main glitch is this has to be experienced individually to taste its nectar.By being in unison with the internal  soul the horizon expands, miracles just flow, We become sensitive to the surroundings and beautiful creations just flow.Simple act of being in connection with the inner self has become the hardest part. We all should explore and experience the beauty of the inner journey.

CITIES

Looking at the massive influx of people to cities, I always wonder should we kill a city of its charm and heritage in the name of development or decentralise and make sustainable development across various cities and connect each of them with efficient transport system. Each city can breathe, sustain themselves, families can stay together, fabric of the society can be retained. Standardized Uniform Health and Education across the cities will drastically reduce the migration of people to very huge extent thus making way for a de-centralised development across. The huge developments happening in the major cities is a worrying fact. No thought has been given whether the city can provide the basic needs like water, drainage system, power for such growth. Its very dis-heartening to see the villages being engulfed by such developments and forcibly making the rural people adapt to a city lifestyle. Uniform development across various zones in a state will control the migration, creates more happiness, social fabric becomes stronger. My thoughts seeing the huge developments around.

SWALPA ADJUST MADKOLI ……. City of Bengaluru

Bengaluru a pensioners Paradise, Garden City, Silicon Valley, a city interwoven with fabrics of culture, economics, technology, ecology. Also a City which lives by the statement of Swalpa Adjust Madkoli….

Growing up and living in this city hearing the most popular phrase we have embraced People from everywhere. Initially the Pleasant Climate of our city, lined with huge trees, Garden spaces, huge lakes which were catering to our water requirement attracted people. More people migrated to this city with opening of many Public sector units, educational Institutions, Health care Hospitals. The rich multi-cultural fabric of the city was a pleasant siesta with music, dance performances, and theatres. The streets were vibrant, colourful, and interactive with the street vendors, chirping sound of the birds, dark skies with shining stars, sensitive souls greeting each other. Social bonding factors were the pleasant walks to the nearby parks, temples, religious festivals. The Festivals brought in an aroma of excitement, colour, happiness, freshness, social bonding in the entire neighborhood.

Past half century has been a time of Unprecedented Wealth creation, technological revolution resulting in an explosion of built forms without voice of its own nor interwoven with the surroundings disturbing the sensitive social and cultural fabric of what existed. People just moved in rather than settling in to understand and contribute to the fabric what existed. This explosion of growth thrusted on us has come at a high price creating an irreversible imbalance in the ecology, social life, economic inequalities, and dis-oriented life. The urban fabric is woven with shopping malls, gated communities, huge apartments, buildings where usefulness is over powered by form and beauty, causing lot of dissonance. The density of the space has exploded by once large plots and colonial bungalows giving way for multistoried structures.

The unprecedented, mindless growth thrusted on the city has made the governing bodies to handle the issues in crisis rather than having a planned urban growth. We presently have more resources than the past to understand, plan, maintain the ecological balance but not used creatively in developing a vision for clean, safe, efficient livable space. A Chaotic Urban sprawl has developed with the disappearing dialogue between the past, present and the surroundings. With the overall vision of the city not clear the structures look dis harmonious, inspite of having more Architects than the past, advanced technology, resources.

Our practices are creating more luxurious places of indulgence and private spaces, but failing to transcend the beauty and usefulness of these to the common public spaces. The city population are increasing but the cityscapes to hold them are still primitive. We have been busy designing the structures, innovation in materials, texture, crafts but failing to integrate this with the city scape.

The city has been a witness to the rise of innumerable buildings but we still relate to and study for the architectural elements of Scale, Proportion, Balance, harmony symmetry, etc., in the structures built earlier. Presently our city is a frozen place with the lack of access to the basic essentials of clean air, water, efficient transport system. We are home for some of the brilliant minds, brilliant educational institutions but still primitive in solving our basic issues like Garbage disposal, handling of the Rain water, proper usable roads. We have a pleasant climate but taking walks to the nearest place is also a big No due to lack of simple footpaths.

We all are living a Swalpa Adjust Madkondu life ,filling our lakes, blocking the rain water channels, breathing polluted air, eating poisonous food, building incoherent structures, creating an irreversible damage to ecology. It is time for us to work in making this city livable, smart, lively by creating healthy interactive urban spaces to hook the people of all generation enriching the social fabric and finding a new meaning for our popular phrase.

Architecture

Times were there where we could count the architects on fingers who created remarkable, nostalgic memorable structures. Now filled with many architects, architecture schools mushrooming like weeds, Architects are involving themselves in creating Architecture of Indulgence and private Spaces. But why are we unable to transcend the usefulness and beauty of these spaces to common public spaces.City populations are increasing but the city scapes to hold these people are still primitive.With the advancement in technology and creativity why have we failed to create efficient Public places ( lalbagh and cubbon park) which makes people of all generation and interest to flock.

Has the importance for being the objects of beauty and standing out taking away the usefulness of architecture ? The discussion on materials, craft, texture has become the foremost topic of discussion. we all are busy designing the spaces of Architecture of indulgence neglecting the element of  Public usefulness. We still study the examples  of the monumental buildings for the elements of Architecture like the scale, proportion, harmony, symmetry, beauty,etc., why is it tough to source an example from the recent structures in the neighborhood which can define these Architectural principles.Have these elements lost relevance in the present time of construction? Do we need to Change the vocabulary of Architecture, introduce elements of De-construction?   Is the element usefulness of the space being obsolete when compared to the form, beauty, style?

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