Monday, July 28, 2008

Architecture of India: The Auroville Experiment

Photo courtesy of Auroville C.U.R

"Auroville wants to be a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. The purpose of Auroville is to realize human unity."

However 40 years later;

"The Auroville experiment, started as one person’s mystic dream in 1968, is far from complete. Of the projected 50,000 population that the master plan envisions, Auroville has barely 2000 permanent residents almost a half-century later. The community is charged with being elitist, being dependent upon – and exploiting – neighboring villages for its survival, and with exacerbating the divide between Indians and aliens," says Ashish Nangia.
"It has been nearly 40 years since that time, and Auroville’s growth has not been spectacular. The community relies heavily on neighbouring Pondicherry and the surrounding countryside for its economic and social survival. However, what has worked as a completed project is the Matri Mandir at the canter of the plan; as well as several innovative architectural projects that are remarkable for their elegance and commitment to environmental concerns. It is time to look again at this little community in the deep south of India," the writer adds.

Auroville Drawings


"The Auroville Centre for Urban research (ACUR) is a unique attempt to combine studies and investigations in Urban Development with an actual field of practical implementation.

It is located in Auroville, Tamil Nadu (India), an universal township under construction and serves the dual purpose to constitute the first administrative nucleus of the emerging city, a centre for elaboration of innovative approaches to the development of the city and a place for exchange of experiences and communication at the national and international levels with urban researchers, civic administrators, city stakeholders and NGOs.
The construction of this centre has been made possible thanks to a contribution of the European Commission under the Asia-Urbs programme , the Dutch based NGO Stichting De Zaaier and direct funds from Auroville.

Auroville Plan

The centre hosts some of the civic bodies of Auroville, the technical offices involved in regional planning and researching, a conference room and a multimedia-library on town planning, urban research, and regional development.
As Auroville is a city under construction located into what has been so far a predominantly rural area, the issue of a proper urban-rural linkage is one of the core areas of research and ACUR aims to work towards planning sustainable development solutions also at the level of the regional surrounding rural area.

Networking with other cities and institutions in India and abroad is another component of our research activity. As a spin-off of a project initially started inside the Asia-urbs programme (City Networking for Sustainable Development and Human Unity), ACUR offers support to other Indian cities interested in linking with European cities and other institutions.

Models of Auroville

It also offers facilities for training programmes on urban management and a multimedia library - with documentation on subjects like urbanisation, sustainable growth of cities, diffusion of appropriate technologies, and rural-urban relations - is available for individual students and researches."

Development Plan of Auroville

In February 1968, with government approval, the utopian community of Auroville was inaugurated. Its master plan – strikingly empty for the moment – consisted of a formal expression of Mira’s vision – that of four arms radiating from a center marking off four zones of activity – residential, cultural, international and industrial.

Two Houses in Auroville

More @ | Master Plan of Auroville | Official site of Auroville
All the Photos by the courtesy of Auroville C.U.R and

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