By : wadeindia | 27 Aug 2019 | TRENDING WADe TOPICS
Ar Revathi Kamath: A pioneer of mud architecture in India – WADE ASIA
Revathi Kamath, is an ingenious architect who has dedicated her life to mud architecture and has made the world aware about the diversity,durability and dazzle it has. Ar Kamath has been practicing with her husband, Ar Vasant Kamath and son, Ar Ayodh Kamath in a design practice called Kamath Design Studio in New Delhi. According to her each of them drives their individual projects yet garnering the power of shared learning. Her 40 year-long, enriching career boasts of a plethora of projects under her belt. “My work essentially involves traditional architectural methods and incorporating them into contemporary context. More so, it is focused on integrating craft and indigenous skills into contemporary architectural ensembles”, she enlightens about her craft.
She has revolutionised mud which was considered a conventional material in India albeit for the underprivileged sections. Her inclination, inclusion, and passion towards it have triggered sensitivity and inspired many architects to incorporate it in their aesthetics.
Museum for Tribal Heritage, Bhopal
She has always believed architecture to be her one and true calling and admittedly says, “I always wanted to study architecture. There was nothing else I wanted to do and that was since I was six years old!” No wonder her sheer dedication is represented in her works as her mud structures in Goa and Kerala have stood by the test of time and are outdoing the lifespan of many concrete structures. Speak about what made her so passionate about such (vernacular) form of architecture and she says, “While I was studying architecture, I felt that there was not enough emphasis on indigenous consciousness and history and there were not enough examples of the lessons we were taught from history”. “So I decided to integrate contemporary self expressions with indigenous from day one and my first project, adds Ar Kamath, emulates a tradition of building with earth”.
Through her first encounter with mud in this very first project, she also reflected her consideration towards the needy and lesser-privileged. “The first project I did was with Rajeev Sethi and it was the Anand Ram Project. I work with the Bole Bishre Kalakar Sehkari Sehmiti and I designed a habitat for 350 members, who were traditional performing artists and craftspeople, and I didn’t design FOR them but I designed WITH them and they designed with me and it was really a common kind of consciousness, which pervaded the design”, she recalls,while speaking of her first stint. “I think they really felt it was theirs and fought for it for so many years. The government has not yet given it to them, I hope it does so in the future,” adds an empathetic Ar Kamath.
The Mud House – Katchi Kothi, Haryana
In another project of hers which was a slum under a flyover in Shadipur depot, the people living there collected materials, dabbed a hole, collected mud and then mud-plastered their living area. That is how and where her imaginations with mud has sprung off which have later shaped into colossal classic constructions. “Where we build houses, the way we design the houses, the way people actually live there – these aspects have stayed with me throughout the 40 years of my practice. I always work with the client rather than for the client,” comments the architect on her working style.
One of her most coveted projects remains to be the stainless steel structure which is touted to be the ‘tallest stainless steel structure’ in India. “People who have been moved by my work and who want to invest money in the kind of work that I do –I only work with such people, says Ar Kamath with utmost pride yet in all humbleness. I think that certainly gives my work much more clarity and then there is a kind of definite flow of ideas from one project to the other,” she adds in the end.
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