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Anupama Kundoo’s internationally recognised and awardwinning
architecture practice, started in 1990, demonstrates a strong focus on material research.

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I-Me-Myself

April 24, Pune
PhD in Architecture, Technische Universitaet Berlin (2008)
Anupama Kundoo Architects Auroville/Madrid, 1990 to date
Auroville
Tamil Nadu
India

Anupama Kundoo’s internationally recognised and awardwinning architecture practice, started in 1990, demonstrates a strong focus on material research and experimentation towards low environmental impact architecture that is appropriate to the socio-economic context. Kundoo has built extensively in India and has worked, researched and taught in a variety of cultural contexts: TU Berlin, AA School of Architecture London, Parsons New School of Design New York, UQ Brisbane, IUAV Venice, ETSAB Barcelona and Cornell University where she was the Strauch Visiting Critic. She is currently Professor at UCJC Madrid where she is Chair of ‘Affordable Habitat’.

Kundoo’s work extends to urban design and planning projects, with her background in rapid urbanisation related development issues, about which she has written extensively. Her book chapter ‘Rethinking affordability in economic and environmental terms’ in the Routledge publication ‘Inclusive Urbanisation: Rethinking Policy, Practice and Research in the Age of Climate Change’, 2015. She is the author of ‘Roger Anger: Research on Beauty/Recherche sur la Beauté, Architecture 1958-2008’ published in Berlin by Jovis Verlag in 2009.

Her recent works include ‘Feel the Ground, Wall House 1:1’ full-scale facsimile of the original project at the 13th Architecture Biennale in Venice, 2012, under the theme ‘Common Ground’ curated by Sir David Chipperfield; ‘Unbound: The Library of Lost Books’ a pavilion in Plaza Salvador Segui, Barcelona; ‘Inverse Functions: a vision for a future city’, in the context of ‘The Future of the African continent: possible urban scenarios’ being exhibited at the Milan Triennale from October 13, 2014; Nandalal Trust Library in Pondicherry and ‘Full Fill Homes’ in Auroville. Her installation ‘Building Knowledge: An inventory of strategies’ has been invited to the 15th Architecture Biennale in Venice 2016 by recent Pritzker laureate Alejandro Aravena opening in May 2016.

 

Anupama Kundoo was born in Pune, India in 1967. Shegraduated from Sir JJ College of Architecture, University of Mumbai in 1989. Kundoo received an honourable mention in the first edition of ArcVision International Prize for Women in Architecture for ‘her dedication when approaching the problem of affordability of construction and sustainability in all aspects’.

Awards

NDTV Award
2015

for best Commercial Interior of the year.

Dr. V. D. Joshi award
2013

for the best Ferrocement structure for 'Light Matters affordable housing prototype', by the Ferrocement Society of India. 2013

Honourable Mention
2013

Arc Vision Women Architect of the Year

Architect of the Year Award
2003

Category Group Housing, JK, India.

Architect of the Year Award
1999

Category Young Architect, Focus State Tamil Nadu, JK Cement, India.

Sharing a special experience...

“One of the women helpers at our construction site asked me once, why women have to do the menial (and strenuous) jobs of carrying bricks etc rather than have opportunities to paint walls, lay tiles etc that would be easier for them and allow them to earn thrice as much while being more creative and skilled. She asked me how I as a woman could reach up there to be an architect whom all the other men on site were ready to take instructions from. I am still trying to fulfill her dream having recognized the relevance of her question and the numerous obstacles in the way.”

 

My role as a Role Model

For the aspiring young women, I would love to a share my professional experiences & projects, also some lessons on management.

Sharing a special experience...

“One of the women helpers at our construction site asked me once, why women have to do the menial (and strenuous) jobs of carrying bricks etc rather than have opportunities to paint walls, lay tiles etc that would be easier for them and allow them to earn thrice as much while being more creative and skilled. She asked me how I as a woman could reach up there to be an architect whom all the other men on site were ready to take instructions from. I am still trying to fulfill her dream having recognized the relevance of her question and the numerous obstacles in the way.”

I’m deeply inspired by

My parents for their values, and my children for their perspectives.

Architects & Designers I admire

Charles Correa from India. Charles and Ray Eames, Le Corbusier, Laurie Baker, Roger Anger, Ray Meeker, among the international.

I dream...

To see a society of equal opportunities, without the stark social segregation, without poverty, hunger, homelessness, and where women can walk around anywhere and everywhere as safely and freely as men.

Message to upcoming designers

Take the responsibility of your learning in your own hands, and not stop after graduating; encourage your curiosity and imagination; fuel your passion; and remember that fear is not the best advisor. Dream of a better world and then do everything you can to realize it.

Opinion about WADe India

It is good that you draw attention to the issue of unequal opportunities due to gender. A lot of women have to work at least twice as hard to get even half as much as compared to men. I have become more aware of these disparities over the last decade having been part of several international discussions on this theme. Women who have contributed significantly to the profession since the beginning, seem to have gone unacknowledged and not received their due recognition. Equal opportunities are not only important in the interest of the women concerned, but it is in the interest of society in general as everyone across society will greatly benefit t from being part of an equal society, particularly children.

A quote that defines me 

‘Don’t let what you do not know interfere with what you do know’.

If I were to live again...

I would preserve the notes taken in my early years, and look after my archives better. I would also study a bit less, and play more. I would make more time for my other interests

Other Recognition

Selected Invited exhibitions/installations:

  • Venice 2016: 15th edition of La Biennale di Venezia Building Knowledge: An inventory of strategies'
  • London 2016 ROCA London gallery 'High speed Housing'
  • Leuven Belgium 2015 'Inverse Functions: Reversing Trends in Urban Living' 'AFRICA Big Change, Big Chance' curated by Benno Albrecht
  • Barcelona 2014 'Unbound: The library of Lost Books' 300th year commemoration at 'BCN Reset' curated by Benedetta Tagliabue
  • Milan 2014 Triennale di Milano 'Planning project, 'Inverse Functions: Reversing Trends in Urban Living' at 'AFRICA Big Change, Big Chance' curated by Benno Albrecht

Five significant projects

  • Wall House, Auroville, 2000
  • Urban Eco-Community, Auroville, 2003
  • Auroville Town Hall and Multimedia Complex, Auroville, 2003
  • Library of Lost Books, Barcelona, 2014
  • Sri Aurobindo World Centre of Human Unity 2000