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Updated: February 22, 2010 19:36 IST

Modular and minimal

MARIANNE DE NAZARETH
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SPACED OUT Making the most of the minimal
by arrangement SPACED OUT Making the most of the minimal

Two German architects were in Bangalore to swap ideas on easy-to-install modular buildings

Their visiting cards are creative. Architects Achim and Andreas of Aisslinger + Bracht from Hamburg, Germany have their pictures on the reverse of their cards and a blank shadow outline in the space next to them. “That's to represent that we are a team and just shadows without each other. The name of their company is “and8 Architekten”. Both were in Bangalore, on the invitation of the Goethe-Institute, to conduct a two-day workshop on modular housing with architects in the city at Jaaga.Achim Aisslinger explained that the workshop is to sensitise architects about minimal and modular architecture. “Our talk will centre round how minimal area and space efficiency is important for good living. Of course we are here also to learn that what may be important in Germany is not so important here. Look around you at this space, Jaaga — this is a good example of how minimal space can bring optimum use.” They wanted to find a building in Bangalore which they could change as part of their project, but unlike in Germany they found Bangalore too fast growing to leave any building unused.

Achim also explained that now in Germany there is a law where new buildings must have 14-cm thick insulation and energy efficiency is mandatory. “So like a coat which you put on your body to keep you warm, the insulation will be from the outside of the building. Modular buildings are easy to install and take apart and the Loftcube is one such structure that we have designed. They are like tents; you can erect them and transport them easily and are usually only used for weekend homes,” said Achim in response to a local architects question on security issues.

Andreas Bracht explained that the duo's interest was in smaller structures where there is no time lost in building it.

“We are here to motivate architects to think of small structures with new ideas of mobility and flexibility. We can learn from their innovations here too; it's a give and take workshop.”As to the question on how are water and sewage connections managed in such structures, Andreas said they normally build on existing old structures, so water and sewage connections are all in place. “However flexible piping is what we use to handle both clean water and sewage issues.”

Renita D'souza, one of the young architects at the workshop explained that she had just returned after doing her masters in architecture in London. “I don't know much about modular building so my interest in learning about it brought me here. My masters was in Landscape Urbanism and so this is an interesting angle which I have never explored.”

The workshop was organised by InCITE in association with the Goethe-Institute with an exhibition called “+91 Residences: Contemporary Indian Houses”, on display at the Geothe Institute till March 6. The exhibition features photographs, drawings and models of single-family architect-designed houses in India between 2000-2009.

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