Thiruvananthapuram

Giving shape to art, brick by brick

One of the hundred installations put up by the Indian Institute of Architects as part of the centenary celebrations of architect Laurie Baker.

One of the hundred installations put up by the Indian Institute of Architects as part of the centenary celebrations of architect Laurie Baker.   | Photo Credit: S_GOPAKUMAR

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Paying tribute to Laurie Baker with installations made from Pongala bricks

It could be a face. It could be a tree. Or, it could be both. Passersby were trying to guess the missing part from an outline in an art installation made completely of bricks at Kowdiar on Saturday evening. The answer was – it was both. The void left in the installation was to represent architect Laurie Baker. It also represented one of the trees which have disappeared from our landscape.

Hundred such installations have been put up along the main road from Kowdiar to the Government Fine Arts College as a tribute to the master architect on his birth centenary. Laurie Baker popularised a unique model of low-cost housing, which is now being used in social housing schemes across the country.

As part of the tribute, architects, artists, designers and students came together under the aegis of the Indian Institute of Architects, to put up the installation series titled ‘Beyond Bricks’. The bricks used by devotees to offer Pongala to Attukal Devi on Friday were reused for the purpose.

Each installation drew, in one way or the other, on the philosophy of architecture popularised by Baker. One installation designed by a group of students was a maze made of bricks, leading to a small green strip at the centre.

Another one had a ripple, made using brick patterns, closing in on the centre, in remembrance of the ripples that Baker managed to create in the architectural arena. An installation by architects Ajith and Lisa, titled ‘Stairway to Heaven’, based on the title of the legendary song by the British band Led Zeppelin, was a reminder of Baker’s British origins.

In Madhu’s memory

Another notable installation was also a tribute to tribal youth Madhu, who was assaulted and murdered by a mob at Attappady recently. A Habitat team led by architect Shankar had the bricks take the shape of a hand spreading protectively around a tree on the road at Kowdiar.

“Along with taking the message of Baker to the masses, this is an attempt at engaging with the public too. Architects do not have engage much with the public. This is perhaps the first step in that direction,” said Mr. Shankar.

The installations would be kept for public viewing until March 5, and would be dismantled to be reused for housing projects.

Seminars and exhibitions will be organised at the Kanakakkunnu Palace and Nishagandhi from March 4 to 6 as part of the Laurie Baker birth centenary celebrations.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 11:49:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/giving-shape-to-art-brick-by-brick/article22921233.ece

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