She is an Indian born architect who studied in the University of Mumbai. Post graduation, she took the road less traveled to find inspiration and experiment in Auroville. Here, she was heavily influenced by the place, the people and the philosophies of the chief architect, Roger Anger. She built her first experimental project here, titled the Hut in Petite Ferme in 1990 and has not looked back since.
Anupama Kundoo advocates for learning by experimenting and innovating, rather than just focusing on theory.
The architect’s very first project was an experimental dwelling made of traditional materials and techniques. These included:
As seen in most of her buildings, Anupama Kundoo ensures that the buildings are sustainable, climatic and economical. All these are achieved by employing the skills of local artisans.
Majority of the construction costs went towards labor. Local artisans contributed towards the project by providing building elements and handcrafts for sale to be fired during the baking. This new innovation brings down costs while empowering skilled people.
Economic inequality is a prevalent problem and Anupama Kundo tries to solve it by creating quality spaces even for the most disadvantaged client. She aims to produce buildings with dignity, bringing pride to the occupants irrespective of their status.
A combination of RCC slabs and porous terracotta screens are used. The jali screens provide a daylight, ventilation and visual connection with the green exteriors. Most importantly, they convey transparency and inclusiveness.
More than the exhaustion of time and natural resources, there is one thing Kundoo is concerned about- The expenditure of human resources.
It is an eco community built on the foundation of shared resources and reduced costs. By simplifying the construction details and process, both skilled and unskilled future inhabitants contributed to making their home.
Anupama Kundoo considers time a resource that should be spent and not as an expense that must be saved. She chooses to invest it in experimenting and creating with human hands so that we are not restricted by the limitations of machines.
Instead of rushing to get quick yet uninteresting buildings, she takes it one idea at a time to arrive at a comfortable and human design.
It is a living laboratory holding a decade worth of spatial and material experiments like vaulted bricks, terracotta roof and filler slabs. Gaining experience from this project, many craftsmen have since spread the art in various other places.
Every architect has a signature style. But for Anupama Kundoo, it is the absence of any personal touches that makes her buildings different. Often, she takes a backseat to allow the local artisans and the hands that shaped the building shine.
To quote her, “As passionate as I am about my work, my work is not about me. My buildings have too much to do already – providing purpose, refuge, and engagement for all stakeholders — without also having to accommodate an Anupama Kundoo signature style.”
Here are some of the ideas that the architect has experimented with:
Recognizing her contributions to material research and achievements in sustainable construction, she was awarded the Auguste Perret Prize and RIBA Charles Jencks award in 2021.