Thursday, February 14, 2008

Gandhi, Art and Architecture - I

Gandhi said,” Sometimes, Art lies in not interfering with nature’s unevenness and irregular curves and lines ..” (Harijan, nov 14, 1936). thus attributing that ‘art’ directly to nature, for he believed “All true art is always simple and natural” (To Ashram Sisters, P9)
Implying on this aspect of Gandhi’s thinking , if one further explores his relationship with Architecture, one comes to the conclusion that Art or Architecture according to Gandhian thinking is nothing but a pure manifestation of Nature itself.
Gandhi’s affection towards “Nature” in “Architecture” can be inferred by the following
“ My room may have blank walls and I may even dispense with the roof, so that I may gaze out upon the starry heavens overhead that stretch in an unending expanse of beauty. What conscious art of man can give the panoramic scenes that open out before me when I look up to the sky above with all its shining stars ?” ( Young India , Nov 13, 1924 )

“ I do not want my house to be walled in all sides and my windows to be stuffed , I want the culture of all lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible but I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.” ( Sabarmati Ashram )
Thus, “Gandhi” and “Architecture” can be inter-linked by the word “Nature


“ The earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not any man’s greed.”



This statement can be interpreted in many forms. it simply means that by destroying and over consuming the Natural wealth, the ‘man’ is committing an act of ‘Violence against Nature’. Thus, the idea of ‘Economy of Permanence’ took shape. Today, this has in turn become one of the most intriguing terms in our day-to-day life. It is called “Sustainable Development”.
It means that developing affordable , environment friendly, energy efficient, simple technologies, by maximizing the use of local resources and skills.
Architecturally, it implies that whatever is built, should be designed in such a way that it does not disturb the existing Natural wealth and utilize minimum optimum energy for their survival. This may be only done utilizing the locally available materials and using non-conventional alternate sources.
Gandhi, hence stressed the importance of building a house on whatever is available in a 5 mile radius.