Revisiting green lifestyle in Auroville
Auroville demonstrates a wide variety of housing solutions, responsive to local conditions and environmentally safe. Some of the solutions can appeal to people - everywhere and at any level of "green awareness" - who wish to remain attuned to cutting edge methods, even if they live in an urban setting, in the West. The range of "green architecture" practices in Auroville runs between extreme nativism (ie capsules made mostly of bamboo shoots, some without any electric power, using only naturalresources and quite ascetic), and some are "regular" modern houses with all amenities and modern building materials. I chose to display a house in Auroville, which although very environmentally attuned, still maintains a sense of comfort and beaut. Some of the ideas can be integrated into any other setting. The house is solar powered only (which means, in practice, no A/C, no refrigerator or any other high consumption gadget), quite compact and forresty, at the same time it creates a cozy space.
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Fashionable and cozy "green interior design"
While this is definitely not the first (and most likely not the last) report on green living in Auroville, the issue is always of interest to readers everywhere, not only those living in eco conscious communities far away.
Green lifestyle has gone mainstream now, at least in the Yuppie lite version, of young urban communities. People are willing to spend more money and thought on "green" products, and they also like to be involved, one way or the other, with "saving the planet" schemes and products, and organizations. Schools and even kindergartens teach the children about the dangers of global warming, extinction of species and pollutions (movies like Wall-E are very popular these days at the cinema). Cynics would say that "green" had gone corporate and is actually being subverted into a form of non sustainbale consumerism, with a "green brand". However, it is definitely not only that, but a mixed bag of trends, that nobody knows where they lead, at this point.
Green Architecture made a huge breakthrough in branding and "marketing" the green lifestyle and buildling to mainstream and urban communities. What would appear uncomfortable, and ascetic, is now "hip", even if less convenient. So, fashion and asthetics have an important role in actually, and not cynically, saving our planet.
I visited a house of an Aurovillian, and took some shots, of a family of 5 (three young children) living on an all solar powered house, without A/C ofcourse but also withut the comfort of a fridge, and I wanted to see how a mother of a 1 year old toddler manages. I expected to see a jungle hut, and found a spacious, designed and airy house, that serves as a good model for integration of modern urban style with conservation and sustainability.
The house is located in Udumbu, a community situated in the far end of Auroville, in a forrest, with only very few residents. The community gate welcomes the visitor with a huge rock, on which Udumbu is engraved, in a somewhat "cavemen" art style. A very short drive in a dirt path leads to the house, a two story unit, surrounded by a small aquaduct, in order to keep various creatures from entering the house (insects, scorpions, snakes and other unwelcome visitors). The ground floor is a garage, serving the motorcycles of residents and guests, and from there one climbs a staircase, into the house itself.
At the end of the strairs one enters a spacious welcomoing terrace, with a pastel colored sitting area, and a large table. The terrace has a hammock and another coffee table, that provide a sense of several "corners", where people can find their place. The "walls" are a criss cross web of bamboos, the floor is wooden, and small fitting mats are thrown in appropriate places. Ths terrace has another staircase, leading to the roof, which serves as a "service area" (water tank, laundry, and "drying area" for the cashew nuts growing all around the house, in a beautiful natural forrest and orchard. )
sight from the roof to the terrace
After some refreshments in the terrace, I am curious to explore the indoors, the only part in the structure which is protected by real walls. I am warned by the resident to expect a very compact space, for a large family, but here too the design creates a sense of spaciousness.
The roof serves as service area and additional playground for the children.
Overall view from the terrace.