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November 2016

ARCHITECTURE AROUND THE WORLD Tiruvannamalai: modernism in the south of India


& La muralla roja


DELiHT more than a light




nomvember 2016

Tiruvannamalai and his houses Bofill: La muralla roja



TIRUVANNAMALAI and his houses Text by Matthew Kirby Photography by Vicent Leroux Tiruvannamalai is a small town in the Southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu with a population of around 144,00. The whole town, measuring 16.33 km2 (6.31 sq mi), is built around the Annamalaiyar Temple, situated at the base of the Annamalai hills and comprises a multitude of state institutions.


Franรงoise Dorget and Vincent Leroux now explore some of the outstandingly unique architectural structures, situated in Tiruvannamalai, highlighting the creatives that have inhabited the small town from as far back as 1930.


These vibrant architectural structures are systematically situated amidst the confusion of this Indian city, its suburbs and even the countryside. Dorget writes that the houses are the work and choice of the families and one of the most impressive structures belong to a Brahmin priest. Although the exteriors of the buildings are purely for aesthetic provocation, the interiors are traditional and completely functional. It is believed that for much of the 1960s and 1970s, Italian architect and sculptor Ettore Sottsass explored these very buildings whilst travelling throughout Southern India and the United States. It seems apparent that Scottass drew inspiration from the design of these bold structures. 5

Sottsass is well-known for his Valentine Portable Typewriter (1969) and was praised for his combination of bold design and functionality. In 1990, Scottass said; “Everything has been made in India by small family businesses….it is clear that in every place I visited, there were people who saw the houses with great admiration….I regularly listen to the Indian voice… we should experience this determination without logic when we design”.



More than a table...




La Muralla roja Text by Ramzi Naja Pothography cortesy of Ricardo Bofill La Muralla Roja, Spanish for ‘The Red Wall,’ is a housing project located within the La Manzanera development in Spain’s Calpe. The building makes clear references to the popular architecture of the Arab Mediterranean Area, a result of the architects’ inspiration by the Mediterranean tradition of the casbah. The striking colors that cover the outer and inner facades are selected to either contrast with nature or complement its purity.


Formed like a fortress, the project appears as if it is emerging from the rocky cliffs it sits on. Its organization challenges the increasing division between public and private space through its reinterpretation of the casbah, which is the walled citadel typical of traditional architecture in North African countries. Characterized by a series of interlocking stairs, platforms, and bridges, this organization is a modern illustration of the circulation in a typical casbah, providing access to the 50 apartments that form La Muralla Roja. The complexity of the project extends into the division of apartments, which is in three sizes: 60 sqm studios, 80 sqm two bedroom apartment, and 120 sqm three bedroom apartments. Bofill’s desire to provide enhanced living is seen through with the roof terraces, solaria, a swimming pool, and a sauna, all reserved for the residents’ use.


Various tones of red paint cover the exterior facade, accentuating the contrast with the landscape. Stairs and circulation surfaces, on the other hand, are treated with different tones of blue ranging from sky-blue to indigo and event violet, depending on weather the intention is to contrast with the sky or create visually continuity with it. The Red Wall is best described as a labyrinth, corresponding to a precise geometric plan based on the 13

typology of the Greek cross, having, in this case, arms that are five meters long. The crosses intersect at the service towers, which contain the kitchens and bathrooms. In the words of Taller de Arquitectura , “the geometric basis of the layout is also an approximation of the theories of constructivism, and makes La Muralla Roja a very clear evocation of these.�

Architects:Ricardo Bofill Location: Partida manzana spain calpe Project Year1968 14


Architecture Around The World  

Ejercicio editoria de Alibe Rodríguez

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