Saturday, March 26, 2011

An experiment in urban planning


Urban utopias took new avatar in Paolo Soleri's Arcosanti where architecture and environmentalism hit new collaboration. Auroville near Puducherry is one such utopian vision conceived partly as an ashram retreat and partly like a rationally organised urban precinct. This book is a documentation of the urban development and architecture witnessed within Auroville since 1964.
Mirra Alfassa, popularly known as the Mother visualised Auroville as an urban experiment to "undertake the work of evolution of consciousness." She commissioned the French architect Roger Anger to give form to her vision. Anger came with a spiral plan that resembled a galaxy with the Matri-mandir at its centre. The entire city was divided into industrial, cultural, residential and international zones with a green belt encircling it. The town was designed for a population of 50,000. The book discusses the features of urban planning and architectural accomplishments in three sections. The first section briefly documents the important stages of Auroville's urban development. It reproduces some of the archival images, sketches and notes that illuminate the ideas leading to its conception. In the second part, the details of the plan, the various zones and important buildings within them are listed and described. The last section profiles the various architects who are part of Auroville and gives brief description of their important works and views. 

more urban planning book reviews:

City Comforts – How to Build an Urban Village – Book Review

Léon Krier discusses The Architecture of Community

Urbanization, Urban India and Metropolitan Cities in India

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