Bharata Kalakshetram, Kalakshetra

2019

We have done the renovation of Kalakshetra Theatre after it ended up in a controversy. It was originally designed by Shri Appukuttan Nair. He was one of the retired chief engineers of the Public Health Engineering Department and has designed few buildings in Kerala. Seeing the design of the Koothampalam in Kerala Kalamandalam, Smt. Rukminidevi Arundale asked him to design the theatre in Kalakshetra. He had tremendous knowledge about traditional Kerala architecture and I was lucky to interact with him on a regular basis. I learnt my basic lessons of traditional architecture from him. He was a bit suspicious in the beginning, later on he shared quite a bit of his knowledge with me, saying that you are the only person who had come to me to learn about the traditional architecture of Kerala not as part of writing a thesis, or an assignment or a dissertation. I was thrilled when he asked me to design the residence of his elder son, Jay Nair. As the president of the Margi Club which was actively involved with the Kathakali and Koodiyattom teaching in Thiruvananthapuram, both of us were involved in the design of the interiors of the class rooms which was carried out by a master mason Anil Kumar. Although Shri Laurie Baker and Shri Appukuttan Nair had not met each other, both of them had great respect on each other’s works.
Acknowledging the contributions of the earlier architects who worked on the project. Since I was travelling, Shreya Raghunathan from my office had received the memento from Mr. N Gopalaswami, Chairman and Mrs. Revathi Ramachandran, Director. I would like to thank Sri Gopalakrishna Gandhi, former Chairman, Mrs. Priyadarsini Govind, former Director and Karun Menon, former Deputy Director.

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Copyright © Benny Kuriakose