FOLLOWING THE FOOTSTEPS OF APPUKUTTAN NAIR - RENOVATION OF KALAKSHETRA THEATRE
Now our office is doing the renovation of the Kalakshetra Theatre. So happy to get involved in this project about which I was hearing from its architect Shri Appukuttan Nair during my early career days. Many things which I learnt about traditional architecture of Kerala was from him. The initial design phase is over and I felt that he is standing behind my back and giving approvals to the design changes that we are making to the great building of Kalakshetra’s Koothamabalam that he has designed more than 30 years ago.
When I used to work with Laurie Baker, I used to meet him. He was a bit doubtful 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, Mr. Jayasankar.
Shri Appukuttan Nair was the president of the Margi Club, which was actively involved with the Kathakali and Kootiyattom 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. One of the architects who visited Margi Club two or three years ago told me that the brick murals which were created at that time are still there. Although Shri Laurie Baker and Shri Appukuttan Nair had not met each other, both of them had great respect on each other’s works. Shri Appukuttan Nair had a deep knowledge about traditional performing arts and he has written many articles on these subjects.