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Evolving Dakshinachitra - Architecture Plus Design

July 31, 2007, 6:30:00 PM

Dakshinachitra (meaning a picture of the south) in Chennai, is a centre for the living traditions of art, craft, and architecture of India, highlighting the ethnicity of South India. A project of the Madras Craft Foundation (MCF), a non-profit organization, Dakshinchitra opened to the public in December 1996. The late Laurie Baker, the renowned architect, provided his services to the foundation.

The spatial conceptualization of Dakshinachitra encompasses his building techniques and methods and reinforces his philosophy of empowering masons and craftspeople in the building process.

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"Laurie Baker's contribution to Indian architecture could be said to be two-fold. One is through the buildings he designed and built himself, and that is easily measurable. The other is the influence his philosophy, spirit, and personality had on professional architects and on people in other walks of life, who translated his principles of design through their work. Dakshinachitra is an example of his influence on both these strains.

Debbie Thiagarajan, the founder who imbibed Baker's principles of design and evolved them into a contemporary context into what is now Dakshinachitra, had to work hard to persuade Baker to design the site."