Golconde Dormitory in Pondicherry, India

[caption id="attachment_341" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Golconde interior. Photograph by Ashok Dilwali, 2003."][/caption] I first came across Galconde at a UW Architecture Building exhibit in Fall 2005 and was blown away by this team effort of both Antonin Raimund and Seattle's own George Nakashima (who went on to primarily do furniture after this project).  It was the building section that caught my eye and had me wanting to know everything about the project.

The photograph here shows the corridor accessing the dorm rooms to the left through sliding doors of wooden planks that allow airflow and to the right are louvers on the north elevation.  Note the widely spaced louvers on this elevation, versus the more opaque south elevation with more tightly spaced louvers that you'll see in the exterior views. A beautiful, site-specific response to the local climate and prevailing winds while achieving very humane and wonderfully scaled, monastic-like interior spaces.  Completed in 1942, the passive solar strategies implemented here in a high-mass building create a highly sustainable, ecologically-minded building, even by today's standards.

I ordered the book recently from Stout in SF and read through it this past weekend...interesting insight into both working with a client and the practice of yoga in the early part of the 20th c. and the life of followers of respected yoga practitioners.  Raimund was in Japan in the 1920s working on behalf of FLLW on the Imperial Hotel, with Nakashima working under him and eventually being assigned to the project in Pondicherry. A reminder also of successful networking prior to the internet.

Excerpt from the publisher of "Golconde: The Introduction of Modernism in India", RAYMOND NAKASHIMA. Gupta, Pankaj Vir, Christine Mueller, and Cyrus Samii:

Sited on the coastal edge of the Bay of Bengal, Golconde, a dormitory for the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry, India, was designed by architects Antonin Raymond and George Nakashima. Golconde is a remarkable architectural edifice, seemlessly negotiating between the tenets of early modernist architecture while addressing the pragmatic impositions of a tropical context. Espousing radical economy and uncompromising construction standards, it proposes environmental sensitivity as a foundation for the design process. Completed in 1942, Golconde was the first reinforced, cast-in-place concrete building in India and celebrates the modernist credo: architecture as the manifest union of aesthetics, technology, and social reform.

Link to a short report available online at the AIA website with some great images and a few drawings:


The book was published by http://www.urbancrayonpress.com/index.php and is currently available by contacting the authors:


I purchased our copy up from William Stout http://www.stoutbooks.com/cgi-bin/stoutbooks.cgi/84643