Monday, August 25, 2008

Kopai Resort near Shantiniketan

Design Proposal
Kopai-resort is an interesting project which we are currently working on. The resort is proposed by a small motivated group of professionals headed by Mr. Sunil Oberoi. Mr. Sunil Oberoi has a keen interest in communities, settlements and various aspects of Rural India.

Kopai resort is proposed at Bolpur, not more than 5 kms from Shantiniketan, Calcutta. The surrounding of the site is pictureque and the place is a tourist-attraction as it is so near to Shantiniketan, place which is world-famous for being the birth-place of Gatanjali.

Our concept for the resort is well-captured in the following one-liner,
" Sustainable in nature, Responsible in approach and Meaningful in its experience."

The overall built-up area is about 12000 Sq.ft. we are working on developing some two-story structures as Guest-rooms using bamboo. one of the concepts being explored is to connect the guest rooms using a elevated pathway which in itself becomes a kind of element on the resort-site.

The site has lots of reference points to pick from and work with, Shantiniketan-Ravindranath Tagore, the crafts and arts of Ballabhpur Danga, temple architecture of Bishnupur. It would be a challenging exercise how we are able to assimilate these references and build using bamboo as primary building material.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Today on the 15th of August, when Tri-colour is flowing with all its grace and beauty and a sense of celebration is everywhere to be seen; at Wonder Grass are leafing through the pages of the writings of Shri. Aurobindo, who shares his birthday with that of the modern India.

Shri. Aurobindo who could understand and articulate the idea of Nation and ideal of nationalism, in a way very few before him or after him have been able to do (rather only some that would be counted on fingers), may help us try and situate our initiative and enterprise in a larger context of India as nation.

AS we leaf through his writings and musings, we invariably draw vigor and vitality which is so important for us to cruise further and achieve our vision for Wonder Grass, without feeling weak or helpless.

His take on the nationalist provides us a very powerful idea of what is the need of the hour, the way we should be if we want to build Wonder Grass and achieve its vision for bamboo,

“The Profession of nationalist should not be lightly made but with full sense of what it means and involves. The privilege of taking it is attended with severe pains and penalties for those who take it lightly. If we are few, it matters little, but it is of supreme importance that the stuff of which we are made should be sound. What the mother needs is hard clear steel for her sword, hard massive granite for her fortress, wood that will not break for the handle of her bow, tough substance and true for the axle of her chariot. For the battle is near and trumpet ready for the signal.”

A Call to the Youth of India, Shri. Aurobindo

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Living-spaces for Construction Artisans

Wonder Grass, in its quest for developing building systems and solutions which are applicable for mass-scale is now developing a solution for Construction workers and artisans who spend close to 2-3 years on project-site and then move on to another project-site.

A common experience tell us that (on most of the project-sites) the conditions for these workers are neither healthy nor very pleasing. The colonies where these artisans live, are not places to live and stay but only place to cover your head when its hot, raining or windy.

One feels dumbfounded at the apathy and utter ignorance from the construction industry for the very fundamental building-block of the whole industry, the construction artisan himself.

And more interesting is the fact that nobody seems to be really bothered or thinking about it.

we at Wonder Grass asked, why? can we find a solution that will be able to provide a better living place for a construction artisan.

And we believe that we are nearing the solution. The solution is not only to be found in the design and innovative use of materials to arrive at elegant, efficient and cost-effective building system, but it also needs a rethinking from all the stakeholders of the construction industry most crucial of which are the construction-companies and the clients of these construction companies, to look at the situation more empathetically.

Wonder Grass is ready with a solution and a will to explore and develop the solution further as we move along, we are looking for partners from industry who are willing to participate with us in the process.