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Written and Contributed by

Integral Architecture
Auroville, India



The design questions the functioning and quality of common ration shops and inspires a new approach towards these mostly overlooked buildings.

What is the project about?

The project is a collaboration with the growing village community, resulting in the creation of an urgently needed sub-post office and ration shop. The aim is to provide the best possible integration for the underprivileged part of society, through architecture that embraces its users.

Importance has been given to maximizing natural ventilation and light, transparency for users and clear circulation without compromising on the required safety aspects. We have taken the waiting customers into the building with a wide corridor space to protect them from rain and sun. Large open counters allow absolute transparency in the ration shop. The back of the building serves as shaded outdoor seating for the children of the neighbouring school.

The building strives to take vernacular elements and use them in a contemporary fashion, where only the material itself creates texture and decoration. Exposed earth block walls, solid doors from reclaimed wood, floors with local stone slabs and terracotta inlay create a subtle blending with the surrounding. The other elements – granite and jalis – are inspired by the local context.

Project Funded by

The Auroville Foundation

Stakeholders Involved

Auroville Foundation, Morattandi Panchayat

What is the impact?

– A deep impact on the users on the psychological image of ration shops, inviting people from all classes in the village to use the space, thereby eliminating division and bringing people together.
– A strengthened relationship between Auroville and the local panchayat by giving up of the Auroville-owned land for the betterment of inter-community relations as well as identifying and responding to an expressed need in the best possible way.

Images by Integral Architecture | © all rights reserved

Drawings by Integral Architecture | © all rights reserved

Links to read more:

A link to the project

About Integral Architecture:

Integral Architecture provides architecture, construction and construction management services including:
– architectural planning and design development,
– design, detailing, scheduling, and coordination with all relevant consultants,
– construction, coordination with agencies and site management.