With the background of an architectural education in Germany (University of Applied Sciences Bremen, School of Arts Berlin-Weissensee - Advanced Architectural Design) and working experiences in Berlin, Mumbai and Auroville, I practise architecture, interior design and construction in Auroville since 2000 – at first as associate architect in the Auroville Building Centre, later as part of the multi-disciplinary team of Brand New Day and since January 2004 in my own office Fabian Ostner Architecture in a setup in Aurelec / Auroville which allows for maximum communication and exchange.
Being in Auroville has been from the first arrival in August 1994 when I came for a one-year practical training until today a special and precious experience. Being familiar with the culture of the subcontinent due to previous travels, I almost at once felt that India and this beautiful place near Pondicherry are my home and the right place to do my work and make my contribution to the vision of Auroville so beautifully expressed in its charter. It is rewarding to live in a place which strives to be a bridge between the past and the future and wants to manifest ultimately an actual Human Unity. Life in Auroville for me means to find a balance between simple, rural life, where your feet touch the beautiful red soil and the electrifying energy of modern life of the city – something I was and will always be attached to.
For the architectural part of my self, it is fascinating to work in a setup where technologies and materials connected with contemporary architecture are very hard to come by (machines are still the exception at least on small scale sites) and contrary to materially more developed countries often extremely expensive because either imported or manufactured almost entirely for the export. In the still widely rural setup of Auroville, one has the challenge and joy of reinventing techniques, improvising and being in charge of the whole project. To bridge traditional building culture (the use of regional materials, techniques and the knowledge about the social and climatic conditions) with a modern approach towards architecture and the use of spaces is definitely a worthy task.
The quality and the context of the site, the cultural background, the client's imagination and needs are important aspects of any architectural project. In my work I aim to understand the essence of these aspects, to give the right answers to arising questions and to fuse them into a contemporary building form - spiced with some funky masala of the architect's choice and taste. I feel free to experiment with all materials available, be it earth, concrete, steel, glass, aluminium and plastic as each one of them has its own qualities and aesthetics. I believe that there are basically no negative or positive materials, it all depends on their usage, the relations to other materials and a balance of the various elements. I love architecture as it is all about understanding the components of life and the communication between so many involved beings.
My vision of an ideal office working in Auroville and of course anywhere in this world - as Auroville and its spirit is not confined to the small beautiful area of 20 km 2 here in Tamil Nadu - would be a setup where individuals of various professions fuse their capacities, dreams and visions to create a highly charged atmosphere driven by the joy of exchange, exploration and manifestation.
Building experience in Auroville thus far :
Design experience/competitions outside Auroville thus far:
see also:Challenging aesthetic sensibilities
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