Space with a space : A theme I am currently exploring where one can perceive two spaces simultaneously. Even though the smaller space is embedded inside the larger one, both have distinct sense of enclosure independent of each other. The original trigger was the reading of the Orinda House designed by Charles Moore, in which the two rooms (the bathroom and living) are embedded as pavilions with in the larger perimeter of the house. The thematic idea is to explore of the condition of ‘simultaneity’ in crafting of space.
While watching this brilliant Malayalam movie Joji, i had made a quick note on the well (or pond) in my notebook. I was intrigued by the stone retaining wall registering the slope of the landscape.The net tied on the top to hold the falling leaves adds to the degree of enclosure. In the movie, it is in this well Joji plots up the evil ideas to kill his own father. A place where he is himself, devoid of the mask of innocence he is wearing in the house otherwise. The writer of the movie Shyam Pushkaran says “The idea was that Joji, as a child, had a fort at this pond, Whenever he felt abandoned by his father as a child, he would go there and cry. The pond was a comfort to him. He returns there after the murder to seek comfort.” (1) In contrast to his own closed bedroom inside the house, the open well, slightly far away from the house, helps him grow his intentions is private. Two facts, which i figured out later about making of the movie, made me more curious. The well was added to the existing plantation to shoot these important scenes. And another fact is that Shyam completed the script after the location is chosen(2)( A classic move which Frampton would have loved to indicate in his ideas of critical regionalism). The need for the well is a great reminder on what has architecture to offer. A sense of enclosure in the form of a refuge, a frame to articulate darkness and most importantly an interior space. Architecture in India has always had affinity towards the subterranean and the cave. Like the stepped wells. And this well is a classic illustration of that primal urge to move into the ground.
Unlike I have discussed earlier on the same theme in Melkote (link), here it is strategy of the landscape. A space within a space at the scale of the landscape.
Link to the Film Companion piece where (1) and (2) are discussed. https://www.filmcompanion.in/features/malayalam-features/malayalam-movies-2021-how-houses-in-films-make-for-the-perfect-crime-scene-kala-aarkkariyam-joji-irul/
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