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The name Eugene Pandala is synonymous with mud architecture in India. Known for building with values of environmental sustainability, Pandala did his Masters in Urban Design at the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi. He had his Fellowship in Heritage Conservation at University of York and at Fort Brockhurst English Heritage Training Centre in the U.K. However, more than the education it is the person who inspired Panadal to shape up his future career in architecture. He was very much influenced by one person’s work when he was a student. Do you know who is that person?
Initially, Pandala spent most of his time in educating and researching on traditional building technologies of India which was his favorite subject. However, it was only when he built first mud house in mid 90s people started talking about him. Pandala built his first mud house in Kollam in 1996 comprising 2,500 sq. ft. of building which not only popularized him but also mud architecture itself. There are numerous mud structures Panadala has built and all of them are the enduring examples of feasibility and eco-friendliness of earth architecture. Banasura Hill Resort is built by Pandala with mud from the very site that it stands on. His designs of hamlets for the rehabilitation of tsunami victims done at Kollam and Alapuzha Districts of Kerala, for the leading Daily Malayala Manorama, was widely appreciated due to its interwoven complicity with nature.
All these projects have one source of inspiration for Pandala, that is, the legendary architect Hassan Fathy. Hassan Fathy is an Egyptian architect who pioneered the use of adobe and traditional as opposed to western building designs and lay-outs in Egypt. Pandala while studying at Delhi School of Planning and Architecture had an opportunity meet Fathy and he was very inspired by his works.
Eugene Pandala has received many awards and commendations. In 2011, Lalith Kala Academy awarded him the first Laurie Baker award. He is also the recipient of Designer of the year Award given by Inside Outside design magazine in 2007. In 1999 for one of his residential buildings built with mud “Bodhi”, Pandala was given, a Commendation award, by J.K., Architect of the year award.