Over the last two decades, Hunnarshala Foundation has pioneered an architectural vocabulary of natural materials that harnesses the diverse traditional building skills of artisans, and strengthens marginalised voices in cities and villages across Asia. With a primary presence in India and outreach to Nepal, Iran, and Indonesia, the foundation has contributed to post-disaster policies and built climate-friendly homes. It has engaged in pedagogical projects through the training of architecture students and artisans, nurturing a new generation of practitioners committed to environmentally and ethically sustainable practice.
“Back to the Future” addresses the critical impact of modern market economies on biodiversity and indigenous knowledge. It tackles the erosion of traditional community values that are a consequence of an increasingly transactional planet.
Using photographs, videos, and scale models, the exhibit explores the genesis and process of Hunnarshala's work. The collective working practice of ‘aabhat’, prevalent in many pastoral communities in the Gujarat district of Kutch, is articulated through film — a participatory design process that led to the successful construction of 1200 resilient mud houses after Kutch’s devastating 2001 earthquake.
A shallow brick dome positioned on a metal structure proposes the mainstream adoption of vernacular techniques, and a recording of a verse song by folk singers sonically accompanies “Back to the Future” — emphasising the need to reevaluate development paradigms for a truly sustainable tomorrow.