Uncommon Sense: The Life and Architecture of Laurie Baker
Directed by Vineet Radhakrishnan
2016, India, 57 minutes, English
Renowned as an eccentric pioneer of cost-effective design, and for his novel and organically expressive brickwork, Laurie Baker’s humanitarian architecture—although humble—refused to be boring. In this fascinating film, directed by the architect’s grandson, Laurie Baker himself tells his remarkable life story, while giving detailed tours of built works which intricately embody his design philosophy. In a series of entertaining anecdotes, Baker attributes his holistic ethos with an unusual set of life experiences: a serendipitous encounter with Mahatma Gandhi (who was impressed by the architect’s hand made shoes); his experience caring for lepers during the war; and his time spent building hospitals in remote Himalayan villages.
Baker took intense delight in discovering and re-interpreting the vernacular building traditions of India. Over the course of a long career, he built many affordable houses, schools, hospitals, and public institutions; advised governments on housing policy; and founded COSTFORD, the Centre of Science and Technology for Rural Development. In 1990, the Government of India awarded Laurie Baker the Padma Shri award for his service in the field of architecture. In 1992, he was awarded the Roll of Honour by the United Nations.
Presented in partnership with the Winnipeg Public Library