THE GENESIS of Hunnarshala lies in the collaborations and associations that were built after 2001 earthquake in Kutch with an objective to capacitate people for reconstruction of their habitat.
POST-QUAKE RECONSTRUCTION saw large scale implementation of earth construction. It was a process in which artisans emerged as bearers of tremendous knowledge and the strengths of traditional building systems and forms were revealed.
DURING THIS PROCESS , we realised that the emerging ideas were important not only for reconstruction process but are invaluable for long term sustainable development in many contexts.
INTERACTION between scientific and modern building science and traditional knowledge suggested directions for strengthening engagement of artisans to deliver high quality buildings, infrastructure and community spaces.
APPLIED RESEARCH has shown that there is a method of transfer of knowledge. Knowledge building and transfer requires not only understanding of technology but also of people and places. Hunnarshala was envisaged as institution to take this up.
HUNNARSHALA took off from projects which demonstrated processes controlled and managed by people themselves. This concept of people managing the processes had already been demonstrated in other sectors like crafts, savings & credits, etc.
HUNNARSHALA believed that same concepts could be applied here also. Coming together of professionals, corporates and research scientists and NGOs in the aftermath of earthquake became an opportunity for this idea. It was the period when all kinds of talent came to Kutch and Hunnarshala came out of this melting pot.
THREE THEMES have emerged as cross-cutting for Hunnarshala for its direction and works – i) how people are empowered to shape their own habitats; ii) how habitat solutions can become more environment friendly, sustainable and disaster safe; and iii) how local artisanal knowledge and skills can deliver high quality products.
TO INSTITUTIONALISE this process of continuous learning, revelation and application in different contexts, Hunnarshala was registered in 2003 as an organisation under section 25 of Companies Act promoted by Prof. K. Jagdish (IISC, Bangalore), Kirteebhai Khatri (Kutchmitra) and Sandeep Virmani.
THE FIRST BOARD OF DIRECTORS include Kantisen Shroff (industrialist, social worker and Chairman, Hunnarshala), Prof. Neelkanth Chhaya (Director, School of Architecture, CEPT, Ahmedabad), K.G. Krishnamurty (Director, HDFC Bank Ltd.), Sudhin Choksey (Managing Director, GRUH Finance Ltd.) Kiran Vaghela (Deputy Managing Director, Hunnarshala), Mahavir Acharya (Engineer and Director- finance), Kirit Dave (Designer), Tushar Dayal (Charirman, Transmetal Ltd.), , Durgalaxmi Venkatswamy (Handicrafts promoter) and Sandeep Virmani (Managing Director, Hunnarshala).
HUNNARSHALA is enabled in its endeavour by its shareholders sharing its vision and perspective, Hunnarshala derives its ideological nourishment for making positive contribution towards its objectives of promoting and demonstrating people centric, environment friendly, artisan based approaches and technologies.
SHAREHOLDERS of regular companies are interested in company’s balance sheets. However, shareholders of Hunnarshala have never held financial gain as the motivating factor, but what brings them together to invest in Hunnarshala is to get connected and promote the ideals of the company and towards which they would hold Hunnarshala accountable.
HUNNARSHALA would like to be held accountable to gain this patronage of its shareholders which helps in achieving its objectives. People from various backgrounds such as industrialists, businessmen, activists, educationists, scientists, etc. all bring unique strengths and capacities to Hunnarshala. Hunnarshala currently has about 80 shareholders.
HUNNARSHALA offers its knowledge and skills for building designs, settlement planning, social housing, disaster reconstruction, waste water treatment systems, infrastructure development, etc.