at Chittoor

Design Report commissioned by District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) Chittoor, A.P. June 2005

Kiran Keswani
Bangalore, INDIA



Part I

Developing a Terracotta Crafts Cluster
Introduction The Creative Process Existing work environment KVIC Technology transfer centre Artisans’ Training Other Pottery units Gantavur village – statistical information

Part II

Architectural Design
Site study Analysis of the location Recommendations from the Potters Architecture in the region Craft centers in India Concept design


Part I
Developing the Terracotta Crafts cluster
Introduction The Creative Process Existing work environment KVIC Technology transfer centre Artisans’ Training Other Pottery units Gantavur village statistical information

The District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) proposes to develop a ‘Terracotta Crafts Centre’ at Gantavur village in Palamaner mandal, in the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. This Crafts cluster will be located on the Bangalore-Chennai highway NH-4 on a 3.5 acre plot. Over the last 15 years, potters have moved to this area and today there are about 20 small open-air outlets alongside the highway, where 40 artisans display their work. The DRDA realised the need to develop an area where the potter community would live and work and also exhibit and market their crafts. The Mandal Revenue office (MRO) has granted a piece of land to the DRDA to house the potter community. It is proposed that a Terracotta crafts cluster be created which will benefit these 40 artisan families. The origin of this enterprise along the national highway lies in the coming of K.Allappa from his village in Madanapalle to look for a more lucrative marketing outlet. He found that he could start selling along the highway and learnt through relatives living in the area that the mud was suitable for pottery work. At present, there exists already a KVIC Technology Transfer centre at this site. This centre was set up a year and a half ago. One year ago, the machines were installed which include a Pugmill, a Ballmill, a Gas kiln and a Spray painting machine.


The Creative Process

K.Allappa at work


a ‘deepam’ stand


magic lamp


the bells for a chime

Nanjappa making the chimes


a ‘candle’ stand


Existing work environment

The Potters use two kinds of mud mixed together to make their products. Black mud is brought from Malerucheruvu, which is on the way to Poonur Road and is about 4 km away from the existing KVIC centre. It is purchased at Rs.300 /truckload. The Red mud is brought from Madanapalle Cheruvu or Agaralakunta cheruvu, which is 1 km away. It is picked up at Rs.150 / truckload. The above photographs show potters at work just outside their homes which are a few hundred yards away from the KVIC centre. These houses are part of a colony which has formed with potters gradually moving into this region.

KVIC Technology Transfer Centre

The present KVIC centre consists of an AC sheet roof over brick walls. It has a few windows to let in the natural light and ventilation, and a cement floor. There is a rolling shutter along the long side of the wall which is kept open during the day. The potters say they will prefer a workshed model based on this existing KVIC centre building.

Artisans’ Training

The potters create and modify the craft products as they perceive a demand for a particular kind of object. Today, many of the products are painted after they have been made on the wheel, because customers seem to show a preference for painted objects rather than the natural terracotta ones. However, it is only a particular middle-income group customer base that prefers this aesthetic. It does not appeal to the highend customer who prefers to buy the “natural look” terracotta object. The artisans may therefore need training for products that will also sell in the high-end market in chennai and bangalore and that can also be exported.


Past Training Programs

1. K.Allappa trained under Ramaiah when the DRDA center at Gantevaripalle offered an 8 month training program in terracotta craft-making. 2. From 24 Feb to 10 March 2005, a workshop was organised by the National Institute of Fashion technology (NIFT), Hyderabad. It was sponsored by the Development Commissioner, Handicrafts. There were 13 members of the potters community who participated and the stipend offered was Rs.150/day

Future Training Possibilities Kumbham, Kerala

Aruvacode is a small village near Nilambur in North Kerala which has been famous for its potters. With the influx of cheap industrial substitutes, these villagers had all but lost their traditional skills, when a small movement led by designer K.B. Jinan, rekindled their hope. Together, they explored the possibilities of terra-cotta suited for the modern context and Kumbham was born. Today Kumbham is hailed as a rare instance of a traditional artisan community rehabilitating itself through the very craft they have been alienated from. (ref : www.kumbham.org)

Sri Lakshmi Prassanna ‘Pot-making industry’ Mallolagadda, Angallur Madanapalli Taluk Chittoor Dt., A.P.


(Rishi valley school)

Vikram Parchauri conducted a training program in 1997 which was attended by some of the potters from Palmaner Potters wheel - Mr.Titus is their main artisan-in-charge and can be requested to conduct a training program.

Activities that will lend support to the Terracotta program 1. Study of the existing livelihood scenarios and resource use patterns in Palamaner
The output of this study would help in making appropriate interventions to strengthen the livelihoods and address the gaps in the value chains.

2. Awareness workshop for potters 3. Exposure visit for selected members of the SHGs to craft villages in Kerala/Goa 4. Interventions in livelihoods
Different professional organisations in credit, microfinance, marketing, design, etc. would coordinate their interventions based on the study results

5. Microenterprise management training including tourism-related training/capacity enhancement of the Potters 6. Artisan Credit cards 7. Loans/Bank linkages 8. Publicity kiosk locations to be planned and informative material to be prepared about the artisans
Distribution nodes will be Tirupati, Chittoor,Vellore & Bangalore

9. Planning of Health Insurance or Lifetime insurance for all the potters Management of the Terracotta Crafts Centre DRDA is in the process of forming a society/apex body from amongst the artisan community. The land will be transferred to the artisans and the Centre will be managed by this apex body. There are at present, four Self-


help groups (SHGs) formed within the potters community. Each SHG comprises of 12 members, of which 2 members are leaders of the group.

Other Pottery units
Potter’s wheel

This is an organisation that was started by the Hartzells in Madanapalle to bring about economic upliftment of a potter’s community. Joan and her husband were both doctors. Joan is a physiotherapist and her husband was an orthopaedic surgeon. They first came to India in 1973 and worked in Kerala. In the 80s, they were asked for help by the potters. This was a role they had never envisaged for themselves. However, when they received repeated requests, they decided to help the community. That was the beginning of ‘Potters Wheel’ in Karnataka. They realised later that it was quite expensive to live and work where they were, close to Bangalore. So, they decided to move to Chittoor district and to Madanapalle which was known for its terrracotta work. What Joan finds fascinating is that all the different terracotta workers from Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and of course, Andhra, all speak Telugu. This American couple are from Seattle, Washington and decided to seek a market there for the terracotta products that their community produced. Locally, within the Chittoor region, competition was high. However, the export market demanded a higher quality product. Gradually, the skill of the artisans improved. The chief artisan is Titus who has been with the organisation from the beginning and who has trained the others. There are a total of 13 potters who live here with their wives and children. The “factory” has a kiln that fires articles at a temperature of 850 degrees celcius. This ensures good quality of the products and breakage is reduced. However, when breakage does occur, the broken terracotta pieces are powdered and this powder is again mixed with the clay. One of the disadvantages at Palamaner are the frequent power cuts.
Pottery unit adjacent to KVIC centre

There is a pottery unit right next to the KVIC centre which is managed by a lawyer who is planning to bring together a few potters under his unit and to collectively market their products.

Gantavur village - Statistical information a. Commencement year of Gram Panchayat b. No. of hamlets c. Extent of village/town d. Population (Men, women, SC,ST,BC,OC) e. f. g. h. i. j. k. l. m. n. o. p. q. r. Population density Total No. of house Potters houses No. of roads Drinking water supply units Agriculture land Annual income of Gram Panchayat Main occupation School Hospitals Youth organizations No. of banks Lakes and canals Temples


21.12.1943 14 466.44 Acres/Cents Total Men Women SC ST 44236 21844 22392 4138 756 2501 9274 39 78 16 3178.71 Acres/Cents 2004-2005 Rs.90.85.739/Cultivation 25 1 10 5 Koundinya river -1 6


Part II
Architectural Design of the Center
Site study Analysis of the location Recommendations from the Potters Architecture of the region Craft centers in India Design Brief Concept design

Site study

Petrol pump abutting the site Brindavan Dairy Restaurant across the road from site

The site has a Petrol Pump on one side. There is the Brindavan Dairy on the other side of the site. The site is directly abutting the national highway. The rear of the site faces an empty plot. The owners of the Dairy have raised an objection to the possible construction of the kiln for the proposed Crafts Centre. On the opposite side of the site is a restaurant cum lodge where many tourist and regular buses stop for lunch and dinner. The site is primarily a flat piece of land with a few minor undulations. The frontage is already used up with the KVIC asbestos sheet-covered building and partly by the Petrol pump.


Recommendations from the Potters
The potters suggest that ideally they would like to be given houses which are approximately 30 ft x 30 ft i.e. 900 sq.ft. with a central hall, a kitchen, a bedroom, a puja room, a toilet within the house and a verandah. Of the 40 artisans, 10 artisans have their own houses built in the last 10 to 15 years. The others have a badi illu or a rented house. The rent paid per month varies from Rs.600 to Rs.1000. The 10 artisans who have their own houses are :
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. K.Allappa Ramakrishna Seetharamaiah Papaiya ManiRatnam Shetty 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. Pedareddy appa Anjinappa Ramaiah Ballappa Nanjappa

Analysis of the location
At present, there are already 20 outlets in this region which were set up by groups of potters for selling their products. Since this location is already being used as a marketing outlet and since the two kinds of clay needed by the potters are at a distance of 1 km and 4 km from this area. Now, the KVIC centre also exists here. The presence of the restaurant and lodge – Highlands Resort brings in bus loads of people to stop by and look at the craft products. Many purchases happen due to these travellers who stop by at Highlands Resort when the bus brings them here for lunch or for dinner. Reliance Petrol Pump is about 20 km from Gantavur on the NH4 and was started in October 2004.

Shiva Temple

Small shrine opp. the Shiva temple

Entrance gate of the Shiva temple

The temple

On the national highway NH4, on the stretch between Chittoor and Palmaner, about 19 km before Gantavur is a centuries old Shiva temple. This temple can be one of the stops for tourists or visitors to the Terracotta center in the event that an exclusive tour is organised from chennai or bangalore or chittoor to the Terracotta centre after it is well-established.

Stone carvings on the temple


Architecture in the region

In this region, granite stone is easily available and therefore, it is proposed that stone be used as much as possible and in a cost-effective way. Rubble masonry may be used upto plinth i.e. 2 ft. above ground beyond which brick wall plastered may be built and painted white. Additionally, stone slabs may be used as space dividers and as boundary wall.

Along the chennai-bangalore highway, the domestic architecture consists of mud wall houses with thatch roof alongside RCC constructions. The use of mangalore tiles for roof is still prevalent. Walls are often in brickwork. In some houses, stone slabs are used as wall and sometimes, stone columns used for supporting the roof. The design of the DRDA Terracotta Crafts center must reflect the indigenous architecture prevalent around it and a harmonious blend of clay tiles,stone and brick may be used to construct the houses, the workspaces and the exhibition areas of the center.

This Bodha roof or grass roof has been used for “PrideInn” a coffee shop on the national highway on the way to Palmaner from Chittoor. If there is need for a few simple outdoor shelters within the exhibition zone, bamboo and thatch or a grass roof may be provided. For use of this material and to contact the skilled people to execute this kind of roof, the owner of PrideInn, G.Thulasikrishna can be contacted at 08572309773.


Craft centers in India
The West Zone Cultural Centre set up the Shilpagramam – a crafts village in Udaipur to showcase the arts and crafts of Rajasthan. In Hyderabad, the Shilparamam was set up to generate an interest amongst the public in the crafts of andhra pradesh. Both these crafts villages were designed using local building materials and traditional motifs. There have also been craft centres & museums set up by institutions such as the Sanskriti foundation in Delhi and the Madras Craft Foundation in Chennai, amongst many others. Both these centres have given importance to the terracotta craft. The Sanskriti Museum of Indian Terracotta, Delhi The Sanskriti Foundation took the initiative in 1990 to set up a museum of Indian terracotta. The Museum lays a lot of emphasis on collecting the living and continuing traditions of Indian terracotta. More than 1500 objects of terracotta are on display in this Museum. The Museum encompasses open and semi-open courtyards, often dotted with trees. The collection of the Museum represents earthen pots of Manipur, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh; ritual figures of Rajasthan, the Ayyanar cult of Tamil Nadu, tribal terracottas from Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, among others. A special gallery has been installed to provide a historical perspective to the long and ancient tradition of terracotta art. The history of Indian terracotta has been narrated with the help of photographs of significant terracotta finds. Sanskriti invites terracotta craftspersons from all over India on a regular basis. The residential facilities and working space for terracotta craftspersons are located within Sanskriti Kendra. Modern studio potters of India find this repository very inspiring and they have often conducted workshops at the Kendra in which modern and traditional potters have experienced a meaningful interaction.
Ref : www.sanskritifoundation.org

DakshinaChitra, Chennai DakshinaChitra, a project of the Madras Craft Foundation was set up in 1996 at Muttukadu, on the East Coast Road in Chennai. It is a centre for the preservation and promotion of the cultures of South India. It has recreated 18 indigenous houses from Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. One of the houses is of a potter, from the village of Tiruvallur, in Chengelpet district of Tamil Nadu. The house depicts the actual lifestyle of the potters, with space for living and working. The Master potter, Mr.Ramu Vellar lives at the Centre and conducts workshops for children in pottery. The large urns, terracotta horses and other clay products made by him are available for sale at the Centre’s craft shop.
Potters’ house
at the heritage museum

In the proposed Terracotta crafts center at Palmaner, it is the entire community of 40 artisans and their families who will live and work together. It will be a living museum of terracotta. Intermittently, groups of artisans may be encouraged to visit both the Sanskriti museum of terracotta in Delhi and Dakshinachitra in Chennai to understand how indian crafts and heritage are showcased for indian and foreign visitors.


Design Brief
1. Information cell cum Office 2. Exhibition space & Sales outlet It is important to have an outdoor exhibition area, which offers the same visibility as the present displays along the highway. Any passing bus or car is today able to see the pots on display since they are all outdoors. For some smaller craft products, an indoor space can be useful. The indoor space will also allow visitors to view the products in their actual settings. Outdoor (Pavilion) Indoor (Craft shop) 3. Work spaces 4. Housing It is essential that many trees be planted at the Terracotta center so that shaded outdoor areas are available for visitors at all times. Temperatures in the summer can go beyond 40 degrees celsius and no tour would be enjoyable outdoors if the visitors need to walk in hot conditions. Graphics and signage systems to be designed using indigenous materials and art skills. Adequate parking areas to be provided.

Area Requirements Information cell & Office Exhibition space & Sales outlet Work spaces @ 100 sq.ft. per artisan for 40 artisans Housing @ 600 sq.ft. per family for 30 families TOTAL :

300 sq.ft. 1,000 sq.ft. 4,000 sq.ft. 18,000 sq.ft. 24,000 sq.ft.

Concept design
Stone slabs – clay tiled roof – brick walls painted white amidst a landscape of trees and stone/wooden fences to create a backdrop for terracotta craft

Petrol Pump Compound wall It has been suggested that the wall of the Petrol Pump be designed in such a way, with the permission of the Petrol Pump authorities, so as to enhance the display of the terracotta crafts. This may consist of an opening in the wall that allows a view of the well-landscaped areas within the centre with strategically placed terracotta items. If possible, pots, urns and other clay crafts may be positioned on the wall or embedded within niches in the wall to attract potential customers.


Cluster Layout


This concept includes an exhibition space abutting the highway, with a street winding through it and leading to a courtyard space with the information counter on one side. The street continues into the housing layout, which has the work verandahs in the front with the potters working there on their crafts and the families residing in the spaces behind the verandahs. In this plan option, the development by DRDA may consist only of the exhibition area including the sales and the crafts bazaar meant for the public. The area of plot behind this development to be assigned to the potters to build houses themselves under the funding schemes available from the government. The potters have suggested that they be only given pieces of land and access to loans or grants and they can undertake the construction of the houses themselves.


Cluster Layout


In Plan option 2, a large area abutting the road is allocated for parking, in case it is found necessary to encourage visitors and passers-by along the chennai-bangalore highway to stop by at the Terracotta crafts center and to make it easier for them to spend longer time in purchasing the crafts and in observing the artisans at work. The main pedestrian entry is to the right of the centre and leads into a large open-to-sky space or the ‘central courtyard’. From this courtyard, pathways lead to Court 1, Court 2 and Court 3. Along the way, there will be work spaces and small shops selling terracotta items. Along the site boundary abutting the highway, there could be additional workspaces for those artisans who are requesting only a working area at the centre, because they already have a house of their own, further down the highway. A kiln will be required, the location of which has been indicated in the plan. Again, this layout demarcates a portion of the plot for self-built housing.


Cluster Layout


In Cluster layout 3, there are horizontal divisions defining the exhibition zone, work zone and housing zone. The main entry lies to the left of the existing KVIC technology transfer center and the service entry to its right. The service entry will allow the downloading of clay arriving by trucks as and when necessary or the departure of finished products to sales outlets in Bangalore and Chennai. A meandering path runs through the well-landscaped exhibition zone, which is primarily an outdoor area. At present, the entire sales outlet of the potters is outdoors and it has extremely good visibility for the many number of people passing by along the highway in their vehicles. An outdoor exhibition area is therefore proposed since it offers a good display system. The hatched portion in this part of the plan is the area which may be covered with inexpensive grass and the terracotta items will be arranged in an informal way within this. The next zone is the work area, which again has a large component of outdoor space but will also be provided with tiled-roof pavilions where the potter may work on his wheel in shade and also where he can keep his finished products. The third zone will be the potters’ houses which are shown here in clusters with small courtyards between them. These may be required to be Ground and first floor with each family occupying one floor of a small-sized unit.


Housing design details

Typical layout

The houses of the potters may be designed in such a way that the work spaces are in the front of the house and the same unit holds the living spaces for the family. Each house may have a different design for the verandah to lend the place a unique character. The path that connects the houses to each other to be designed in an informal way and with trees to shade the fronts of the houses. The courtyards between the houses allow for outdoor work areas as well as for outdoor household activities for the family. The housing units shown here may either be ground floor structures or G+1 units.

Landscape design details


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