Rasipuram KrishnaswamiLaxman, commonly known as R. K. Laxman, is one of the most remarkable cartoonists in India. He is best known for his caricature series of a “Common Man” and therefore, this structure in his Memoriam reflects this legacy.
The idea was to create an abstract and minimalistic structure that embodies the essence of caricature art.
It exhibits the philosophy of the cartoonist, with the values of Abstract, Minimalism, Flexibility, Journey, and Reflection. The structure consists of different blocks wrapped around by a linear path that showcases the life journey of the great cartoonist.
In today’s time, Museums/memorials are not being used as expected, especially in India. Therefore, to showcase the legacy of the great artist, the memorial building itself acts as an exhibit of his work.
The outer fins of the structure are used as a canvas to portray the caricatures of RK Laxman using the concept of a Static Flipbook. These caricatures interact with the audience, where different angles, different speeds, and different motions around the building on a defined pathway create different perceptions.
The structure consists of a Hall of fame, an Exhibition hall, a Cafeteria, an Amphitheatre & an Administration block. The design entails 3 units at different levels, and the negotiation at height is managed by the ramps and staircases. The building starts at ground level, where the curved path symbolizes a Pradakshina as a tribute to RK Laxman. The angled slabs and the combination of open, semi-open, and built spaces at different levels create drama in the interior space. The Workshop below the Hall of fame is a double-storied area with windows all around for clearstory light. This double-height area accommodates a mezzanine and an elevated space as a kid-notch area. To create a modern statement using conventional and economical materials, the basic structure is wrapped by cement sandwich panelled fins with fly-ash filling. This additional skin added to the building creates a buffer zone between the outer facade and the exhibition spaces. It is designed as a sunlight breaker, which gives an ample amount of diffused natural light inside.The colour and material palette used are also as subtle as the Artist’s caricature works. The major materials used in the structure are Concrete, Steel, Cement Sandwich Panels, Glass, and plywood. Cement Tiles, Granite and Veneers, etc. were employed for flooring. The use of concrete prevails considering its characteristics of firmness or obduracy, long-lasting and durable material. The Cement sandwich panels on the external façade have Caricatures done using waterproof paint. In this way, this conventional material has been used in an unconventional way to create an interactive facade, which gives a brief background of the memorial to the visitors, as well as the passers-by