There is a very informative article in Viva Goa about our head designer Joachim written by Dielle Dsouza.
Here’s the link of the online teaser:
So hurry to the next dealer and get your own December issue of the Viva Goa magazine …
… or those who missed it, have the plain text here only:
‘Truly at home’
Goa grew on architect
Joachim Haider, who moved here from Germany on work, but soon followed both passion and love
By Dielle D’Souza
It was 2006. London was reeling from the bomb blasts and airport security was frantic. This was hardly the way Joachim Haider wanted to begin a new leg of his life. It would be 34 hours, flight time and in transit, before the German landed in Goa to join an architectural firm here as its branch manager.
Landing at the airport in Mumbai at 10pm meant he would be spending the night uncomfortably sprawled across cold metallic airport benches, huddling away from the draught of the air-conditioning until his flight to Goa at 5.30am the next morning. When he finally got here, he began the most torturous drive in a Maruti Omni “which jumped like a goat over the speed breakers” to his new home.
“If someone had to hand me a ticket back at that point, I would have grabbed it,” said the 58-year-old. But a week later, he found himself loving it.
He immediately got his hands on a Bullet, thundering around Goa and discovering places most of his colleagues had never been to or even heard of. Many of these could only be reached by two-wheeler or on foot. “I would look at Google Earth and find places. Going past Betul, Cabo de Rama and Palolem is where you feel you are actually in Goa,” the Stuttgart-born architect said.
For five and a half years he worked with the firm until his father lost a battle with cancer, compelling him to go home. It changed everything. “I had met him half a year before on his 80th birthday and he looked so thin. During my layover in Qatar on the way back to Goa, I had a thought – ‘what would you do if you knew you had six months to live?’” Joachim recalled.
It was then that he knew he couldn’t work for the company anymore. He had to give in to the artist that he felt was laying dormant inside. Over the next six months, sketch book upon sketch book was filled with design ideas, “running over like a tap that had been opened”.
This was the birth of Organic Arts & Architecture (www.organic-architecture.com), an architectural firm which started last year. “There is a bit of misunderstanding about organic architecture and it is usually confused with ecological, green or sustainable architecture. It could be attached to it or can include it, but is, in essence, about shapes and forms,” he explained.
It is a philosophy which promotes harmony between human habitation and the natural world in a way that integrates the construction and surroundings into a unified whole. “The forms are not copied directly from nature, but are flowing and sculpturally elastic,” Joachim said.
Unlike most other companies, the firm decided to work in 3D modeling from the beginning, sparing clients the process of having to visualise what their home might look like just from regular floor plans. The architect recalled the reactions of one of his first clients who was looking for Mughal-inspired designs.
Joachim had insisted that the elements would be there, but the design would be completely contemporary. A few days after sending across 3D models and renderings, the client called, and began to point out missing details she wanted. Nervous, Joachim asked whether she liked the design in general. Her answer: “I didn’t like it. I loved it!” It is these reactions that he lives for, showing people that buildings can be designed with a different approach.
Joachim believes we must honour and preserve old architecture, but avoid replicating their designs.
Through organic architecture, he finds freedom in bending designs, drawing rooms to flow one into the other.
The cosy office located in Fontainhas is where much of the brainwork takes place. The rest of his day is spent painting, dancing and revelling in the company of his new wife Sadhana, who is also an architect and an artist. They found each other a year ago through an Indian marriage portal. “I gifted myself a profile on the website for my last birthday and soon, Sadhana and I were emailing each other and chatting on Skype. We are both of a similar age and share many interests,” he said.
After much waiting around in queues at the civil registrar in Panaji, they were married in March this year and set up their new home in Caranzalem. He now shows her the places across Goa he discovered all those years ago, and together they enjoy treks to Goa’s hinterland.
Having visited places across India – from Jaipur to Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Chennai to Orissa – his heart lies with Goa. “On the way back in the aircraft, you watch as the scene turns from brown to green, you catch a glimpse of the blue Arabian Sea, and you truly feel that you are home,” he said.
Goa, he believes, can be a model state if we focus on efficient practices and stop exploiting its natural resources. He quotes Mahatma Gandhi – “The world is large enough for everyone’s needs, but too small for everyone’s greed” – and hopes for better practices such as organic farming, alternative energy, waste reduction and management and public transportation systems to take Goa to greater heights.
His only wish is for good sailing opportunities to be created here, where he can use his sailing license and enjoy the warm waters of Goa’s stunning coastline.