SAF Film: “Uncommon Sense: The Life and Architecture of Laurie Baker"

  • 03 May 2017
  • 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
  • Ringling College of Art + Design, Larry R. Thompson Academic Center Auditorium, 2363 Old Bradenton Road, Sarasota FL 34234

Architect Laurie Baker

Renowned British-born Indian architect Laurie Baker has been called the “Gandhi of Architecture". He was also an accomplished cartoonist, artist and innovative designer. Baker has been at various times of his life an anesthetist, a nurse, a missionary and an architect. He served in the Second World War in the Friends Ambulance Unit and lived for four years in isolation in remote China taking care of lepers. After a meeting with Gandhi, Baker was convinced to go to India, initially as the chief architect of the Mission to Lepers building leper homes throughout India. He has since lived in Pithoragarh in the foothills of the Himalayas building hospitals and schools and in the tribal areas of Vagamon in Kerala before finally settling down in the city of Trivandrum.

Baker's body of work is significant both in terms of the volume and sheer diversity as well as in terms of the innovative and practical concepts he introduced. He has designed and built a dance village, computer institutes, fishermen’s huts, chapels and churches, factories, schools, film studios, orphanages, tourist resorts, residences, technical institutes, earthquake and tsunami resistant houses, leprosy homes, a Literacy Village, hostels, slum dwellings improvement, an ornithology centre, government buildings, a blind children’s international school and a museum. In Kerala alone, he has built over 2000 buildings. He has also done pioneering work into earthquake and tsunami proof housing.

He once said: “I think I am subconsciously often strongly influenced by nature, and much of nature's 'structural work' is not straight or square. A tall reed of grass in a windy, wild terrain is a long cylinder or a hollow tube; tree trunks and stems of plants that carry fruit and leaves are usually cylindrical and not square. Curves are there to take stresses and strains and to stand up to all sorts of external forces. On top if it all, they look good and beautiful and are infinitely more elegant than straight lines of steel and concrete."

For more information, visit

> Interview with director Vineet Radhakrishnan on the making of the documentary about his grandfather Laurie Baker

> This film was featured in ArchDaily’s "Architecture Documentaries To Watch In 2017"

SAF 2017 Film Series Sponsor

Home Resource Contemporary Furniture

Ringling College of Art + Design
Larry R. Thompson Academic Center Auditorium
2363 Old Bradenton Road
Sarasota FL 34234

Questions:, 941-364-2199

Download Ringling College Campus Map


  • Public – $15.00
  • Ringling College Student and Staff With ID
  • SAF Member – $10.00
  • Student


AIA Florida Gulf Coast Chapter | P.O. Box 160 | Sarasota | FL | 34230 | | 941.315.8242

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