The Other Side of Laurie Baker by his wife Dr. Elizabeth Baker is a combination of mainly three things: reference material, biography fused with autobiography, love story. The achievements of Laurie Baker in the field of architecture, particularly low cost housing, are well known. But there was much more to the man.
This book presents so touchingly the long journey of Laurence Wilfred Baker (1917-2007) from
The book describes Baker’s 1944 meeting with Gandhiji in
Now the love story begins. Dr. Chandy asked his sister Elizabeth who was then the Medical Superintendent of a hospital in Karimnagar to visit him. Laurie Baker was sent to meet her at Allahabad Railway Station. On the last day before she was to return to Karimnagar, ‘He took my hand and asked – “Will you marry me?” There was no hesitation from my part because, from the beginning of our acquaintance I was quite sure that we had to be together. It seemed to me the most normal thing to do.’ There were objections but finally they were married in 1948.
From then to 1963 was the ‘Himalayan era’ working together in remote areas in the hills. During that period Baker did a great deal of architectural work mainly building schools and hospitals using locally available materials. Then they came to Wagamon, Kerala and built a hospital, Mithraniketan (see drawing by Laurie Baker) for the tribes in the area. Finally the Bakers shifted to
The Other Side of Laurie Baker is an interesting and inspiring book, which has some photographs as well. It is published by DC Books,