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Rural Newda in Rural Vekllei

Monday, Aug 17, 2020
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This article was featured in Issue #4 of the Atlantic Bulletin

Newda is Vekllei’s national architectural ideology, applied flexibly in a range of modernist styles developed domestically in her architecture schools. Broadly, Newda buildings emphasise distinction from the surrounding landscape (called Dumousiantopet, or ‘beautiful and seperate’), natural decay, and honesty in material and construction. Vekllei’s great Parliament House is Newda; as are the little rural homes found in the mountains inland in Vekllei.

Tzipora’s house in the village of Montre-Lola (as depicted on the map here) is built in what Vekllei calls “Azores revivalism”, a Newda style heavily influenced by the stripped deco and streamline moderne buildings of a century prior. It is part of a constant conversation Newda holds with its past, as both a deeply modernist, progressive school and one bound up in the wider aesthetic and cultural traditions of Upen, the spiritualism of Vekllei.

Her house is small, but appears larger due to the layout of the structure. A small sleeping loft sits atop the living, bathing and cooking areas of the home, and opens out into a private rooftop garden. The utilities tower also hides a small staircase leading to the roof, which is also accessible for outdoor recreation. Her home stands amidst the farmland of Montre-Lola, and very near the library and primary school where she works. Her property is marked at its end by a creek that runs into the Dentre River. She has a vegetable garden in her backyard, and shares her paddocks with her neighbours for grazing periodically throughout the year.

Her house was erected in gratitude by her neighbours out of prefab components, and assisted by a “construction line,” — a temporary rail line in which goods are delivered and cranes are supported, minimising the need for lorries. Houses of this type and period are rarely seen in agricultural settings in other countries, but in Vekllei, where Landscape has been abolished, there might as well be no difference between a building suitable for the cosmopolitan, coastal cities and a dwelling for a farmer-girl.