Design

Ignored-Framed: Revitalising Mumbai Mills

Posted on Updated on

imagesIgnored- framed is about the forgotten textile mills of Mumbai, that became disused and non-functional after the Great Bombay Mill Strikes of the 1980s. Occupying more than 6 acres in the heart if the city, Shakti Mills was allowed to degenerate for more than 35 years, a span of time that devolved it into a house for informal activities like the taxi wallas drawing water front he underground baoris (wells) to clean their cars, to other morning errands of the surrounding community, and other illicit drug activities that questioned the very image and position of the important mill within the city. The government as a result covered every possible entrance to the mill compound, leaving 6 acres of land dysfunctional, completely vacant- a dead spot in the city.

Context and Methodology of Design:
2 urban image
This design attempts to counter the capitalism driven redevelopment of other textile mills in the area.
images3
Understanding the needs of the city, for a sensitive contextual redevelopment.
images10
The crux of the project was to create a free, democratic, inclusive design for Shakti Mills to redefine its identity in the urban fabric.
images11
Various democratic uses of the Mill compound

While other textile mills in Mumbai have undergone a capitalistic re-development to suit the commercial needs of the city and the real-estate developer, this design strives to stay away from such models. A critical analysis of the area and mapping of the tactical responses of the city to the mills was done to understand the needs of the people and the existing urban mesh around Shakti Mills. A stand was taken to derive new Development Control Rules, specific to the nature of the mills, making it possible to target micro issues along with the macro-response of the mills to the city.

The design process was initiated by forming a geometrical orientation between the built and the unbuilt to scale and align with the existing Shakti Mill compound wall. Architectural built design was planned in phases to let the mills grow along with the growth and evolution of the city’s needs.

Frameworks and Masterplan:

The masterplanning of the mills compound saw the division of the built into three bays – Access, Serving and the Served. Access became a common passage which would connect all the spaces. Serving became the service bay with service cores and supported the sunk slab. The Serving Space facilitated multiple functional take overs in the Served space. 

images15images14

images17
View of the Mill compound showing the relationship between built and the unbuilt.

Each built housed “Kiosk like structures” on its ground floor making it possible to create an interaction of the built with its un-built. This would make it possible for the streets to be vibrant throughout, satisfying “eyes on the street” criteria. Where as the above floors could be given out for consumption space for functional takeovers like Shops, Houses, Restaurants, Music and Film Studios, Corporate offices, Workshops, Co-working spaces etc. These would evolve in coherence to the existing prevalent functions of the Mills. The existing facade was animated with a continuous walking passage that acted as an interface with the urban edge of the Mills, initaing the user to the central open space with a platform for multiple events of the city to take place.These events could be then be supported by event based kiosks on the right. Above these kiosks is an entrepreneurial co-working space and workshops.


Conclusion:

The compound wall of the Mill was retained as a collective memory of the people who commute through the place daily., with new programmatic inserts that prompted the creation of a new geometry and therefore, a hybrid identity, amalgamating the past and the present identities of the textile Mill.

view 2view 3view 4

 

 


Institution: Rachana Sansad’s Academy of Architecture, Mumbai

Thesis guide: Ar. Rohit Shinkre, Ar. Swati Choskhi

Review Members: Ar. Mandar Parab


Aditya

 

Aditya Mandlik, a recent graduate from Rachana Sansad’s Academy of Architecture, believes in “utopia” making him passionately work towards it. Intrigued by Cities, he is a realist within the envelope of a dreamer, and hopes to make a difference to the urban fabric of Mumbai.

 


Swa-oorja : Envisioning a Zero Waste Pune.

Posted on Updated on

indiaOur relationship with waste in today’s time and age, is from what we consume to the dustbin, rarely do we choose to know what happens to it after the ‘kachrawala’ collects it from our house. The blame for this lies with the boon of globalisation and urbanisation, wherein specialised systems are put in place, tending to man’s every beck and call. The downside of this though, is that these systems are rarely thought of in a holistic manner, one system is rarely intertwined with another, thus leading to discrepancies in functioning as a well organised and symbiotic network.

The most striking example of this is the case of waste management. Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) has to be managed by technologies and methods that enable keeping our cities clean, prevent pollution and protect the environment and at the same time minimize the cost through recovery of resources and energy. As per CPCB report 2012-13 municipal areas in the country generate 1,43,760 metric tonnes per day of Municipal solid waste, of which only 91,152 TPD waste is collected and 25,884 TPD treated. The MSW, therefore, dumped in low lying urban areas is a whopping 1,07,876 TPD, which needs 2,12,752 cubic meter space every day and 776 hectare of precious land per year.

 

Would waste management be a better system if it was thought of in a holistic way, wherein the waste we generate be used in a more productive fashion instead of taking up valuable space and causing serious environmental hazards?

 

Architectural Concern:

In Pune, the Pune Municipal Corporation is in charge of the collection and management of waste. Currently, all of Pune’s waste is dumped in a massive landfill on the outskirts called Uruli Devachi. This has not stopped in spite of repeated protests and adverse health effects of the residents of the nearby town. Waste picker collectives like Swach are doing their part to contribute, but it is not enough. People have to start taking individual responsibility for their waste.

pune-and-its-waste

The need of the hour is to educate people and generate awareness about creating less waste. This project aims at developing a city level network of decentralised waste to energy power plants in each of the 16 administrative wards of Pune city that would also serve as context specific social space to make the service infrastructure accessible to the urban fabric and sensitise people toward the aim of generating less waste by incentivising responsibility toward waste.

Concept Development :

Swa-oorja (Swa: Self, Oorja: Energy) has the capacity to power 18,500 homes at an average in Pune per ward per day. This system will generate employment and revenue along with reducing reliance on the conventional hydro-electric system of power generation. It is scalable and hence is adaptable to various contexts and sizes, right from a housing society to a whole city. The programmatic challenge was to find the ‘sweet’ spot between industry, education and recreation, and the instinctive design response was to deconstruct the assembly line, which allows permeability of social functions without compromising on efficiency. Demystifying the industrial infrastructure was important, so as to design an architecture that addresses both its processing and social functions, and it is perceived as a social space first, before an industrial one.

waste-to-energy
Waste to Energy- Biomethanation over Incineration
decentralised-4
The programmatic challenge was to find the ‘sweet’ spot between industry, education and recreation,

 

what-do-we-choose-to-be
Demystifying the industrial infrastructure was important, to design an architecture that addresses both its processing and social functions, and be perceived as a social space first, before an industrial one.

 

Context and site study:

Kothrud ward was selected for a model for this system, as its population density to waste generation ratio is relatively high (6.7 sq.m per person). Kothrud also holds the record for the fastest growing suburb in Asia, transitively generating a massive amount of residential and commercial waste. The ward generates around 50 Tonnes per day(TPD) of MSW out of which approximately 40 TPD is organic waste. After studying the fabric of the ward, it was deuced that Kothrud had negligible public park space. Hence the power plant would double up as a public park. A former landfill site on an arterial road was chosen, which has a history as a landfill before it was banned in 1990’s, and is presently being used as a waste transfer station and office for Swach, the ragpicker’s collective. The site area is 27 acres with the road on the southern end, a hill to the north, and residential buildings on the east and west, along with a slum, that houses the swach employees to the southwest.

 

Design Development:

Site specific design decisions include water harvesting, two way vehicular circulation, deriving an axis from an existing temple. The role of the architect in this case is more as a designer of systems. The site has been developed as an overlay of various programmatic systems which translate themselves in geometries, them being:

  1. Plane: The surface on which the social activities take place.
  2. Organic line: Circulation on the ground, traced by the instinctive movement of people on the site, and the topography.
  3. Point: A grid of 20m x 20m has been laid on the site, with the grid points translating themselves into buildings, and the workflow tracing the gridlines.
  4. Process Line: The line tracing the grid, which the processes and services follow, and also translates itself into a pedestrian bridge, for visitors to access the processes without interrupting the workflow.

 

exploded
Design Development: Overlaying the Industrial and the Social

 

Programming the Plant:

The programme is divided into three parts, the power plant, which includes the waste to energy plant, processing units for dry waste, and an administration that includes a visitors centre and employee area. The social programme is designed as supporting functions to the power plant and include a  shop for selling artisanal items made from waste, a cafeteria, a library and workshops that can be used to for a variety of purposes, ranging from studios for artists to hosting exhibitions. An art gallery has also been included, to encourage art. The third part is the permeable edge, on the southern end of the site, adjacent to the road, which relies on site specific design interventions, including a marketplace to replace the haphazard hawkers on Paud road, a community centre with public toilets and open space that the slum dwellers can use constructively. Adaptive reuse of the existing waste transfer station into an industrial jungle gym for children to play in. The existing Swach office has been used as a Nursery for toddlers and a cycle rent stand, while the office has been shifted to be a part of the administrative building.

 

masterplan
The programme is divided into three parts, the power plant, which includes the waste to energy plant, processing units for dry waste, and an administration that includes a visitors centre and employee area.
site-section
Section across the site connected by the production line.
dry-waste
Dry waste processing Centre
wet waste 2
Wet Waste processing Centre

 

 

Architectural language and material expression:

The prismatic form has been translated as a prototypical modular system of steel trusses, one module being 10m wide by 12m long, made from scrap metal. This module is repeated according to the usage of the building, with functions requiring less space made up of lesser modules and so on. Fly ash bricks are used for the walls, plastic bottles have been used as roof tiles and gutters, Bottle bricks have been used to make the seating, and reused oil drums have been used as lighting.

The aesthetic of the project has been designed to communicate a certain level of relate-ability, with the building form being reduced to platonic solids, prisms, spheres and cylinders, with the interpenetration between them make for the architectural language.

details 1section-moves

 

Conclusion:

‘Architects have to become designers of eco-systems. Not just beautiful facades and buildings, but systems of economy and ecology, wherein we channel the flow not only of people, but also the flow of resources through our cities and buildings’ – Bjarke Ingles.

This quote sums up the concern for the project and the approach taken toward the thesis. Systems of living have to thought about in a holistic way, and the role of the architect in today’s time is a designer of these systems, since he has the foresight to perceive systems. Swa-oorja is an attempt at such a system, and it is designed to highlight and address waste management and power generation as cogs of the same wheel of sustainable living.

ecolo 5
Swa-oorja : Envisioning a Zero Waste Pune.

 


This publication is a collaboration between Hashtag Urbanism and Nishant Pai, based on his Undergraduate Design Thesis, “Swa-oorja : Envisioning a Zero Waste Pune.”, compiled in the document below.


Institution: VIT’s Padmabhushan Vasantdada Patil College of Architecture, Pune.

Thesis guide: Ar Vijaya Srinivasan.

Review Members: Ar. Nachiket Patwardhan, Ar. Vijaya Shrinivasan, Ar. Prasanna Desai, Ar. Narendra Dengle, Ar. Shekhar Garud, Ar Pinkish Shah

Noteworthy Mention: Shortlisted for NIASA (National Institute of Advanced Studies in Architecture) Thesis Awards West Zone

Nishant PaiNishant Pai, currently working as a Researcher in Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute for Architecture and Environmental Studies (KRVIA), is an architect and closet graphic designer and artist. His research takes him to the informal settlements of the Mumbai Metropolitan region to develop a guideline for architects and planners to deal with informality in an inclusive manner.

He recently kick started a platform for curating art and design, StART Collective. Follow the page for more updates!


 

 

Revitalization of Abandoned Quarry, Chennai

Image Posted on Updated on

1

The industrial revolution provided us with the engineering and power necessary to make profound economic and social change. However, with this unprecedented growth and new found prosperity, an abuse of natural resources and our environment initiated a trajectory of unforeseeable consequences. Today, we are leaving our historically wasteful and turbulent manufacturing economy in favor of a seemingly more stable and mainstream digitally driven era. With this, we are seeing the massive areas of disrupted land that once stood to represent the height of innovation and success appearing as abandoned wastelands all over the world. With the quest to redevelop these areas lies the opportunity to re-imagine the definition of public space and green infrastructure.

This thesis takes a critical eye to previous and current design strategies of industrial landscapes and identifies new typologies relevant within this construct. Using a Gravel quarry with abandoned area as its site, this thesis proposes a master plan to reclaim, restore, and reuse the quarry as an alluring recreational green space for the surrounding community. In seeking a redefinition of the urban park, this thesis argues that a new type of cultural parkland is needed that envelope structures, that conversed and ground that responds to 21st century living.

Site 1

Quarry 1
Ecological evolution of the Quarry
Site Segmentation
Careful analysis of Site conditions was carried out to assess its potential.

This proposal uses a series of architectural interventions to respond to sites visual character and fill the recreational needs of the community. How can a forward looking architecture acknowledge a surrounding context defined by its past? This thesis aims to capture the knowledge of previous violent enterprise, physical industrial remnants, topographic qualities of a Quarried landscape, and the character of the surrounding community in order to fuse architecture with its industrial surroundings. Through this entwined relationship of architecture and its surrounding landscape the project is able to provide unique amenities that embrace the quarry’s industrial heritage. The proposal sees what has been abandoned not as waste, but as an opportunity to redefine the cultural park in order to create dynamic and engaging spaces.

014 copy

Crop 1
Zoomed in segment of the plan (Refer attached document for better viewing)

 

“The modern park is no longer seen as a quiet rural green, but as a sparkling and overcharged urban crossroads” – AdriaanGeuze

 

Creating the Urban Landscape of tomorrow

The evolution of industries in the last quarter of the 21st century has been characterised by the abandonment of industrial areas. This trend is ongoing and is pushing rapidly toward urban areas. With this, cities are confronting change by reprogramming these postindustrial spaces, and people are changing their aesthetic sensibilities and attitudes toward natural and man-made environments.

By redefining these sites as public green space, we can capture the unique qualities and benefits of their industrial past to provide green infrastructure that hosts new architectural opportunities and amenities for its surrounding community. The recreational services provided by these sites will have both environmental and social benefits. The parks of tomorrow will become the basis of a thriving metropolitan culture. Parks implemented in these post-industrial areas will allow for shared experiences that give rise to mutual respect in the community and act as landmarks within our cities that represent growth and prosperity the way their previous industrial nature once did.

This thesis accepts the challenge that lies in incorporating natural processes into architectural interventions and looks to the land itself to identify design opportunities. The form and content of the pavilions and constructed landscape is developed through historical traces, local associations, indigenous plants, and regional materials in order to provide a new form of public space, while simultaneously embracing the identity of the monumental landscape defined by man.

Periswamy says, “My thesis is a conversation…. Not a silent one but a celebration of the gorgeous laid down mass – THE QUARRY”

Section019 (2)018 (2)


This publication is a collaboration between Hashtag Urbanism and Nikhil Sriram Periaswamy, based on his Undergraduate Design Thesis, “Revitalisation of Abandoned Quarry, Chennai.”, compiled in the document below. (Zoom in to the document to view the beautiful detailing of the spaces.)

 


Institution – MEASI Academy of Architecture, Chennai.

Review Members – Prof. Priya Sasidharan, Prof. Sachidanandam, Ar. Aravind Rangan (Aravind Varuna Associates)
Thesis Guide – Ar. S.F. Salma.

Noteworthy mention – Winner, NIASA (National Institute of Advanced Studies in Architecture) Thesis Awards South Zone, Top shortlisted entry in ArchiPrix International 2017, Shortlisted- ISARCH Awards.


Nikhil Sriram Periaswamy is currently pursuing his Master in Architecture in Chennai and graduated Bachelors in Architecture from MEASI Academy of Architecture, Chennai. He is currently involved in testing various methodologies in urban systems to understand and create “Liveable” urban spaces, and a series of art compositions called GEOMETRY which is at the publication state.


 

Context Reservoir- Re-wiring the tribal systems of Melghat.

Posted on Updated on

The most disturbing conflict that one faces while working for an underprivileged community arises when one asks oneself, ‘Is it neo-colonialism if you, a city-grown and educated person, try to find a solution to a problem faced by them?’. This conflict arose at the beginning and was answered only during the next few months of working on the project.

Architecture is not just about a beautiful building but about the beautiful life that it contains. This doesn’t mean that the architecture of the project merely contains the program but that there’s much more to architecture than ‘apple-ization’ of form. It only means that each part of the built whole, every detail and each joint strives to reinforce the ideals of the imagined life. Architecture also doesn’t refer only to a finished building because that would make the people occupying this imagined utopia be looked down upon as mere ‘pollutants’. It means that the process of creating the space itself, positively affects the lives of people working or inhabiting the immediate physical context. All such processes have to be handled in a fine precision of a surgeon so that the insertion that is proposed doesn’t hamper the process of eventual evolution of the man, the place and the interplay within.

Architecture is also a process of building narratives. It also means that various narratives also play their parts in the process of building architecture. Such narratives of user groups as well as natural and artificial entities such as water, dwellings also act as the inseparable steps of the design process. Architecture of the project understands that after all the metaphors, connections and poems that an architect tries to imbibe into his (in this case, me!) space, it still longs to be accessed by all; unlike other art forms. Architecture can be pretentious and yet the ideals behind can be completely transformed by the users of the same. The project understands this process of change and this layer of time tries to fit the insert right inside the ancient society of the tribals.

 First rains ideationInterpreting Conservative Surgery

Contextual development is a model of development that demands to be participatory and which studies and responds to the cultural, economic, ecological, political, historical contexts of the selected area. A tribal village in Melghat, Maharashtra (India) was selected as a site to demonstrate how a model of contextual development can be implemented.

Melghat only because of the positive changes it brought to me when I was involved in a teaching program previously through ‘Maitri’, an NGO that tries to improve the education and the livelihoods of the Korku (name of the tribe). The selection of the village was made by carefully analyzing the ‘athawda bazar’ or the weekly market system of the tribal society. The most suitable and potentially well-connected host village of Hatru was chosen for maximum impact after comparative analysis. The site was visited on multiple occasions and the observations related to it’s cultural, economic, ecological, political and historical contexts were recorded.

site study
Understanding the context of Melghat and settlement structure
Understanding the lifestyle patterns of the Korku.

Published literature on Meghat was studied. Secondary literature that dealt with the post-colonial understanding of politics, economy and sustainability was chosen and studied. Schemes, acts and rights under the state of Maharashtra, India and the Constitution of India were studied for being able to analyze and critique it. Detailed discussions were conducted with the villagers, experts and social workers from Melghat, and the thesis guides. A contextual development plan, a manifesto of sort was proposed that would be implemented over next 20 years. The plan comprises of measures suggested in the domains of local self-governance, economic self-reliance, food security, and ecological interventions, creating spaces for positive social interactions and for several educational initiatives that respond to the micro-context of the local ecosystem. Certain inserts from the plan such as an activity studio, a research studio, a village-library, an educational farm, a parallel school, the ecotourism model, the community kitchen were selected through a process that embraced ‘user narratives’ as a tool for detailing the design. Thus the design approach became narrative-based and not program-based.

response to the built and unbuilt
Responses to the built and un-built- Site observations
watershed ideation
Schematic diagram mapping the flows of the watershed
Initial sketches of the settlement morphology
Initial sketches of the settlement’s morphology
initial section
Schematic section through the proposed community centre
Schematic diagram through the proposed stepwell
Schematic diagram through the proposed stepwell, that acts as a psychological, physical and economic support to the people.
Material exploration
Exploration of local materials like bamboo, mud and stone to develop a rational, low cost sustainable design that meets local standards.

All the areas were determined by the local standards (ex. indoor space occupied by the villagers) and the design aimed to be rational, low cost, built with local and sustainable materials and techniques. The architecture had to be efficient, which can contain multiple activities with and without formalization. The scale of aesthetics, poetics and kinesthetics of architecture was purposely kept within the user’s comfort level. The beauty of the project lies in the way it started as a contemporary, rational and secular project and ended up eloping with traditional solutions. The project juxtaposes rationality with tradition when the functional spaces are weaved together by water, forming a contemporary step well.

The thesis also tries to question itself on the every step. ‘Why must this policy exist? Why must any policy exist at all? How much fodder do cows need? Should the by-laws and our conventional ideas of development hold us from valuing our evolved traditions? How does scale matter? How do people get comfortable? Who is going to build the project? Do bananas grow in shade?’ were only some of them. The project addresses the macro issues with micro solutions comprising of individuals, their livestock and their immediate surroundings.

The project focuses on shifting role of the architect from being a mere facilitator to the rich to being a translator for all. The project therefore tries to meet the objective of demonstrating contextual development with a realistic outlook.

Retrospection

 The process of thesis tried to find an answer to the previously presented conflict. If you think yourself as different from the society that has thrived right next to you, that itself implies your superiority and falls into the neo-colonialist trap. If you imagine yourself as different, that itself implies the hierarchical structure of the society, reinforcing yourself as being a know-it-all problem solver. Once you start to be an active agent of your society, you try to be sustainable and increasingly more sensitive. The entire built up that the project proposes is in fact an inter-play between the inclusion and the exclusion of the individuals and the groups of individuals. When I look back to the process of designing so as to examine what could have affected the project positively, the ratio of the architect’s capacity and his power in an architectural project should have been questioned rigorously.

A thesis about decentralization can only become a valid project if its methods of design and execution represent the principles of decentralization that it tries to promote. Democratic, participatory approach to any project that deals with defining space should not only be preferable and celebrated but it should be a norm in any society that strives for democracy. Democracy at the end isn’t an event but a process.


This publication is a collaboration between Hashtag Urbanism and Advait Deshmukh, based on his Undergraduate Design Thesis, “Context Reservoir- Re-wiring the tribal systems of Melghat.”, compiled in the document below.

Institution – VIT’s PVP College of Architecture, Pune.
Review Members – Ar. Nachiket Patwardhan, Ar. Vijaya Shrinivasan, Ar. Prasanna Desai, Ar. Narendra Dengle, Ar. Shekhar Garud, MN Ashish Ganju (He was on the panel for the final internal jury.)
Thesis Guide – Ar. Minal Sagare

Noteworthy mention – Presented along with 9 others at NIASA (National Institute of Advanced Studies in Architecture) Thesis Awards West Zone jury.