Sense of Place- Landscapes for new Urbanity
- January 29, 2014
The idea of identity in emerging urbanity is a difficult one.
With clone like relentless growth , the new urbanity of India has no soul, no character, and no sense of personality.
Arguably , to deal with both, the idea of this scale and pace in any other way seems difficult. Either we should build slowly, or we should build less- or perhaps there is another way- one that has not been developed till now.
Till we find a better way to build, how does one find the expression of the human spirit, build an idea of identity, and more simply bring a smile to people’s faces, in the new supplanted urbanity, they call homes.
The studio was recently confronted with a small space, measuring 3700 sq.mts, in the middle on 500 middle income housing flats.
The buildings are done with military precision; and between them was a narrow long strip on a podium , below which cars were parked.
We designed the space, in seemingly unconnected fractals. A series of unconnected events ,that still were meant to be seamless were imagined. Each space with its own distinct character, its own tale, its own aesthetic. Almost like many fun, joyous, intelligent people in an animated room – holding hands.
At the lower end of the plan, an entrance walk amongst trees, that had water at its edge, leading to a plaza with large trellis structures, that led to a green court. A secluded water court with cool caves were isolated from this composition; and they in turn hid away and created a separation with a series of active play spaces and a small amphitheatre. The entire series of spaces are ringed with a walking track, that is dotted with small seating enclosures along the building edges.
The space compositions were each crafted with hand skills that were exuberant, and have a series of installations that mark the spaces.
The giant trellis structures that shield the main court of the composition. This space is reached after a short walk, amidst a grove of trees, that has a hand crafted copper and brass fountain that marks the entrance. ( below). Vyoms sculpture marks the node of the garden court.
The entrance fountain ; a composition of many petals – in hand beaten copper, brass and steel.
The trellis composition; the main court.
A fountain along the edge of the trellis for children.
In all there, are four trellis structures; the largest one is 35 mts long.
The trellis is fine crafted; each piece differently assembled; tilting and weaving in itself; the lattice forming many textures of light; shielding the space from the sun.
Seen away from the main court is the court of caves, and the giant dinosaur that lurks beyond it. The head of this animal intrudes into the court of caves and stitches two spaces. Over a time the court will have tall bamboo clumps and lotus and fish in the pond. The caves are quiet retreats , their roofs lined with grass.
The dinosaur is 32 mts long.
Details of the giant dinosaur, that is a bridge, a slide, ladders, and swings and a joyous play structure where many an imagination can run riot.
One of the seating courts along the building edge
Details of the windmills on the amphitheatre and another of the steps along the garden court.
The project is just being completed. But initial reactions are interesting.
People who earlier came on weekends to show their new flats to their freinds and family, now just spend time in the garden, and dont even bother to go their flats. This is their area of pride.
Every one who comes to it, takes to it easily and the child in them in easily evoked. A dear freind who came with her children could not resist trying the slide. Just moments before, the client , a mostly serious man, had already quickly tried the slide when no one was watching.
Many people who come there now talk about having meals in the courts, or inviting freinds for meals and spending the time before the food, sitting in the gardens.
Most investors who have bought the flats now refuse to part with them.
And everyone who has worked on it, or visits it, have a twinkle of joy in their eyes.
Early days, but this is good news….
An Office Landscape ; Mumbai
January 04, 2014
Near Haji Ali in Mumbai is a new office building. As are many in big cities, at least from the distance, there is little to distinguish it from the sea of the many similar looking buildings. Should it look different? Should it not? This whole discussion about what are "back
Architect’s Retreat; 22 Feb. 2014
March 08, 2014
The Architects Retreat , was held at the Yacht's Club, in Mumbai on 22nd February 2014. The people who were invited and attended were, Meghal Arya , from Ahmedabad who is a senior faculty at CEPT University, and a partner at Arya Associates, Vijay Arya an architect who has engaged with large-scale public