Portfolio - Ankita Dhal

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Unscripting the Home: Women Making Space in the City Semester 9 Dissertation Thesis (Research)

1.1 Introduction: How do women make home in the city? An increased migration of women has been observed in the recent past within the country, especially to cities. It’s crucial to understand how women make home in the city as gender forces us to look at the home space very differently. It has deep implications on our individualities and the way we interact with space. How does the gender role of being a woman and its subsequent social scripting affect the way women go through home-making processes? Through the fieldwork, I mapped various kinds of places and social structures that women face, when they come to the city. The aim is to understand what kind of conditioning and imaginations women have when they venture out through personal and vulnerable conversations. How do they challenge these historicised gender roles and limitations of patriarchy to gain agency and claim space?

1.2 Research Methods: Interviews: The interviews are conducted in the form of intimate conversations that developed over time, over many meals. The conversations were documented in Virginia Woolf’s stream of consciousness method.

From left to right, top to bottom :

1. The Media Student 2. The Architecture Student 3. The Musician 4. The Homemaker

Interviewee 1 in her bedrioom, book cover


The Media Student: Stories

The first argument of the thesis is that there is a relationship between gender roles and home-making. This is explained through various comparative analysis of both men and women’s experiences in home-making (readings and interviews).

For the man, interactions happen outside the confines of the home. For women, the domain of the home is crucial—for privacy, her individual and community life, and even for her entrepreneurial needs. As the everyday life and chores related to the household remain attached to women’s identities, they find ways of navigating the spaces differently.

The second argument is that there is a relationship between women, home-making, and the city. The need for women to build a home in the city stems from the fact that it opens up avenues that were previously inaccessible to them. Historically, women have been restricted to certain zones of access. In towns and provincial cities, the women are not able to freely move out of their homes or within their homes. Hence, home-making particularly in city space or the urban areas provides an opportunity to expand their zone of access, saving themselves from long-term patriarchal limitations and restrictions.

Media Student: Stories from the Hostel


The Architecture Student

The third argument is that there are additional layers to home-making owing to the gender role of being women. These additional hurdles arise only when women try to make home. There is no set precedent for women to know about home-making in the city owing to their social scripts. The gender roles prescribe no such knowledge. Performativity theory by Judith Butler says that gender is not something one is, it is something one does, a “doing” rather than a “being”. The social script is always predetermined. However, performativity takes away a certain amount of agency and imagination that creates desires of other identities. As a response women learn abstract and concrete actions (Merleau- Ponty’s theories on movements). These every day practises become crucial in home-making to move past the unconscious confusions experienced at first.

The fourth argument is that space-making through home-making for women is a long and tedious process. A gendered space like a tapri or an alcohol shop is fractured when a woman is making a purchase, because now she has a home where she can partake in these activities that were otherwise forbidden. The hostel room becomes a space of transgressions and breaking rules in the night.

The fifth argument is that women making homes are able to create fractures/hideouts in patriarchal spaces. Finally, home-making in a city becomes a means of liberation for women.

1.5 The Musician


Conclusions and Design Intent

There is an increased pressure on the city infrastructure and its housing deficit. Cities like Mumbai are facing peak connectivity and networking of people, with a large part of it being under construction. Amidst all this, new urban imaginations are being forged. City planners and designers are only beginning to include mentions of gender sensitivity in the form of safety for women and inclusivity. From the fieldwork, it is evident that women struggle to open up their zones of access in the city while making a home. Even their homes see long drawn tedious processes of space acts and negotiations before the home can become even fractionally welcoming to women.

In the design conversations of city infrastructure and housing, we must include this lens of gender and its implications on design. A support infrastructure needs to exist, which promotes space acts of claiming, respite, community building, amenities, recreation, transgressions, etc. so women don’t have to fracture patriarchal space but instead find hideouts or rescues within the city infrastructure itself. This support infrastructure needs to work in tandem with providing housing for women to lessen the burden of jumping household to household or settling for highly oppressive accommodations. This will help us increase ease of home-making and city claiming for women. The next phase of the project - the dissertation design addresses the above concerns.

1.7 The Homemaker


Rescripting the Home: Cities making space for women

Illustration for State of Women’s Housing in Mumbai

Semester 10 Dissertation Design

2.1 Introduction: The research highlighted the lack of consideration given to the experience of gender in city making. This happens in both qualitative and quantitative aspects. The intent of the design proposal thereof was to address the quantitative lack in amenities for women that further marginalises them. The inquiry however was to understand how to challenge the gender-neutral approach of design that generalises identities, with a gender equitable approach. The research indicated that women can and are constantly ‘unscripting’ their own roles and the city in order to make space for themselves and dignify their lived experiences. Was it possible to then “rescript” cities to accommodate and aid this process for women? Could support infrastructures that act as plug-ins re-script the city for women?

Graphic for women’s experiances

Interior view of one of the designed hostel rooms, cover for book

2.2. Site : The site chosen is the JVPD scheme area located in the western suburbs of Mumbai. The scheme is an HIG / MIG housing scheme laid rectilinearly, giving it a sterile character. Multiple accounts of eve-teasing and day-to-day gender-based violence occur in neighbourhoods like these owing to their mundane, desolate, and privatised nature . The design is proposed for the area between the Vile Parle Railway Station and the interiors of the JVPD scheme. The walk features time and again in women’s anecdotes of discovering the city and becomes an opportunity to exercise independence. The design is thus conceptualised as encounters that are discovered by a feminine body

Existing Site Condition of JVPD scheme

while commuting from one place to another. The encounters range from the scale of the body and the home, to the community and the neighbourhood and finally to the scale of the public and the city.

01. Housing and Public Edge (Self, Body and Home) 02. Garden for Women and Children (Community) 03. Food Stalls and pickups (Neighbourhood) 04. Daycare (Public) 05. Washroom (City) Proposed “encounter” nodes

Existing Site Condition of Site 1: Irla Nullah

2.3 SIte and Proposal 1: Irla Nullah The first site is a plot owned by the government that is presently used as a junkyard, located next to a drain. The opposite edge of the drain is a stretch of public gardens adjoining a small educational campus. (photos)The site adds to the desolate and sterile nature of the scheme especially with its 4m tall stone boundary walls and the gendering along the footpaths. The linearity in designs like these aids the discomfort women experience in city spaces. The home is designed and assumed to be an interiorised and domestic space, whereas the lived experience of women happens in multiple degrees between the home and the city. The five concepts that structure the design are: journey, leisure, solitude, solidarities, and claims. Concepts for Design

Argumentative Diagram: Limitations of Linearity

Proposed Housing + Public Edge of Amenities Master Plan

This is the biggest part of the project consisting of two main components— a campus-like housing facility for women centrally located within the JVPD scheme along with a public edge of amenities for the same. The concept of the journey and walk as mentioned earlier was crucial to women’s discovery of the city. The anecdotes began with hesitance and fear of being in a strange new place, completely independent for the first time. However, the walk to find and pick up groceries transitions into a walk to discover the neighbourhood and slowly the city. Chores and commuting to work or college became excuses for small adventures. Therefore, the concept of the journey and the walk structure the master plan of the scheme. Various leisure-scapes are designed for respite and expression, aspects that are usually forbidden and restricted to the feminine body. These leisure-scapes aid the walk to discover vantage points and find personal spaces in the public.

Proposed Housing + Public Edge of Amenities Section (Through Market and First Cluster)

Humanisation and assertions of identity are addressed through various degrees and tactics of claim in the design of all living and social spaces through the intricacies in the walls and furniture. Degrees of solitude are addressed in the design of the living and sleeping quarters, such as balcony bedrooms designed for rest, dreaming, intimacy, watching the outside. A cycling track runs across the housing scheme, joining the existing gardens and main roads as a means to access a continuous swift movement of the body. These cycling tracks act as activators in the night time making the dark hours accessible to the women living here and the ones visiting. Spaces that address degrees of solidarity become crucial to this site for community building on various scales, especially through the dynamic public edge. The public edge is a re-imagination of the classic grim boundary walls, making it a porous journey of amenities to conduct chores, releasing free time that women do not have access to otherwise. This free time can be used for meandering, play, explorations, rest, or simply procrastinations. It also creates a transactional space that challenges the hard-edged boundary wall of JVPD scheme making it safer by providing more eyes on the street.

Stories Through Sections - Cluster 1 (Market, Cycle Stands, Housing)

2.4 The walk:

Zoom Plan - Cluster 1 (Market, Cycle Stands, Housing)

The first entry to the site adjoins the market structured through transactional walls open for appropriations by independent vendors. Cycle stands are attached here for parking as the site is designed to have cycling tracks that join the gardens on the other side. After entering, the street leads to the ramps that take you to the corridor. These line the internal courtyard or the washrooms with places to sit. The corridor also takes you into a double height volume that is shared space. You climb up through staggered steps to go to your own room upstairs. The sections are narrative stories that give you a tour in a philosophical and phenomenological way.

Stories Through Sections - Cluster 2 (Canteen, Seats, Housing)

Zoom Plan - Cluster 2 (Canteen, Seats, Housing)

The market opens into a roundabout for halting. It continues into a public canteen and day-care. The five housing typologies happen in a 5mx5m grid based on body proportions. None are repeated and change depending on the adjacencies.

Stories Through Sections - Cluster 3 (Daycare, Library, Film room, Housing)

Zoom Plan - Cluster 3 (Daycare, Library, Film room, Housing)

The day-care envelops around the tree and is attached to a library. A projector room serves as a spontaneous screening space for the residents. again.

Stories Through Sections - Cluster 4 (Art walls, Bus Stop, Housing)

Zoom Plan - Cluster 4 (Art walls, Bus Stop, Housing)

The common spaces are all double heighted, with balconies and terraces, while the rooms become more intimate in scale. The scale of the library is intimate, mimicking the act of reading under the shade of a tree. The last part of this journey is a series of movable walls that can be used as a space for art followed by a bus stop.

Left to Right : Claims, Typologies of Housing, Leisurescapes

Left to Right : Zoom Plans - Scales of Solitude and Solidarity (White to Brown), Hideouts on Plinths, Personal Gardens.

2.5 Claims Claims help us assert our personal space and create opportunities for negotiations between roommates. Type 1 of the housing is a work-live one. It faces the river and thus has intricate windows and transparent roofs to allow light into the studio. The other 4 types are purely housing and become bigger and denser, each having different volumes, storages, kitchens, gardens, and views challenging the otherwise mundane JVPD scheme and adding multiple affordances. 2.6 Leisure, Solitude and Solidarity Liesure is addressed through the stepped terraces, balconies, corridors, bridges, ramps, and the public edge. It provides various scales of solidarities. To summarise, there is the scale of self in balconies, bedrooms and spaces that can be appropriated. There is the scale of the commons within the house, the terraces, and community in the corridors. Additionally there are spaces for solitude in the gardens and hideouts on plinths spread across the site. Various scales of solidarities are also formed in the commons and community spaces.

Solidarities in the Hostel Design

External Wall Section through Bedroom + Balcony

Section through Corridor Bridges

External Wall Section through Bedroom + Kitchen

2.7 Details There is a changing pattern of balconies and bedrooms that jut out to cut the volumes of each type shown in the external wall sections. The windows are designed according to the activities and proportions of feminine bodies. They have ventilators for fresh air and a view of the sky, while resting. A large glass window allows clear view for introspection and dreaming while sitting. Lastly the louvers allow privacy and a slated view of the outside while sleeping. On the left (bottom)is the detail of the studio in typology 1, it comprises a polycarbonate roof and windows facing the river to bring in sunlight into the workspaces. On the right is the detail of the ramps that repeat every 20 m that are barrier free. These ramps act as light boxes in the night, their metallic exoskeleton reflecting the lights along the path. Section through Typology 1: Studio

Section through Typical Ramp Block

2.8 Services the masterplan, sees repetition only in terms of its servicing. The large shared washrooms, pump rooms, electrical shafts and drainage system repeat every 20mts. Additionally, all discharged water is cleansed through a system of septic tanks, soak pits and reed beds along with the riparian edge before entering the river.

Existing Site Condition of Site 2: Typical JVPD inter-

3.1 Site and Proposal 2: Cooper Hospital Intersection (Existential Enclosures x Garden for Women and Children) The site shifts to the scale of a neighbourhood. This is a typical intersection in the JVPD scheme. Here the inquiry is about existential enclosures. When feminine bodies move, they do so in confined, controlled, and limited motion irrespective of the vast area available. Hence, on main roads, you can see them meandering away from desolate edges, walking swiftly through this width. To address this, I use the excuse of a women’s garden to play with the idea of these invisible enclosures.

Argumentative Diagram: Feminine and Masculine Comportment

View of Proposal: Garden for Feminine Identities and Children

Elevation 1: Activities for Feminine Bodies

Elevation 2: Furniture / Elements for Feminine Bodies

The footpath is widened to take in grids that enclose various acts that feminine bodies can halt and engage in. The play objects attract children as well. Acts like climbing, siting, sleeping, resting, talking, walking, and swinging etc., make it an

Existing Site Condition of Site 3: Mithibai College Main Road

View of Proposal: Food pick ups (Eyes on the Street) Sectional View through Shops

4.1 Site and Proposal 3: Mithibai Road (Eyes on the Street x Food Stalls and Pick ups) The garden leads up to the main road on the educational campus, where maximum private hostels exist right now. Here I play with the idea of eyes on the street, which is essential for feminine bodies to feel safe in any setting. The food stalls along the colleges ahead successfully do this; however, as you can see the rest of the main road returns to its desolate dark character. I use food stalls as an excuse to play with this condition by adding stores that face both inwards and outwards. The perforated boundary wall gets pushed at an angle to maintain visibility throughout. The columns and beams for all public interventions are articulated to take in the light fixtures.

Argumentative Diagram: Eyes on the

Perspective View

Existing Site Condition of Site 4: Backside of Mithibai - Nehru Nagar Settlements

View of Proposal: Daycare and Meeting Point+LIbrary

5.1 Site and Proposal 4: Nehru Nagar (Daycare x Intersectionality) The next site is close to the railway station. A thin street that opens into a public market on the other side, edged by a drain and a self-built settlement - Nehru nagar. This street is also one that is mostly avoided by women. Here, I play with the idea of intersectionality. As many communities live here, I try to make this street accessible and active through the excuse of a daycare. It opens up possibilities of chance encounters across class and caste intersections, creating new solidarities, and communities of women on a city level. Literally a bridge between the settlement and main road, the daycare is like a reading and rest pavillion, while the bridge is a space to meet, work, and a spill out space for the tight settlement.

Sectional View

Existing Site Condition of Site 4: Vile Parle Station

Existing Site Condition: Intensities of People

6.1 Site and Proposal 5: Vile Parle Station(Pause x Pavillion + Women’s Washroom) Lastly, we reach the railway station. Here, the intensities increase. Women are seen passing swiftly in protected postures to avoid touching anybody, while they stop only for errand based shopping. Here, I play with the idea of a pause, something rare for feminine bodies in such densities. .The excuse to build in this context is a women’s washroom, which can be accessed through an infinite staircase pavilion. This creates various vantage points to pause and watch the city. An intimate waiting and performance courtyard is created between the washroom and the stairs, making it an interesting cultural object. 7.1 Conclusion: For the feminine body, there is no precedent of moving “fully and freely” and to have practices of claim in the city. The idealistic hope of this thesis is to create city spaces where these can become a practice that can be slowly exercised in the city and beyond, aiding the process of home-making.

Argumentative Diagram: Need for

Sectional View: Courtyard + Bridge + Washroom

View of Proposal: Infinite Pause Pavillion and Women’s Washroom

R Ward Watershed Masterplan: Mapping Floods


Of Land or Water? Semester 9 Collaborative Research and Design

3.1 Introduction:

In the face of emerging environmental conditions, the final year design studio at the School of Environment and Architecture (SEA) in Borivali aimed at sensitizing the students towards and developing an understanding of the complexity of climate, terrain and built form. The studio decided to dwell on this phenomenon of flooding in the ‘R ward’ and what should a then resilient urban form emerge out of a city that faces extreme vulnerability owing to tidal action, ground water, flooding and the rising sea levels. The studio debated and discussed the positions architects and planners need to take with regard to making way for this water and idea of reclamation by negotiating some land for water.

The idea of the watershed as a boundary began to surface as against administrative boundaries, and became a lens to start understanding the terrain and the system of flows associated with it.

Parameters for GIS Flood Data Maping

Comics Documenting Ethnographic Data and Flood Stories

3.2. Survey Methodology: The studio brought together components of the landscape and the urban design studio where the students attempted to understand the complexities of terrain and built form in the light of the recent discussions on climate change and rising sea levels to be specific. This came from studying the terrain using Geographic Information System (GIS), simultaneous fieldwork and ethnographic documentation

Map of 1820 This map shows urbanization around the Dahisar River and the early settlements Eksar Dongri and Naitodi sitting on a higher contour and around water bodies. This is surrounded by agricultural land and mudflats, and a large zone of the mangrove cover. Map of 1898 With the advent of the railways in 1864, areas around it were densified. Owing to the Land Acquisition Act of 1894 and the Co-operative Society Act of 1912, this area saw agricultural land being developed. Several co-operative societies were built in this part of the city. The Food Corporation Development was established in 1959. Lokmanya Tilak Road developed during this time, extending development towards the

Map of 1971 The Western Express Highway opened up north-south transit, development intensified in these areas. Borivali National Park was established and its boundaries were expanded. The Land Ceiling Act of 1961 allowed smaller parcels of agricultural land for cluster development. As a result, Yogi Nagar and others were built. The Maharashtra Slum Act was passed in 1971. The Vividh Bharati Radio Broadcaster service was established towards the western marshy zone.

Map of 1990 1970 -World Bank Site and Services projects, the Gorai and Charkop Site and Services schemes were built on the mudflats to the west. The liberalization and privatisation in early 90s and TDR and FSI norms got updated in 1991 -new builder driven development was seen in the suburbs. 2004-link road is built. The vulnerable intertidal zones and marshes essentially allowed for para-legal forms of occupation - Ganpat Patil Nagar.

Map of 2010 The Link Road was sanctioned upto Dahisar propelling northward development. With the Coastal Road Regulation (CRZ) in 1991, the mangrove declared as forest and protected.

3.3 Observations The narratives and observations from the site identified issues of inadequate storm water drainage capacity, swelling of the river in lower contours thus flooding the settlements around, concretization of the rivers, incorrect camber of the roads, new roads built incrementally on top of each other hence housing societies going lower than the road, blocking of the river due to construction debris and garbage etc. 3.4 Stakeholders The larger focus of the studio was also to collect an ethnographic narrative of stakeholder experiences of flooding within the study area. To execute the same intensive site work which collected these independent narratives of the land, development and flooding weaved a mesh of experiences that emerged over time. These experiences later informed the design question that the individual groups started engaging with. The module addressed three larger groups of stakeholders; a) the locals inhabiting the area or individuals and collectives sustaining their livelihood on the study site, b) the elected representatives and c) the administrative wings of the city.

Stakeholder Workshops Summary Posters

3.5 Design The studio then worked out short-term, mid-term and long-term spatial design strategies for built form, open spaces, infrastructure and suggested policy changes that would address the question of a resilient urban form. These strategies focussed on a) Open space systems that could percolate, hold and create a route for the water b)Built form strategies depending on the vulnerability index of the location of living and working spaces. The strategies of densification by rehabilitation and relocation were explored in order to release pockets of low-lying, floodprone, vulnerable parcels of land. c) Infrastructure strategies as a whole to create a network that would allow right of way for water. d) Soft infra ecosystems to operationalize and set out policy frameworks for the new urban form of the city. 3.6 Short Term - 2021 Open Space: Based on intensive indexing of open spaces, various suggestions were given barring infrastructural changes in the surroundings. Infrastructure: The short term infrastructural strategies takes into cognizance that towards 2051 which is the final milestone, a new layer of infrastructural networks need to be laid. Permeability and accessibility become the first goal. Built Space: The interventions and strategies largely looked at an overall zoning and densification of the inhabited built form along the watersheds along with transit camps to accommodate the densified population. 3.7 Mid Term - 2031 Open Space: For the midterm strategy, a rule for recreational grounds along the overall watershed is implemented. Hence specific strategies to provide for these green recreational grounds including details like orientation and connecting them into a larger network was devised. Infrastructure: For this milestones, the overall hierarchy of roads is identified as primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary roads. Simultaneously widening of existing roads is carried out wherever critical and the infrastructure capacity to transport materials, humans and also water is aimed to be improved to its optimal capacity. The mid term proposal also addresses the issues of last mile connectivity. Built Space: This phase deals with the Charkop site and services scheme, which is the most vulnerable area in the overall region. A slum rehabilitation is proposed in safer regions nearby for low and middle income groups.

3.8 Long Term - 2051 Open Space: The overall plan for long term strategy is then zoned in 5 major zones. The high risk zone 0 marks the no build zone, wherein no built structures or inhabitation of any form is allowed. Zone 1 is the zone with a projected high tide line and thus vulnerable in the future to climate change with seasonal zoning of income generating public programs on a temporal scale. And zone two as high risk zone during rainfall, which should consider the drainages at intersection and have built form with restrictions. Zone 3 marks the intermediate zone as a safe zone with limited building restrictions and all drains draining into zone 2. Zone 4 acts as the emergency zone wherein all emergency rehabilitation is provided along with no restrictions on builtform. Infrastructure: The long term strategies for the final milestones continues to expand and develop the mid term strategies. By this time all the new road sections should have been identified and the changes implemented. Along with this a new set of green ways that work as carriers of water along the road are implemented. Built Space: This phase proposes new kinds of resilient built forms for various zones responding to their respective vulnerabilities. A new urban fabric is imagined for 2015 . Incubator and slub rehabilitation typologies for vulnerable settlements is developed in the new proposed safer zones. A high rise dense typology is developed for the safest zones in the area.

Sectional Details of Proposed Wateredges

Sectional Details of Proposed Right of Way of Water Systems

Details of Proposed Right of Way of Water Systems

Proposed Zoning Plan+Section,

Proposed Urban Fabric Year 2051

3.9 Conclusion In addition to the three tier development proposal, the team also proposed a series of soft strategies that work in tandem with all term proposals progressively as frameworks, regulations and government-citizen systems to aid this mega transformation of R-ward. The future prediction map begins to look a lot like the historic maps of the marshes, and it is imminent that the water will try to reclaim from the city in the near future. It is this realisation that prompts our design approach - working through resilience and not resistance. Climate change is an inevitable future, it is important for us to have a paradigm shift in the way we build, occupy and work with the land and water. More than anything, the studio reveals harshly the bare minimum time we have left for action against and for climate change.

Urban Pause: Public Toilet (The Little Big Loo 2020)


Mapping Personas

Competition Entry

View of Proposed Public Toilet from Skywalk

4.1 Site: The site chosen for the proposed intervention is the western side of Borivali Station, Mumbai. Our proposal locates itself on the large open ground, a thick threshold between the platform, main road and markets. We approach the various identities and communities on site through the lens of “Personas�. Personas tell a story of what people would like to do in the city, the psychological impacts they experience when faced with inappropriate facilities whilst maintaining an aura of anonymity (Bichard, Hanson,

Tracing Common Clusters between Personas + Placing Toilet Volumes according to respective gender


Tracing Trajectories of Personas

Design Plan of Proposed Toilet Volumes (Men, Gender Fluid, Women, Accesible)

4.2 Design Concepts:

Secondly, phenomenology, due to the gendered nature of public toilets they became

Through these personas we establish 5 conceptual concerns. Firstly, equity allows us to acknowledge the difference in spatial experience. The design attempts to create an accessible, all genders and differently abled friendly washroom. This results in three volumes- men, women and the gender non-conforming, each equipped with their own specially designed accessible toilet that responds to people with cognitive, visual and physical impairments as well.


hot spots of gender based violence. Additionally, their unkempt and dilapidated nature adds to the experience of “avoidance�. However a large number of people require public washrooms in a city like Mumbai where water supply and indoor toilets are scarcity. Thus the individual, nuanced experiences of each persona is taken into account to create an inviting, efficient and enjoyable space.

Clear Day

Rainy Night

Thirdly, appropriations become key in claiming city spaces. For personas’ that lack

Fourthly, leisure is essential for citizens to enjoy city spaces and transgress within them.

ownerships in the city, these acts allow them to create their own temporary spaces and

Women and gender fluid personas especially require safe spaces to engage with leisure.

assert agency. Hence the architectonics are developed to allow transactional capacities. Lastly, associational memories are how personas remember the city. Through this design we hope to enable that process and create a rich plethora of relationships between the people of Borivali and the public infrastructure.

Sunset Evening

View: Corridor between Accessible Toilet Ramp and Selfie+Play Wall

View: Entrance to Men’s washroom

View: Corridor entrance to Women, Accessible and Gender Fluid Toilets. (Seat, Tents for breastfeeding, outdoor sink, charging Points

View: Roadside Entrance to Men’s washroom

View: Corridor between Gender Fluid and Accessible Toilet (Graffity Wall for Expression, Green wall, Seats)

View: Backside of Men’s Toilet (Transactional Shops and Seats for Rickshaw wallas)

View From Skywalk: Men’s Toilet Entrance


Kochi Muziris Biennial 2016: Students Biennial

5.1 What is a Home?

Studying various neighbourhoods in the Eastern Suburbs (M-Ward) of Mumbai, we posed the ontological question – What is a Home? Studying Bainganwadi located in Shivajinagar, Mumbai – the home is an identical unit appropriated by the residents. The installation was a series of blocks modelled after the masterplan, the game enabled the user to peddle building blocks in a way that made it similar yet unique.

5.2 Heterotopias: Through the lens of heterotopias we studied 10 neighbourhoods in the fort Kochi and Mattencherry area. These were ethnographic studies conducted through on site engagement with the context and people. The data was then recorded in enormous maps and dioramas, on the right is a map of Jew Town that I worked on with a team of 4 more. The essence is captured in hand-drawn techniques over a 2A0+ size.

Map of Jew Town, Kochi, Kerela, India

House for Oppurtunities: Amentities for Play and Conflict


Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh,Semester 7 Design

6.1 Introduction: Tadepalli Municipal Council, which lies sandwiched between the cities of Vijayawada and Amaravati, is witnessing rapid urbanisation during the last decade. As a result, older village settlements are densifying with a new set of migrants who rent houses. The dalit Christian Basti inhabited in Tadepalli presents one example of such change. About 80 percent of the houses here are being extended by a floor in this basti to house lower rungs of state government employees who work in Amaravati. As such, a mixed group of residents is expected to emerge in the basti during the next few decades.

View from internal street, facing New Church on Main Road

View at internal street, between two communities - child playing

Satellite View of Settlement

6.2 Design : In addition, the Christian Basti presents an invisible boundary between the Roman Catholics and the Protestants. This boundary is largely transgressed by children who hang around and play on the street edges and open spaces of the settlement. Given this context of the transformation of the houses and the need for public amenities, my project attempts to address three questions: How can the house form transform to tap into the opportunities presented by the new economic context? How can public amenities be programmed and sensitively inserted into the densifying urban village? How can the architecture of the street edge allow for releasing the tension and disconnection that exists between communities?

Mapping Naratives + Conceptual Ideas

The overall proposal is nestled between the two communities, along empty grounds or plots that are unclaimed or where claim is disputed amongst the two communities. These plots exist along the invisible boundary as depicted in the narrative map. It consists of three parts of multiprograms 1. Marriage Hall + Cinema Hall + Playground + Restaurant + House + Rented House 2. Playground + Animal Shelter + House + Classrooms for Workshops 3. Library + Workspace and Hangouts for Women + Classrooms for Tuitions. The ones on site who were oblivious to the conflicts between the communities separated by caste and religion were the children. Children had a unique ability to mingle since they hadn’t been fully conditioned yet. Hence the design uses the lens of “play” and children to create multiprogram spaces in the hopes that it brings the communities together through their children’s activities of play.

The first intervention is detailed further as a demonstration. The Ground floor houses are planned such that they are able to hold public spaces and amenities, giving the residents an opportunity to economise with the limited space that they have. Folding doors, large steps, shutter windows, circulation patterns are used as tools to create a seamless movement and experience through private, semi-private and public spaces. The Rental houses serve as the most private space in the building. The structure recedes into the steel fenestration to protect from the scorching heat. The fenestration is imagined as a thin layer that lightly floats atop the solid ground floor structure. 2/3rd’s of the houses walls look over the street through bay windows. The entrances however are still public as they can only be accessed through the large seating areas on the main road. The galleries create a buffer to transition from public spaces to the privacy of a home.


h o w r a h r a i l w a y s t a t i o n Park of Conciousness: Joal Koatha Semester 6 Research and Design

7.1 About Kolkata Kolkata, formerly Calcutta, located on the east bank of the River Hooghly, is the capital city of the Indian state of West Bengal. The East Kolkata Wetlands, the undeveloped parts of the city, were declared ‘wetlands of international importance’ under the Ramsar Convention of 1975. Today Kolkata has one of the best waste water treatment cycle in the world. It is one of the few cities whose administration does not have to worry about discarding the waste they produce since they efficiently use it to generate income from it. Kolkata Wetland fisheries have developed around the treatment of city’s waste and discharges treated water into the sea. The wetlands are a mix of complex natural and human-made wetlands lying east of the city of Kolkata and include salt marshes and salt meadows, as well as sewage farms and settling ponds. The wetlands are used to treat Kolkata’s sewage, and the nutrients contained in the waste water sustain fish farms and agriculture. An intensive study of two water systems was conducted by the batch of students Trinathpalli ( a constructed wetland system that cleans the city’s sewage) and Mudialli (a small scale industrial water cleaning system and pisciculture farm). The questions that were used as frameworks for the research were: 1. The Larger System - physicality, geomorphological history, socio-economic timeline, ecological dividents 2.Operation- Water flow, cleansing and pisciculture cycles and systems 3.Produced Architecture - Existing builtform, historical evolution, end conditions 4.Efficiencies

h o o g l y

r i v

M u d i a l l i Satellite View of Kolkata Wetlands

h o w r a h

e d e n

e r

b r i d g e

g a r d e n s

T r i n a t h p a l l i

7.2 About Mudiali: The Mudialli Nature Park run by MFCS (Mudialli Fishermen’s Cooperative Society), has historically been used as a port since the 16th century. Overtime the Calcutta Port Trust has come to own the entire locality’s land. The Nature Park acts as both a water treatment system for its surrounding wastewater coming from industries and local settlements, through its segregated ponds and tanks. It also serves as pisci – culture farm in the same ponds and a public park with recreational spots. Experientially, if one walks on the roads outside, a thick layer of pollution can be felt, seem and smelled. As soon as one enters the Park gates, the change in the air quality is evident. The park acts as a cleansing system for the area. It also becomes a soft public space for the city, tucked away from its congested centre.

Timeline of the Calcutta Port Trust Region - Mudialli Nature Park

7.3 Proposal: The Park is stuck in a legal battle with the Port Trust and has been under the threat of closing down for a few years now. The aim of the design module was to generate city level value for the Park in order to safeguard its rights to the land and its longevity. Viewing the project as a means to increase engagement and consciousness, there were multiple studies conducted to infer what kind and purpose of architecture would catalyse the same. The questions that structured the initial design process: How do people move in natural environments? How much should the architecture intervene with the existing nature systems? How does one replicate the experience of leisure and recreation in a natural environment without damaging it? If humans and nature are one and symbiotic, how does architecture respond to this relationship?

7.4 Studies: Study of Plans: Through a demapping and layering of the site plan, paths of meandering and wandering were traced. This led to finding specific conditions for gathering, privacy and community activities. Additional spaces for the fishermen to appropriate and claim were marked. Study of Trees: Research of the 14 species of trees that existed on site out of the overall 200 + trees was conducted. This led to deep understanding of their life cycles, shade qualities and spatial experience. Study of Topology: Topology is the mutation of form, structure, context and program into interwoven patterns and dynamics. Topological space differs from Cartesian space and imbricates temporal events within form. A topological approach to architecture should not be seen as a form generating tool but an abstract form of thinking to structure sensorial and rational perceptions in a spatial way. Architecture can be topological in its skin, space, form or structure. 7.5 Design: The design thus developed as a response to the above criteria, a crawler through the dense foliage, a ghost like creature that sits almost invisibly within its natural context. The material is the local wood stored within the facility and its permeabilities and programs are a direct response to the shade qualities that lend specific spatialities for myriad activities.

Proposed Master Plan of Design

Design Details

At the Exhibition: Distorted Views through Projection


Feedback Loops: Art History Elective Exhibition

8.1 The Art History elective conducted by Sabih Ahmed gave us an insight into the how the contemporary discourses in art and art history emerged covering the evolution of “archiving” as a practice and an institution. Our conversations over the course of one week led to a daylong exhibition planned and set up within two days exploring feedback loops. Through my project, we took the example of an already distorted image by Sara Cwynar. The intervention here was to take this image and apply a process of viewing it and receiving it through a continuous layer of screens. With every kind of digital device, a different kind of distortion was created. While the subject and the content remains the same, the first image becomes almost untraceable even though it’s present in each version. Original Artwork by Sara Cwynar

At the Exhibition: Distorted Views

Other Exhibits showcasing Feedback Loops

VSSK Interiors: Conceptual views


Latur, Institutional Project (SJK Architects Internship)

9.1 About: Vikas Sakhar Sahakhari Karkhana in Latur, Maharashtra is an administrative facility and research centre. The project aimed at being environmentally sustainable and responding to the hot and arid climate of Latur through various architectural strategies like - courtyards, thick walls and various insulation methods. The interiors sought to use local materials like teak stone yet have a modern and global experience through its finishes and furniture. The project gave me experience with designing interior finishes, furniture design and layouts, along with sourcing and networking with contractors. Developing these views helped me understand how to conceptualise an environment that embodies the larger architectural idea and design concepts.

View of Reception View of Meeting Room

View of Office Spaces


Crafts Centre: Pantry, Washrooms and Hardware Mumbai, Retail and Exhibition (SJK Architects Internship)

10.1 About: Crafts Centre located on Napeansea Road, Mumbai is an open concept retail, cafe and exhibition space for local Crafts. I joined the project team at the beginning of their GFC stage. After orienting myself to the project by working on various design details such as the curved door facades, the washroom design, detailing and other responsibilities, I was given the lead on the pantry design for the employees and occasional public events. The project gave me experience with designing on the most intimate and minute scales of material, finish, hardware, fenestrations and services.


The Twist: High Rise Design

Semester 7 Construction Technology

11.1 Introduction: After an intensive case study of contemporary high rise buildings across the world, we split into teams to design our own high rise buildings with simplistic concepts. The aim was to understand both forces and services in such large scale projects. Our project was modelled after the Turning Torso, however we drastically changed the plan and programme leading to a slightly different structural approach.

View of the Spine

Birds Eye View of the Building

Diagram for Service Systems

Exploded Axonometric for Structural System

Exploded Axonometric for Various Systems

External Wall Section through Receeding Cantilever

11.2 Design: The building was balanced through a spinal exoskeleton that took care of the turning forces along with tying the floor slabs and transferring load vertically to the foundation. The columns followed the twist and were staggered by a constant distance on each floor. Each floor slab turned at 4.5 degrees resulting in an overall 90 degree turn. The beam structure followed the shape of the slabs and were left exposed. Additionally, the space between each turn vertically, was turned into a cantilevered balcony for respite.


Slender House: Bunglow for Parents Personal Project

12.1 Introduction: When the government announced a subsidised rate for the new MIG-HIG scheme in the Saileshshree Vihar area of Bhubaneswar in the 1980’s my father and his siblings bought various plots together in the vicinity. The area since has developed in to a well known residential zone with various amenities coming up every day. The house was only

12.2 Design:

used for rental income and in the recent years with retirement coming close my parents

The task was thus to design a house that accommodated all of my parents aspirations,

asked me to design a home for them in its place. The issue was that all the surrounding

additional rooms for us children and a rental home on the ground floor for security and

plots had built beyond their FSI regulations making it a densely packed area.

economic reasons.

This was to also include two parking spaces along with ensuring good wind circulation and sunlight entry. With no breathing space around the plot, I began the design by placing a small courtyard in the centre and planning the house around it. Entries and circulation was planned in a way that a scale of commons was created on the ground floor but the rest of the volume remained private on account of the theft and robbery that is frequent in such residential areas. Additionally to respond to my mother’s dream of having a garden, I played with two volumes of terraces where they could also host family and friends or simply, have tea in the afternoons.


Long Span Structures: Exhibition Hall Construction Technology

13.1 This module explored long span steel structures and their governing structural priciples. We worked out various systems that could support the span requirements along with aesthetically and functionally working with the programme given. Additionally to aid the design choices we decided certain conceptual ideas that the structure would need to respond to as well such as - daylight flooding into the space, seamless connection to the outside and a monumental entrance that becomes intimate in scale towards the end tail of the hall.

Structural Model made by the Team


Architectural Illustrations: Exploring mediums SJK Architects Internship

14.1 One of the additional tasks I got to explore at my internship was working with various illustration styles. The first image is a watercolor painting of one of their projects for the website. It was developed over many weeks through a combination of views sampling from 3d softwares, color themes and painting styles. We went with this one as it portrays the material and its terracotta shades the best. The second one on the right is a greeting card illustration featuring an apartment complex project based in Chennai. The illustration was to be sent as an annual mailer to the clients. This time the mediums were purely digital with the intention of highlighting the social life that would emerge through the architecture. The illustration was featured in Live Mint’s digital and analogue publications as the cover page.

Watercolor Illustration

Illustration for New Years Greeting Emailer


Repair and Retrofit: Urban Villages Allied Design and Research

15.1 On one hand in Mumbai there are a large number of houses lying vacant because they remain unaffordable to the masses and on the other hand, millions of deprived citizens continue living in inhumane and squalid housing conditions. ‘Housing-for-all’ by 2022 under these circumstances appears to be an elusive manifesto.

15.2 Repair and Retrofit for Architects in the making With regard to Mumbai’s housing stock, small and medium sized repair agencies have sprung up recently to fill in the gap created due to lack of other expertise addressing the issues of repair and refurbishment. The R&R course aims at conditioning and preparing the architect to recognize parameters of the future, engage with emerging questions and mould one’s practice through that. This is a long term research project that has been working on 4 site conditions for over 4 years now. The four contexts are - Coop Societies, Chawls, Urban Villages and Informal Settlements. I took part in the third circuit of research on Urban Villages ie. Eksar village in Borivali, Mumbai. The village is divided in five parts, the two most important landmarks in the village are the Temple of Gaondevi (Taleshwari) and the Temple of Vitthal Rukmani. The village houses more than 500 families. The inhabitants of this village practice farming and they are called Agris, whereas some started fishing later, and are called Koli-Agris.

Plan and identification of the three typologies of structures, with additional ground floor typology which will serve as cluster 2 for the study.

Sections through the settlement.

Many such small houses exist which accomodate 3-6 people in a floor area of 4-6sqmt space.

Some houses lack windows and depend solely on the doors for entry of light. Since the doors are closed to maintain privacy from the alleys they face, the darkness persists in the houses.

The alley width ranges between 0.5-1m which gets reduced when a houses adds a staircase to access the upper floors.

The roofs and the landings of the staircases that become bridges for multiple houses cause more shadow on the streets.

In organic housing blocks like these, the houses in between other houses recieve no light and ventilation. This gives rise to aspirations of having mechanical ventilation through air conditioning systems which require additional space and services. Badly serviced, these lead to more water leakages and dampness on the walls.

15.3 Design Approach: Micro Cluster: Cluster 1 deals with a part of the settlement that has already grown and expanded to first and second floors. This leads to issues that require immediate attentions and solutions. Specific Stresses: 1. Light 2. Ventilation 3. Dampness 4.Drainage

Section BB’ Existing


5. Roofs 6. Unclaimed spaces Conclusion: Upgradation required. We come up with various repair and upgradation strategies for walls, waterproofing, gutters, windows, leaks, shared spaces, roofs and shared spaces. Each has a repair guide and costing attached with options to choose from. Hence every household can customise and plan their repair in the long term based on their needs and affordability. Additionally we proposed a clause regulation strategy for larger clusters for future development.

Window sizes are less than adequete to cover the floor area of the house. Each house has 0-1 window in all rooms combined. This leads to darkness in the house through out the day.s

Window sizes are increased to provide adequete natural light to the house. Brick jali added on top of the facade

Section CC’ Existing

Window sizes are less than adequete to cover the floor area of the house. Each house has 0-1 window in all rooms combined. This leads to darkness in the house through out the day.


Window sizes are increased to provide adequate natural light to the house. Brick jali added on top of the facade Brick jali added on top of the facade for ventilation. throughout the day. for ventilation. throughout the day. Foldable Semicircular Chajja added to protect the window in harsh weather.


Mumbai Metro Student Competition: SEEPZ Station Group Entry


Living with Water: Poiser River Settlements Semester 5 Design

This nullah gives rise to a flood plain that over the years has come to become the home of many low income migrants. Due to its vulnerable character the houses around, flood every year in the monsoon posing an imminent challenge to work with. Through

17.1 Introduction:

intensive geomorphological, socio political, historical and ethnographic studies we were

Mumbai’s river’s and water bodies have changed in their characteristic over a history of

able to locate the most complex and vulnerable site locations. The larger aim of the

anthropocenic changes. Poisar river, once much wider and lively is no longer identifiable

module was to learn from the history of the river and it’s nature and revive it through

as a natural water body but like most of Mumbai’s rivers recognized as a nullah.

an urban riparian edge.

Evolution of the river’s edge

17.2 Proposal: The site I chose was a government school that due to evasive flooding had to be shut down for days at end incurring large losses annually in repair work and cleaning. As the enrolment of students grew in this condition, space was getting tighter. My design proposes a model of extension and resilience for the school, where we say “let the school flood, let us accommodate the river”. In doing so we raise the school building, leaving the ground open for recreation and flooding through the year while the equivalent classroom spaces are moved to the existing roof scape of the surrounding houses. This also strengthen community relations as the school begins to become a part of a larger spatial social fabric, managed and cared for by all.

Diagrams for Design’s Future Expansion


What is a Home? A Kit of Parts

Shivajinagar, M-East Ward, Eastern Suburbs

18.1 Introduction: The “What is a home?� research (pg 56-57) led to a housing project to reconfigure the densely packed unit by unit settlements in Bainganwadi. Studying the experience of home tectonically and through postcard graphics, my proposal was to demonstrate a masterplan that incorporates breathing spaces in a housing settlement that sits next to the largest dumping ground in Asia. Each typology could be appropriated through a DIY kit of parts manual for furniture and elements based on the existing experience on site.

Site Documentation

Archi-techtonic study of a typical street

Postcards for Experiantial Observations on Site

DIY: Kit of Parts Manual


Library as a Monument: Bandra Fort

Working Drawings, Construction Technology

19.1 Introduction: The design exercise that led to the working drawings project intended to recreate the iconic Sea Princess Hotel (defunct now) into a library that seamlessly rises from the sea edge and the fort rocks. The material needed to look moulded and thus reinforced concrete was used. The floorplates kept receding upwards like a mountain, which meant irregular shapes to balance vertically on a common radial column-beam grid. The structural challenges in this project opened up the deep relationship between

Seaside Elevation

engineering and architecture.

FIrst Floor Plan

Long Section

The Tenth Night (Vol 2) Cover


Other Creative Interests: Writing and Art Fiction Novel + Illustration

20.1 Urban Studies studio investigates the contemporary city through various sociological and urban contexts making sense of it through two crime fiction novels. Crime becomes an interesting theme to understand the contemporary city as it pushes all limits of space, morality, identity and urbanity. Vol 1 / Like a Regular Day (Author, Editor): This book was written as an ode to the contemporary city and the new entrepreneurs emerging within it. We are in an age of super specialists and content influencers, the idea of “work” has never been as fluid as it is now. We follow the murder of an event planner in a collaged city that is in hyper-flux. His friend, the Fixer, a man that has a finger in every pie, tries to trace the murderer. Along with him an author weaves through the chapters hinting at the mechanics of the city’s fabric. The title, Like a Regular Day, speaks of the normalcy of life spent in the metropolis but simultaneously questions whether an ordinary day is even possible in a city many see as extraordinary.

Vol 2 / The Tenth Night (Author, Editor, Cover Illustrator): The book focuses on emerging landscapes of work and space in the city through the chase of a kidnapping. Through a complex web of lies, a group of friends demonstrate the networks that make our city in an attempt to find their missing friends over a course of ten nights. The title,​ The Tenth Night, speaks of the spirit of the night in the city that often gets associated with backyards, escapism and, transgressions through degrees of crime.

Like a Regular Day (Vol 1) Cover

Like a Regular Day (Vol 1) Pages 1 of the Chapter I wrote titled “ Kuch Cheezein iss Sheher Mein Kho Jaati Hai (Some things go missing in this city)

20.2 We Never Left: The artist Ramya Pothuri has an interesting history of migration across India and USA. Her first EP deals with the feelings of loss around her childhood home in Saint Louis. We wanted the cover to capture that essence of her memory, which children of migration often carry around in their mind. This was depicted through the classic image of a glass bottle in a vast ocean with an image of her home (and life) carefully stored inside. Her Mumbai migration story also features on pg 12-13 as “The Musician” of my undergrad thesis.

20.3 By the Sea: Commissioned by the same artist, this was a cover for her Single release. The song was about themes of anxiety and finding release through certain spaces. The window that she wrote this song at faces the breathtaking view of Carter Road and the Arabian Sea in Bandra. It’s also the place that brings her peace and escapism which is why it became the central image for the cover illustration. The grey stormy undertones of both the mental state and the quintessential Mumbai sea are also captured in the Japanese Edo like artwork.


processingarch@gmail.com anki.dhal98@gmail.com


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