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sem i na r Seminar 2012

Architecture and Beyond

School Of Planning And Architecture New Delhi

Seminar 2012 Architecture and Beyond

Edited by Aishwarya Bharathkumar Design by Bhavika Aggarwal, Kabilan S. Seminar Coordinators: Prof. Jaya Kumar, Prof. (Dr.) Ranjana Mital Š School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi 2013 Disclaimer The editors are not responsible for any content in the papers. The papers have only been edited and compiled to suit the graphic format of the book. The authors of the papers do not claim any ownership over text that has been referenced or already published elsewhere. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the publisher or author, except in the case of a reviewer, who may quote brief passages embodied in critical articles or in a review. Published in 2013 by Department of Architecture School of Planning and Architecture 6-Block-B, Indraprastha Estate, New Delhi 110002 India Printed in New Delhi

SEMINAR 2012 research and documentation b. arch FIFTH year academic session




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Preface ‘Seminars in Architecture’ happened for the first time in 1996 with Prof. Malay Chatterjee as the coordinator. It was an imaginative response to the requirement of a new syllabus that prescribed seminars in final year as a research paper of a “theoretical nature on any aspect of architecture”. Received very well by students and faculty alike, it soon became an important part of the final year calendar. Seminars have been generally successful largely due to the enthusiasm, capabilities and hard work of the students and their advisors. Initially each series of the seminars comprised presentations with an eclectic collection of topics and titles. For the past few years, however there has been an attempt to work to a theme albeit broad-based. This year the theme, ‘Architecture and Beyond’ was based on the premise that architecture should transcend beyond mere building, and address the challenges of contemporary social and cultural contexts, the explosion of urbanization, and expand the concept of architectural responsibility. The juggernaut of the Seminar Programme begins ponderously with the coordinators coaxing research proposals out of potential advisors both within and outside the faculty. Once all the research proposals are received, they are offered to the students who sign up according to their preferences but not before a ‘Meet-the Advisors’ session when potential advisors talk to the students about their research proposals clarifying or elaborating as required. Choosing a seminar topic with a discreet eye on the author of the research proposal and the other students choosing the topic can be quite a task! However, with a little persuasion, some bartering and much discussion, groups are finally formed amid general relief and happiness all round. At this point, from the coordinators’ perspective the project is on the rails with the onus of organizing meetings, drawing up work schedules and getting started squarely on the student group and their advisor. The proverbial nudge and gentle reminders are nevertheless provided at regular intervals by the coordinators. Research and allied activities rumble along gaining momentum as the first stage submission draws near.

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Form the first submission at the beginning of the semester involving a compilation of all knowledge and information gathered to the formal multimedia presentations in November is a time of much ferment and spurts of activity as the final year students juggle their time between demanding deadlines and valid distractions. Eventually the presentations are converted to seminar papers that are published annually- a record of the students’ commitment and capabilities.

Prof. Jaya Kumar

Prof. Dr. Ranjana Mital


viii Seminar 2012

The Team

Aishwarya Bharatkumar Editor

N. Navaneethakrishnan Sub-editor

Virkein Dhar Sub-editor

Bhavika Aggarwal Art director

Kabilan Sathyamurthy Art director

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Editor’s Note Seminars 2012 has been a tumultuous journey of invaluable experiences. For the first time in our student life, it provided us with a platform to convey our standpoint on an architectural subject; not just to a niche jury with an architectural background but to a general mass of people from different walks of life. The challenge lay in interpreting an abstract, into a well- researched paper and finally initiating an intelligent dialogue with an unforeseen audience. The topics that we had to choose from were interesting and multi-faceted allowing us to move in different directions and define the scope of our research. It is this sense of design inquiry cultivated from student life that will go a long way in assisting us with live projects, proposals and the profession itself tomorrow. The journey for each of us peaked at the end of yet another successful seminar amidst the appreciative comments of the chairperson and the applause of the audience. Our co-ordinators Prof. Ranjana Mital and Prof. Jaya Kumar and the guides for each group were pivotal to our efforts and attitude towards the presentations, papers and this book. Their gentle chiding at first, pointed reminders and finally full- blown motivational speeches ultimately brought out the best in us. In addition to broadening our knowledge, the seminars also helped us to create and maintain an interesting network of resource persons through interviews, site visits and case studies. These people have left an indelible mark on each seminar and brought about a realistic touch to an otherwise academic endeavour. I once read and I quote “Any design needs good communication – whether that’s verbal or written.” and that’s what the seminars are about. Question. Think. Talk. And of course, Read on.

Aishwarya Bharatkumar


question/ think/ talk/

Architecture and Beyond Theme 2012

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new design philosophies

architects’ social responsibility

architecture and other design disciplines sustainable new aesthetics futures architectural interventions in a context

Architecture as compared to other art forms has a much greater responsibility due to the sheer scale, impact and permanence of the buildings. However architecture needs to go far beyond the mere functional and aesthetic aspects in order to be relevant in the present and future contexts. This theme “Architecture and Beyond� is based on the premise that architecture should transcend beyond mere building, and address the challenges of contemporary social and cultural contexts, the explosion of urbanisation, and expand the concept of architectural responsibility. The seminars attempt to initiate a dialogue on ideas that are open to interpretation and which challenge conventional assumptions of thinking.


Seminar 2012 October 29 - November 02 Day 1 Seminar 01 / Cracking Codes Seminar 02 / By the People: Complexity in the Commonplace Day 2 Seminar 03 / Beyond the Built Seminar 04 / Continuity in Indian Architecture Seminar 05 / Time in a Frame Seminar 06 / Low: The New High Day 3 Seminar 07 / The Inevitable Extinction of the Architect Seminar 08 / Architecture Post-Apocalypse Seminar 09 / Practicing Architecture Seminar 10 / Low: Design for a Difference Day 4 Seminar 11 / Context in a Contest Seminar 12 / Architecture of the Unbuilt Seminar 13 / Walls that Talk: PORE-o-city Seminar 14 / Delhi | City of the Expressionless Day 5 Seminar 15 / Digital Foundation Seminar 16 / Veni Vidi Vici Seminar 17 / Adaptive Environments

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Cracking Codes


By the People


Amri Chadha | Akhil Kumar | Rohit Pratik | Virkein Dhar


Ammani Nair | Bhavika Aggarwal | Rohan Patankar | Vani Sood | Varun Bajaj


Beyond the Built


Delhi | City of the Expressionless


Context in a Contest


Walls that Talk


Veni Vedi Vici



Adaptive Environments



Dhruv Gupta | Divya Bansal | Mohd. Rashideen Saifi | Swati Rastogi


Abhimanyu Mittal | Sandeep Ahuja | Saurabh Gupta | Sumati Mattoo


Aishwarya Bharatkumar | Anuj Mittal | Shobitha Jacob | Shruti Jalodia


Priyanshi Shukla | Saudamini Chattopadhyay | Snigdha | V. Ratnakiran

Ankit Sampatram | Kabilan S | Navaneethakrishnan | Nikit Deshlahra

Beeravali Chetan | Bomching Maio | E. Kautilya | Shashank Gautam


Seminar 01 : Cracking Codes


Cracking Codes

Presented on 29th October 2012 presented by Amri Chadha Akhil Kumar Rohit Pratik Virkein Dhar chairperson and advisor Madhav Raman Architect resource persons Jagan Shah Architect



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Seminar 01 : Cracking Codes



re current development codes eroding our cities?

This seminar endeavours to demystify the city’s very opaque development codes and to weigh them for their actual worth in Delhi’s development process. At the same time, the paper also critically analyses these codes for symptoms of failure: cracks, due to which all the vital elements of the process seem to be running around in circles looking for answers. In the process, the intent of this kind of planning also stands to be questioned: Who are the actual beneficiaries of such a kind of planning? Does the entire process need an overhaul? Why are we so resistant to change? This leads to the premise that in the face of rapid urbanisation and inadequate management, the city may well be headed towards a situation of absolute civic chaos.



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Establishing a Crisis


n 2007, three events took place simultaneously:

The McKinsey Global Institute published a report: India’s Urban Awakening, predicting India’s urban transformation by 2030. The same report highlights how India is woefully short of addressing this rapid urbanisation; substantiating this claim with facts and figures pitted against global standards. (McKinsey Global Institute, 2010) The Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM) was launched, which envisaged pushing Rs. 100,000 crores of public funds into 63 large and small Indian cities towards their infrastructure and development. (Kumar, 2006, pp. 10 - 20) The Delhi High Court directed Delhi’s Urban Local Bodies such as the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and other Govt. agencies to resume demolition of unauthorized construction in Delhi in accordance with a 2006 Court Order which declared 80% of Delhi illegally constructed. (Baviskar, 2012, pp. 1-6) In retrospect, not only did these three events establish the crisis that loomed large in the face of rapid urbanisation, but at the same time strayed away from the nature and magnitude of what the city stood to face, if radical and urgent action with regards to city planning and development are not taken. Delhi’s Urban Development Cycle To understand this predicament better, it is imperative to explain the Urban Development Cycle. There are three parts to this cycle; the first being the JnNURM, the second the McKinsey Report, and the third and final part is the document that strategically enables this urban development through planned and phased execution: the Master plan. For the purpose of this seminar, Delhi, soon to be termed as a ‘Megacity’ (McKinsey Global Institute) has been used as a basis for examining the principles and codes that define development. The city of Delhi was chosen due to the researchers’ physical presence in the city and ease of access to information. Hence the scope of this study limits it-

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self to the National Capital Territory. However, the crisis in discussion still reflects the situation in the country at large. The McKinsey Report and JnNURM are both justified in their aims, as one complements the other. In light of this, one needs to examine whether the Master plan lives up to its role as the executing arm of these two. Before this, a brief effort needs to be made towards the understanding of the McKinsey Report and the JnNURM, to understand what is expected of the city’s Master Plan. Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM) Enabled by the 74th Amendment (which redistributed legislative and administrative powers to Urban Local Bodies) to address issues of inadequate infrastructure (74th Amendment Act, 1992), the government in 2007 launched the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, pushing 100,000 crores worth of public funding into 63 large and small Indian cities to facilitate urban growth. (Manohar, 2012, pp. 12-23) The idea is that these cities would compete for this public money on the basis of the strength of their infrastructural strategies, through an elaborate process, thus encouraging a ‘competitive city’ climate. It may be observed, that in some ways, the JnNurm too stands as a question itself. Particularly when it comes to the amount of money at stake, it is slightly disturbing that the citizens of the country are not more directly involved in the process. (Kumar, 2006, pp. 10 - 20) Also, the JnNURM may chart the Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) route to development, which means that a JnNURM project (an initiative of the Centre) could override an existing city planning strategy, in theory. This is in direct conflict with the 74th Amendment where all such decisions lie with Urban Local Bodies, and land, as per the Constitution, belongs to the State. (Kumar, 2006, pp. 10 - 20)



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McKinsey Global Institute report- India’s Urban Awakening According to the projections made in the McKinsey Report, urban population in India, between 1970 and 2010, rose by 230 million and is projected to rise by 250 million from 2010 to 2030. (McKinsey Global Institute, 2010, pp. 12-30) This initial figure itself is indicative of the rapid pace of urbanisation that Indian cities are looking at. To put things in perspective, in terms of infrastructure requirement, this means 700-900 million square meters of commercial and residential space needs to be built, comparative to building a Chicago every year. (McKinsey Global Institute, 2010, pp. 12-30) However, the ground reality is that we are woefully ill-equipped to deal with this rapid urbanisation. As an example, according to the some standard benchmarks of Quality of Life: As far as life expectancy is concerned, the average lifespan of man today is 69.6 yrs, with some countries clocking average lifespans as high as 82.7 years but the Indian average at 65.1 years is far below the world average. The country’s economic well-being is measured by per capita income and where countries like Monaco rank first on a list of 204, India stands at 141. When it comes to job security, 9.8% of our population is unemployed. (McKinsey Global Institute, 2010, pp. 12-30)

Seminar 01 : Cracking Codes

The City Planning Process


hat one needs to question is if this is the only nature of crisis our cities face?

The Master Planning Process It begins with the concept of ownership of natural resources like water, land and air. The government monitors air as a natural resource in terms of its quality and apart from the Airport Authority setting rules for low-fly zones, air is left as is. The Delhi Jal Board owns all the water in the city. This also means that they are responsible for distribution, cleansing, maintaining of aquifers etc. The DDA (Delhi Development Authority) owns 85% of the land in the city, and various Ministries, the Cantonment Board, the Railways etc. own the rest of the 15%. (DDA, 2021) The aim of a Master Plan (DDA, 2021) is to plan the utilization and consumption of these resources, and to power these resources with infrastructure to maximize their urban potential. This is achieved with the help of Urban Local Bodies like the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, New Delhi Municipal Corporation and bodies of execution like the PWD (Public Works Department). The PWD is the engineering arm of the planning process. These entities, along with delegated legislations, the bye -laws as well as the city development plans form the master planning process.



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An Ideal Urban Scenario


ny city can be analysed on the basis of tangible parameters like housing, transport, public health, economy, etc.

Any good city should create tangibles that enable city intangibles like urban order, visual form, dynamism, a sense of belonging etc. These tangible and intangible parameters together define what the authors call ‘the desirables’ which are ideal requirements for the development of a sustainable city. These have been established with the help of references from various sources and understanding of an ideal city scenario in the Indian context. The desirables for such an ideally urbanised city include 1. Vibrancy and multiple sources of income 2. Independent Food Production 3. Competent Management of natural resources of water, land, and air. 4. Easy Access to Medical Care 5. Improved life of future generations 6. Diverse society with social capital 7. Enterprising business opportunities 8. Continuous consumptive growth trend Keeping these goals in mind, the authors have tried to analyse if the city’s development codes are aligned with its urbanisation goals. Although, it is important to note that these development codes need to be questioned for their structure and not their presence.

Fig. 1, Questioning the Development Codes (authors)

The authors put forward a question: is the DDA trying to beat the ticking time bomb of the McKinsey Report, with the JNNURM, on a one legged horse called the Master Plan?

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A Fresh Perspective


t is no secret that on many levels, the city’s planning process fails to deliver. It may merely keep the dam from bursting at the seams, but that’s not the best approach to city management. The root of the ‘problem solving approach’ tactic may lie in the nation’s colonial legacy. The development codes are essentially inherited directly from the Institute of Town Planners’ Handbook, published in 1876. (FAHIM, 2011)The British amended this document eight times before 1947, to keep up with the times and, post-independence, the country has amended it only twice even then marginally so. (Affairs, 2011) And that is not even its biggest issue; the bigger issue is that- the kind of city planning practiced by the British was essentially dictatorial, and fundamentally top-down, in order to keep the resurgent revolutionaries on a tight leash and to keep their practices and lifestyles in check, with little regard for the overall development of the colony. Another fundamental concern with India’s city planning approach is that it envisions to plan for a high-income city, essentially, hyperconsuming cities. (Abhiyaan, 2007, September) The master plan fails to understand that if all cities are hyper- consuming cities, then there is an unlocking of a profit driven market. It seeks one solution, when there can be no ‘One Solution’ given the diverse nature of our city. In pursuit of this one solution, a complex web of opaque policies and laws has been created, that is not easy to adhere to, and reflects a ‘top down’ approach in its effort to rationalize, also possibly creating loopholes and grey areas for exploitation by such ‘profit driven forces’. City Envisions by the JnNURM, McKinsey and Master Plan Upon examination of these three documents, one can comprehend what kind of a city does each envisions for its people. Briefly stated, the JnNURM envisages an economically efficient, equitable and ambitious city that provides for all. The McKinsey Report goes a step further to elaborate upon the desirables of such a hyper consumptive megacity by expounding upon



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living standards. The Master plan envisions the building of a world class city. (DDA, pp. 2-5) Thus underlining that primarily, income defines the nature of a city; wherein you have high income, middle income and low income cities. Our city development plans are trying to build capacity, which is a high income city concept. This leads to their problem-solving approach to city planning, as opposed to a ‘resource management approach’. High income cities are cosmopolitan, whereas middle income cities are inclusive. High income cities are entrepreneurial, whereas middle income cities are contextual. (India Urban Conference, 2011) The Master Plan of Delhi 2021 aspires to build a high income city. When fact remains that traditionally, Indian cities have never been high income cities. It is an unsustainable model of development for Indian cities, where the urban poor often comprise as high as 64% of the population. (Baviskar, 2012, pp. 1-6). Indian cities have always been middle income cities, with only a small percentage of population exhibiting consumptive growth. Then, do high income cities really work for us?

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Network Nodes


o understand the complex web of these development codes in the city, the authors developed 5 clusters of network nodes. These 5 nodes act as intervention points that cover broad aspects of development, and each is exemplified with a network at work in the city. These are: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Shelter Utilities Quality of life Heritage Opportunities

In the process, the authors establish the nature of the crisis that is Fig. 2, Network Nodes (aupredicted and investigate whether the city’s failing codes are a result thors) of plain incompetence or they could be a conspiracy to feed power.



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Each has been analysed on the basis of their on-ground situation, the aspects of these that are far from reality, and the points at which the development codes seem to be cracking- that is they are in conFig. 3, Analysis Lens (authors) flict with each other, self- contradictory or counterproductive.

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Network Node:

Shelter Slums


or the past decade, the city has been facing the crisis of inadequacy of housing. In addition, the schemes and policies developed seem too distant to cater to the real situation on ground. There are 1.62 million dwelling units required to house all residents of the city. Out of these, 560,000 have been successfully built, none for the poor. As a result, 23% of Delhi’s population is living in squatter settlements. The Master Plan refuses to recognise the immense influx of construction labour that live in these settlements and are required to build infrastructure in planned cities. (Dupont, 2008)Thereby, not acknowledging the presence of 23 % of the city’s population.

Under the Slum Relocation Policy of 1990, past encroachments can- Fig. 4, Relocation and Demolinot be removed unless they are relocated. Despite this, in March tion of Slums (authors) 2003, Yamuna Pushta slum was cleared. Only 12% of the 3 Lakh families that lived there were found eligible for relocation, the rest were not even accounted for. (Dupont, 2008)


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The grounds for removal of the slum was said to be river pollution, where in fact, the slum was responsible for only 0.33% of sewage disposal into the river. (Misra, 2012) Where can one identify symptoms of failure? - In a High court order dated 2002/2005. This specifies that it is forbidden to build near the Yamuna’s edge. Contempt of this high court order results in the presence of the secretariat of the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD), Akshardham Temple, Shastri Park Metro Depot, The Commonwealth Games Village- all standing tall in the same place as the Yamuna Pushta Slum. (Abhiyaan, 2007, September) Is it that Delhi’s planning agencies unknowingly build on un-urbanizable land or do they play their power card to distort the law using special purpose vehicles to suit their immediate needs? Regularisation Post establishment of the 74th amendment of the Constitution of India, which decentralised municipal functions to urban local bodies, Gram Panchayats on peripheral areas of Delhi were expected to clear up village land for urbanisation. (Kumar, 2006, pp. 1-11) Numbers say that it takes an average of 10 years for this whole process, from notifying, to vacating, to compensating, to acquiring, to cutting up plots for development and laying down the required municipal services for resale to private entities. During this 10 year process, the land sits vacant. In the process of acquiring land for urbanisation, the land itself does not just sit vacant as may be assumed but is prone to corrupt pradhans and land sharks who sell it off to builders, who in turn complete their construction of illegal colonies in record time. A quarter of Delhi’s population lives in such illegal colonies. (Baviskar, 2012) Over a period of time, these are regularised by the government. And even then, there is preferential treatment. Where squatter settlements are concerned, demolition is the easiest, least argumentsin-court process, but potential high income generating or politically driven areas (like Sainik Farms, farms along MG road) are regularised with small penalties in place.

Seminar 01 : Cracking Codes


Connecting the dots reveals that the process of acquiring land for ur- Fig. 5, Process of Regularisation banisation itself is creating illegal colonies. By the time the process is (authors) completed, and the government realises that an illegal colony stands in place of a vacant piece of land; the planned urban infrastructure development for the same cannot be achieved. Has regularisation become a process that enables bribery, extortion, legalisation penalties and political deal brokering leveraged against municipal services? Or does one consider the possibility of the process being so long that the DDA does not have enough resources or manpower to keep track of what actually happens on the land. And once a colony comes up it is very hard for them to demolish it due to political pressures?


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Network Node:


Water Supply and Sewage Management


o Indian city receives piped water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The 48 km of the Yamuna in Delhi is heavily polluted with domestic waste. The river water upstream of Wazirabad is potable after treatment, but after the confluence of Najafgarh and 18 other major drains, the water quality is heavily degraded and is unfit even for animal consumption and irrigation. (Misra, 2012) In addition, building within 300m of the river’s edge impacts the groundwater recharge potential of the areas around the river (Abhiyaan, 2007, September). Despite this, one sees massive planned development along the river’s edge. At present, Delhi’s sewage treatment capacity is not fully utilised. It stands at approx 344 million gallons per day (mgd) against 470 mgd wastewater that is generated each day in Delhi. This is due to malfunctioning of the trunk sewer system. (Committee, 1912) The master planning exercise does not seem to reflect the urgent need for segregation of sewage disposal lines with storm water collection pipelines. The master plan working with the assumption that the whole city needs to be provided with the same amount of water in every area seems unrealistic. Even with an over-simplified centralised water supply system, which plans to provide an equal amount of water to all parts of the city, there is unequal distribution of water which possibly stems from completely negating population densities in each area. The cracks are revealed with the ineffectiveness of rescue plans such as Yamuna Action Plan and the Bhagidari Scheme due to an innate flaw in the establishment of the planning process itself. Thousands of crores of rupees from the public exchequer have been dumped in Yamuna Action Plan. In a court summon dated 10 October 2012, the Supreme Court asked the Union urban development secretary and chief secretaries of Delhi, Haryana and UP to file personal affidavits detailing the money spent so far in the Yamuna Action Plan

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(YAP), how its unreflective and the river has actually become more Fig. 6, Water Supply and Sewpolluted since the execution of the scheme. (Abhiyaan, 2007, Sep- age Management (authors) tember) Is it simply just ineffective management of the city’s resources? Is it that the planning exercise cannot be carried out to its full potential due to in-adequacy in resources and manpower, or the result of political pressures against radical changes? Or the water shortage is induced by agencies like the Delhi Jal Board and is then required to supply water tankers to meet the demand, ultimately enabling them to generate profit out of selling water at a premium? Parking Regulations Here lie three points of conflict. Firstly, to accommodate the increasing number of private vehicles in the city, starting May 2011, the MCD has made it mandatory for all new developments of residential plots between 100 sq.m and 1000 sq.m to have stilted parking. (DDA, Building Bye Laws, Delhi, 1983) Secondly, the JnNURM envisages 140,000 crores to be invested in mass rapid transit over a period of 7 years. (P.K. Sarkar, pp. 1-11) Lastly, multi-level parking structures are being constructed across the city at an average cost of Rs.100 crore each, of the tax payers money. The MCD’s parking lots and multi-level parking structures have very


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Fig. 7, Parking Regulations (authors)

low parking rates for private cars in comparison to the amount of revenue that has been used for its establishment. Where might these conflicts converge? At a tunnel vision planning approach that lies inconsistent with their own vision. On one hand, the planning process envisions the majority of the city’s population to be using public transport and mass rapid transit systems. On the other hand however, the law encourages rather than deters the use of private vehicles by providing subsidised parking rates. (Multi-level parking at Sarojini Nagar or even free parking, like in Khan Market) Nowhere across the world would a city with a population density equal to Delhi’s encourage the use of private automobiles by subsidising parking across the city. It also completely disallows the possibility of building a single storey house. As a result, plot owners are forced to approach builders to get houses built. This increases the real estate value of the same piece of land which in turn feeds the real estate market, finally befitting the DDA, the majority player in the ownership of land in the city. (DDA, 2021)

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Network Node:

Quality of Life Green Spaces


he Ridge which traditionally has been considered a reserve forest does not find mention as the same in the master plan. Instead it is termed as a ‘green belt’. (DDA, 2021)

A green belt inherently has the ability to accommodate for certain permissible institutional activities that are considered to be low ecological impact on paper. But in reality, institutional areas also require peripheral activities to service them. As a result, surrounding areas tend to develop from institutional to commercial and later into residential zones as well. The planning document does not gauge the adverse impacts of such an institutional area in reality.

Presently in Delhi such a situation has developed, where it has the Fig. 8, Green Lungs of the City airport on one side, a row of malls in Vasant Kunj on the other and a (authors) 2km by 3km Sanjay Van Biodiversity Park in the middle. In reality, a biodiversity park in the middle of an urban area cannot be home to any biodiversity at all.


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This is where the cracks go deep down away from the reality on ground. The declared intent of preserving the city’s natural resources is contradicted, by not acknowledging the single largest natural resource that is the ridge as a protected forest. This extends to a total disconnect of all the proclaimed green lungs of the city, which ultimately have no real unified effect. Is it that the rampant change of land use enables the increase in real estate value of the land which in turn benefits the land owner? Or, do the planning agencies actually not realise the importance of the ridge as a vital part of the city’s natural resources and the adverse effects to be had by its decline or complete absence? Open Public Spaces Historically, the establishment of setbacks was a result of health and sanitation needs in the 1800s for the penetration of light and ventilation into buildings. The same setbacks also left scope for utilities. But hundred years hence, the bye laws stating set-backs for plotted developments are not considered sacrosanct, rather are easily interpreted to suit individual needs. (Committee, 1912) They are compoundable and easily violated by owners and builders who want to use the maximum possible area of the plot for highest returns. In addition, despite the different densities around the city, the law defining set-backs are the same for all residential plots in the city. (DDA, Building Bye Laws, Delhi, 1983) These prove to be a symptom of collapse by consequently creating the concept of boundary walls, which is totally disconnected with the traditional Indian street and bazaar culture or ‘eyes on the street culture’ (Hindu, 2012) The concept of ‘Me, in my castle, on my plot, inside my boundary wall’ is typical of creating an introverted city- a city that is not inclusive as opposed to what is envisaged in the master plan. If you are not a car-owning, land-owning, house-owning person in the city, there is a de-democratisation of public space which is not an Indian kind of urbanism. If a citizen pays road tax to the government,

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he/she must have access to all roads in the city. But, the setting up Fig. 9, Open Public Spaces in of barriers and gated colonies inside the city, have now left very few the City (authors) inclusive public spaces for people from across all economic brackets to be a part of and enjoy their time in the city. Are the planning agencies ignorant about laws enabling illegal construction and the decline of the city’s cultural heritage? Or is there a deliberate creation of exclusive zones in the city, so that one can prime them up financially, and also increase land value of surrounding areas? Wherein, the problems of illegal construction can be solved at a subsidiary level in the form penalties.



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Network Node:

Heritage Urban Villages


typology of land in the master plan is identified as Urban Villages. These are living precincts of historical areas that need as much facility and servicing or preservation as the monument itself. But the master plan labels these areas as ‘urban villages’ and does little else. (DDA, 2021) Urban Villages are largely un-developed or illegally developed areas that are now stagnating in the name of preservation. These are characterised by a mix of different land uses which have undergone significant physical and functional transformations. (Miller, 2001)

Fig. 10, Exclusion of Urban Villages (authors)

The master plan does not recognise and plan for informal cultural activities which were historically an integral part of the village culture, such as ramlila or nukkad nataks in an informal space setting. Instead strives to create what it terms as formal spaces such as community and cultural centres, stadia outside the periphery of these areas. This goes against the very idea of the inclusive Indian cities that our master plan process strives for. (John Pucher, 2004)

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The warning indicators reveal themselves in the attitude of the residents of these villages. People in urban villages don’t feel like they belong to the city, because they are left out of the city planning, and not even given basic services. Thus as a result, the exclusion from the planning process results in the ghettoization of the urban villages within the city. Is this an extension of inefficient planning strategies or is this a conscious decision wherein, urban villages, because of less or no monitoring can accommodate all manners of activity that fly under the radar? In the process, political mileage can also be leveraged against municipal services.



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Network Node:

Opportunity Weekly Markets


his is how the DDA imagines the people in the city shop- There are five levels of commercial centres mentioned in the Master plan, and no provision for street vending and hawkers. (DDA, 2021) These include metropolitan city centre/ central business district; district centre, community centre, local shopping centre and convenience shopping centres. However, the fact is that most of Delhi buys its fruits and vegetables from ‘reris’ or carts that do the rounds in residential colonies.

Fig. 11, The State of Weekly Markets (uthors)

Delhi has a thriving street food culture that doesn’t make its way into the master plan. Commercial activity is imagined as a plotted shop bordered by a strip of road. Informal markets or ‘mandis’ aren’t recognized as drivers of the formal economic sector. There was a weekly market culture that prevailed on the fringes of many residential colonies in the city that have now disappeared. According to our Master plan, the complex of malls in Saket qualifies as a ‘District Center’. Contrary to what was envisaged, this district -level shopping centre caters to about only the economically uplifted

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12% of the city’s population who can enjoy high-end retail. Is it possible that the planning process need a new mall typology to cater to this situation? (DDA, 2021) The Master planning processes focus on a car-centric approach to city-planning. Basically, street-vending is visualized as a threat to motorized vehicle circulation. But nowhere is the car perceived as a threat to pedestrianism or the bazaar experience. This in itself reveals signs of non-inclusive development ignoring the majority of the population. Even though, the planning agencies recognise the constant presence of this informal sector, they still term them as informal and in places illegal. These have either been rationalized, relocated or are paying through their teeth to operate. Is this for the monetary benefits from penalizing the same or have they not been able to come up with an inclusive solution? Special Economic Zones The Govt. of India is planning to privately develop an area equivalent to 50 times the National Capital Territory of Delhi, without much discourse with the public, under the banner of the Special Economic Zones Act, 2005. (Kumar, 2006) The concept comes from Western countries where SEZs were introduced to revive old and decaying areas. In India, the government has handed over huge chunks of land near growing urban areas, agricultural land or high urban value land near airports and seaports to the private sector and has relaxed a number of important development control regulations. (Kumar, 2006) The 18 member Approval Board for SEZs in the country is comprised mostly of bureaucrats from the Centre. Symptomatic cracks in the very establishment of such developments can be viewed in this being in direct violation of the 74th Amendment which decentralized administrative and legislative functions to ULB in states. The Economic Times editorial accused the Government of India of perpetuating a ‘scam’ through its SEZ policy: ‘The present policy of setting up of SEZs of a few hundred acres n existing towns is nothing



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Fig. 12, The SEZ Approach (authors)

less than a real estate scam made doubly juicy with enormous tax arbitrage.’ (The Economic Times, 2006, page 14) Secondly, the minimum size of an SEZ varies from 1000 hectare to 10 hectare. When in reality, space used to develop such areas in states like Himachal; Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir does not allow enough space left to build the vision of exclusive world class infrastructure. Is the planning process highly reflective of a single file approach to one solution rather than a holistic development?

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The Endgame


he DDA’s endgame lies within its own Act, Article 59 of which states the conditions under which the DDA can be dissolved:

“Dissolution of the Authority- Where the Central Government is satisfied that the purposes for which the Authority was established under the Act have substantially been achieved so as to render the continued existence of the Authority in the opinion of the Central Government unnecessary…” (Delhi Development Act, 1957) It explains that the DDA can be dissolved if according to the Central Government, it has fulfilled its purpose of achieving a sustainable model of development to guide the city. But, it is in the vested interests of both the DDA and the Govt to not attain such a sustainable model, which may then jeopardise their power and control. (Authors) From an outside perspective the situation may be viewed as one that expresses itself as plain laziness or incompetence. But an in-depth analysis leads the authors to recognise that this is not corruption, not laziness and not just incompetence, but a bizarre case of policy tweaking, control and an insidious agenda, which reflects in the failure of city planning at many levels that may possibly lead to civic chaos. Individuals that are part of this process at so many different levels are only the second step in this ladder of city development. The first and which may also be the root of chaos is the process itself. What is required is a radical intervention in the planning process that stems not from the need to control but from a desire to design a system of sustainable use. To develop codes those are in sync with the reality of our cities rather than create policies just on paper. The implementation of these is also extremely crucial. To create an approach that enables the successful execution of rules and regulations which supplement a sustainable growth of the city rather than hinder it? The authors leave, not with the intent of plain finger pointing but with an invitation to question, all that the people of the city have assumed as set in stone for a very long time.



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This seminar was the brainchild and the vision of Madhav Raman, without whose guidance it would not have come to be what it has. From intensive brainstorming, to navigating through piles of opaque content, to ideating on graphics, to motivational pep-talks and much needed prodding; Sir was there through it all, and we are indebted. We are grateful to the coordinators, Prof. Dr. Ranjana Mital and Prof. Jaya Kumar for conducting the seminar studios with efficiency and patience, for overlooking our shortcomings and still being encouraging and direction-giving. Also the 5th Year B.Arch class, 2013, for critiquing and giving massively insightful inputs. To Nakul Jain, Guneet Thakral and Arpita Ghatak for their support and valuable input. To all parents for hosting the lot of us and providing us with food and comfort, thank you.

Seminar 01 : Cracking Codes

Works Cited

Abhiyaan, Y. J. (2007, September). Yamuna Flood Plains Under Siege in Delhi. New Delhi. Authors. Baviskar, A. (2012). The Politics of Land and Citizenship. Berkeley::Berkeley Conference 2012: Towards Slum-Free Cities? Committee, D. T. (1912). Town Planning of the New Imperial Capital. New Delhi. Delhi Development Act. (1957). DDA. (1983). Building Bye Laws, Delhi. Delhi: Govt. of India. DDA. (2021). Delhi Masterplan. New Delhi. Hindu, T. (2012, November 3). Making Cities Livable. Retrieved November 3, 2012, from The Hindu: editorial/making-cities-liveable/article4059001.ece India Urban Conference, E. a. (2011). Urban Governance and Citizenship. Janaagraha Applied Research Program (J-ARP). John Pucher, N. K. (2004). Crisis of Public Transport in India: Overwhelming Needs But Limited Resources. Retrieved July 22, 2012, from Journal of Public Transportation: Mobility%208th%20March%202012/crisis%20of%20public%20 transport%20in%20India.pdf Kumar, D. A. (2006). Trends of Planning and Governance in Metropolitan India. New Delhi: Institute of Town Planners India Journal. Manohar, P. (2012, March 17). Is JNNURM about inclusive development. Retrieved May 18, 2012, from The Urban Vision: http://www. McKinsey Global Institute. (2010). India’s Urban Awakening. McKinsey & Company. Miller, D. M. (2001). Vistas and Verdure: Lutyen’s Plan for New Delhi. New Delhi: INTACH Delhi Chapter.



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P.K. Sarkar, S. B. (n.d.). A Critical Appraisal of Traffic and Transportation Sector in Delhi and Possible Solutions. Retrieved July 22, 2012, from for%20Irc%20Journals/A%20Critical%20Appraisal%20of%20Traffic%20and%20Transportation%20Sector%20in%20Delhi%20 and%20Possible%20Solutions.pdf

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(DDA), D. D. (n.d.). Approach Paper for Master Plan of Delhi 2021. Retrieved August 28, 2012, from great/product/1300461240_Approach%20Paper%20for%20Master%20Plan%20for%20Delhi-2021.pdf Delhi Development Act. (1957). (1974, May 1). Delhi Urban Arts Commission Act 1973. Delhi, India: Gazette of India. 74th Amendment Act. (1992). The Constitution of India. 75th Amendment Act. (1993). The Constitution of India. Background Note on Delhi’s Industrial Policy. (2006, September ). Retrieved August 28, 2012, from Planning Department, Government of NCT of Delhi. History- DUAC. (2012). Retrieved May 18, 2012, from DUAC: http:// New Urbanism. (2012, May 30). Retrieved July 22, 2012, from Victoria Transport Policy Institute: Abhiyaan, Y. J. (2007, September). Yamuna Flood Plains Under Siege in Delhi. New Delhi. Affairs, N. I. (2011, November). Urban Inititatives- PEARL Under JnNURM. Retrieved August 28, 2012, from in/files/JNNURM.PDF (n.d.). An Ecological Overview of Delhi. New Delhi: 48`C Public Art Ecology. Authority, T. D. (1962). The Master Plan Delhi. Baviskar, A. (2012). The Politics of Land and Citizenship. Berkeley: Berkeley Conference 2012: Towards Slum-Free Cities? Committee, D. T. (1912). Town Planning of the New Imperial Capital. New Delhi.



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Comprehensive Masterplan Overview. (n.d.). Retrieved July 20th, 2012, from Rockville MD: DDA. (1962). Delhi MasterPlan 1962. Delhi: Government of India. DDA. (1983). Building Bye Laws, Delhi. Delhi: Govt. of India. DDA. (2021). Delhi Masterplan. New Delhi. Dr.Shreekant Gupta, M. S. (Janurary 2007). Foreword- Perspective Plan of Delhi. New Delhi: National Institute of Urban Affairs. DUAC. (2009-10). Annual Report- DUAC. New Delhi: Delhi Urban Arts Commission. Dupont, V. (2008, July 12). Slum Demolition in Delhi Since the 1990s: An Appraisal. Economic and Political Weekly. Editorial, H. (2012, October 24). Mobility for Everyone. Retrieved October 24, 2012, from The Hindu: editorial/mobility-for-everyone/article4026261.ece Fahim, M. (2011). Urban Local Bodies in India still reflect their colonial legacy. The Urban Vision. FAHIM, M. (2011, March 19). Urban Local bodies in India still reflect their colonial legacy. Retrieved May 18, 2012, from The Urban Vision: Hashmi, S. (2011, January 8). New Delhi – A Heritage Zone at 80! Retrieved October 13, 2012, from Kafila: new-delhi-a-heritage-zone-at-80-on-new-delhi-capital-100-years/ Hindu, T. (2012, November 3). Making Cities Livable. Retrieved November 3, 2012, from The Hindu: editorial/making-cities-liveable/article4059001.ece India Urban Conference, E. a. (2011). Urban Governance and Citizenship. Janaagraha Applied Research Program (J-ARP). Joardar, S. D. (2006). DEVELOPMENT MECHANISM IN SPATIAL INTEGRATION OF CITIES. Retrieved August 28, 2012, from 42nd ISoCaRP Congress :

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John Pucher, N. K. (2004). Crisis of Public Transport in India: Overwhelming Needs But Limited Resources. Retrieved July 22, 2012, from Journal of Public Transportation: Mobility%208th%20March%202012/crisis%20of%20public%20 transport%20in%20India.pdf Khosla, R. (2012, October 24). Amenities Matter, Not Size. Retrieved October 25, 2012, from The Hindu: lead/amenities-matter-not-size/article4026233.ece?homepage=true Kumar, D. A. (2006). Trends of Planning and Governance in Metropolitan India. New Delhi: Institute of Town Planners India Journal. M.P.Mathur, D. (n.d.). Impact of the Consitution 74th Amendment Act on the Urban Local Bodies: A Review. Mahadevia, D. (n.d.). Inclusive Mega Cities in Globalising Asia. Retrieved September 19, 2012, from School of Planning, Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology: urban-india/backgrounder/inclusive-mega-cities-in-globalising-asia. html MANOHAR, P. (2011, March 16). Is JNNURM about Inclusive Development. Retrieved May 19, 2012, from The Urban Vision. Manohar, P. (2012, March 17). Is JNNURM about inclusive development. Retrieved May 18, 2012, from The Urban Vision: http://www. Mathur, K. K. (2006, December 29). Mathur Committee Report. New Delhi: Government of India. McKinsey Global Institute. (2010). India’s Urban Awakening. McKinsey & Company. Miller, D. M. (2001). Vistas and Verdure: Lutyen’s Plan for New Delhi. New Delhi: INTACH Delhi Chapter. Ministry of Urban Development, G. o. (2011, April 4-7). Enhanced Quality of Life through Sustained Sanitation. Colombo, Sri Lanka: The 4th South Asia Conference on Sanitation. Misra, M. (2012, January 17). Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan. Retrieved July



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26, 2012, from Mukherji, A. (2012, 04 15). Retrieved from delhi/31345068_1_corporators-bmc-civic-elections P.K. Sarkar, S. B. (n.d.). A Critical Appraisal of Traffic and Transportation Sector in Delhi and Possible Solutions. Retrieved July 22, 2012, from for%20Irc%20Journals/A%20Critical%20Appraisal%20of%20Traffic%20and%20Transportation%20Sector%20in%20Delhi%20 and%20Possible%20Solutions.pdf Pandey, G. (2010, August 20). Delhi street vendors evicted before Commonwealth Games. Retrieved October 14, 2012, from BBC News: PTI. (2012, January 2). Groundwork begins for 1,200-crore industrial park. Retrieved August 28, 2012, from PressTrust of India (PTI): industrial-estates-industrial-areas-industrial-clusters Realty, C. (2009, September 17, 18). Opportunities Under the Delhi Master Plan 2021. Retrieved October 14, 2012, from SlideShare: http:// Rodrigue, D. J.-P. (n.d.). Urban Transport Problems. Retrieved July 22, 2012, from ch6c4en.html Roger Coleman, J. C. (n.d.). Design for Inclusivity- Introduction. Retrieved July 22, 2012, from Settlements, I. I. (2011). Urban India 2011: Evidence. Autumn Worldwide. Shirish Sankhe, I. V. (2012, April). India’s Urban Awakening: Building Inclusive Cities, Sustaining economic growth. McKinsey Global Institute. Srinivasan, S. (n.d.). LAND USE CHANGE AS A TOOL: A FRAMEWORK TO LINK TRANSPORTATION AND. Retrieved October 16, 2012, from

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Harvard University: workshop_papers/Srinivasan.pdf Tackling Urban Transport- Operating Plan for Delhi. (n.d.). Retrieved July 22, 2012, from Delhi Government: TACKLING URBAN TRANSPORT- Operating Plan for Delhi. (n.d.). Retrieved July 22, 2012, from The Delhi State Government: (n.d.). The Delhi Municipal Corporation Act,1957. Delhi. Tiwari, G. (2012). Traffic Flow and Safety: Need for New Models for Heterogeneous Traffic. New Delhi. TNN. (2012, August 30). Govt to unlock value of PSU land, revive sick units. Retrieved October 16, 2012, from Times of India: http:// cms?intenttarget=no Urban Governance in India. (n.d.). Retrieved July 13, 2012, from The Alternate Urban Futures Report: wwfreport/pdfs/Sec6.pdf


Seminar 02 : By the People


By the People

complexity in the commonplace Presented on 29th October 2012 presented by Varun Bajaj Vani Sood Bhavika Aggarwal Ammani Nair Rohan Patankar advisor Dr. Leon Morenas Architect chairperson Ms. Mukta Naik Architect guest of honour Dr. Narayani Gupta Historian and author resource persons Aatam Aggarwal, Naughara Madhu and Subhash Aggarwal, Kucha Lattoo Shah Tejender Singh, Natha Singh Shah, Hitendra Gupta, Kucha Jatmal Mr. Jain, Gali Khazanchi Amir Khan, Mahmood Khan, Masroor Khan, Sharif Manzil Jugal Kishore Neela, Sita Devi, Mr. Makki, Dhobi Katra Amit Sarma, Visiting Faculty, Department of Architecture, SPA Saurabh Jain, INTACH



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Seminar 02 : By the People




he old city of Shahjahanabad has been a mystery to technocrats and bureaucrats alike. All attempts to classify it and “deal” with it have fallen through: whether as a slum (MPD 1965), a special area zone (MPD 2001), or even as a relic of the glorious past. By relegating Shahjahanabad (and similar places, such as squatter settlements and urban villages) as either too simple or too chaotic, we, as designers, have missed (or dismissed) an important facet of seemingly unorganized settlements: their self-organized complexity; the order which arises out of spontaneous, local interactions between components in a system; in this case, the people in a settlement. This seminar attempts to question the current status quo and the designer’s belief in himself/ herself as an objective outsider, even though s/he is unable to view the “context” with a temporal and spatial perspective. By always being ‘outside the system’, the designer limits his/ her understanding of the dynamic, self-organizational and emergent qualities in the living world to being static and simple. Through the study of the mohallas of Shahjahanabad, this seminar aims to explore this ordered complexity in seemingly chaotic contexts and pick out patterns of self- organization. The authors have attempted to relate John Holland’s theories on complexity sciences, Elinor Ostrom’s theories on common property regimes and Anthony Gidden’s structuration theory of sociology to the mohallas of Shahjahanabad. This primary research required them to apply the techniques of immersive learning and participant observation to the mohallas, and eventually analyse their findings using the tool of space syntax, as outlined by Bill Hillier and Julienne Hanson (Hillier, 1999). Having established this intelligence in nature, the seminar raises pertinent questions about the role of the designer in such a reality.How does this knowledge of self- organization, of unconscious and spontaneous non-design, by the people- affect the designer’s response? Can active design make conversation with this self-organization in a way that multiplies its positives and negates its negatives?

Fig. 1, The designer and the crowd (authors) How does the designer relate to the people he/ she designs for?


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Limited Perspective

Us, the Blind Men

Fig. 2, The elephant and the blind men (authors) Are we the blind men of myth? The parable has been used to provide insight into the relativism, opaqueness or inexpressible nature of truth, the behaviour of experts in fields where there is a deficit or inaccessibility of information, and the need for communication and respect for different perspectives.


he city of Shahjahanabad was built in the 17th century by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, and has been continuously resided inside. Surviving waves of disfigurement, rebuilding, abandonment and resettlement, this Old city of Delhi has been a difficult urban situation to deal with. Ever since the Indian independence, planners and governments have attempted to classify and define Shahjahanabad to solve its problems, referring to it as a Slum (The Master Plan of Delhi, 1962), a Special Area Zone (The Master Plan of Delhi, 2001). All this to freeze it in time and preserve it as a relic of the past. Such classifications bring with them prefacing notions that affect the audience’s response, however subtly. For example, the very act of calling Shahjahanabad a slum lends negative notions to the area: a ’slum‘is generally thought to be a settlement with inferior living conditions, implying that the only way forward is perhaps to demolish and redevelop it. Even “special area zone” implies that the area is special, and so not in accordance with convention or some unspecified standard. Furthermore, such categorizations have not helped administrators -or even designers- understand the Walled City any better, or respond to it successfully through their interventions or design solutions. Clearly, we have been unable to understand Shahjahanabad, or other similar settlements, whether historical districts or urban villages or squatter settlements. Generally, we- the design profession- tend to

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relegate such settlements by both dismissing them as simple and ordinary, and so, unworthy of attention, or as chaotic and unorganized, and so, completely hopeless. Just because we are unable to read these settlements immediately does not mean that they are not worth understanding. The fact that these settlements exist and thrive is proof enough that the designer has either missed -or dismissed- something; some critical property of these areas which make them different from more mainstream settlements. His/her conventional way of approaching them and the tools s/he uses to assess them, are also ineffectual, and possibly even detrimental, when it comes to analysing such spontaneously generated contexts. The Objective Outsider

The design process usually starts with a thorough understanding of the existing context the project is situate in. This site analysis should not be limited to just the physical form, but must also necessarily include a reading of the entire living built environment, incorporating the people, their interactions and relationships with each other and the physical form. The designer tends to consider himself/herself as an objective outsider who is able to approach and understand settlements holistically. A complete understanding is, however, impossible to achieve. We rarely have access to a vantage point which gives us both temporal and spatial perspective. The designer’s perception is, then, restricted to merely the physical built, and s/he ends up theorizing about the related social fabric based on limited interactions and personal assumptions. At the same time, even the residents do not have an absolute under-

Fig. 3, Viewing through a lens (authors) We tend to look at our “subjects� as if from the other side of a viewing plane: objective and outside of them.


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standing of their living environments, despite being incomparably more familiar with it. This knowledge is no less, only different from that of the designer. Looking Closely from a Distance We must add to the knowledge afforded to us by our position as relative outsiders by learning from the true insiders of the system. We need to further our understanding -and so our intelligence- by acknowledging the intelligence in nature. Observing and talking to people are vital tools which illuminate information that we, as designer would never have been privy to otherwise. Participant observation refers to a form of sociological research methodology in which the researcher takes on a role in the social situation under observation by immersing him/herself in the social setting under study, getting to know key actors in that. The aim is to experience events in the manner in which the subjects under study also experience these events. Whilst observing and experiencing as a participant, the sociologist must retain a level of objectivity in order to understand, analyse and explain the social world under study. (Macionis & Plummer) Immersive learning and participant observation techniques require the researcher to engage with the living environment, its people and culture, on a very intimate footing, allowing him/ her to become more familiar with social and cultural norms. This, still incomplete, but more rounded understanding may offer the design practice a new perspective towards previously misunderstood and unfamiliar user-generated settlements .

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Learning from the Sciences: Empirical Research and Settlement Study

Self-organizing Settlements and Complexity Sciences


he first clear property of most user-generated and, very often, ambiguous settlements is that they have not been ‘planned’ or ‘organized’ in the conventional sense, with a top-down or superior designer in charge. People tend to come together and generate such communities spontaneously, perhaps as a reaction to the prevailing economic, political or even historical conditions. However, this does not mean that the settlement is necessarily without order. In fact, such living environments actually have a much deeper, ingrained spatial hierarchy and order- it is just one which the casual observer finds difficult to distinguish or understand. Even harder to imagine is the fact that individual people, making independent decisions, can lead to the creation of an ordered environment. There are many examples in the built environment and nature that can help us understand how people (or animals, or cells) can come together and spontaneously generate orderly patterns: the stock market, the flocking of birds, or the functioning of our nerve cells and the immune system. These component elements evolve such relationships sometimes even without knowing about each other. In a school of fish, for instance, each individual fish bases its behaviour on its perception of the position and velocity of its nearest neighbours , rather than knowledge of the global behaviour of the whole school.

This process has been called self-organization, where spontaneous local interactions between characters in a system lead to the creation of global patterns. Each character interacts with many other characters; giving rise to a complex web over time. The many changing inter-relationships result in emergent behaviour , a whole which is more than the sum of its parts.

Fig. 4, The designer in the crowd (authors) The designer can get valuable insight into a context by becoming part of it.



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Fig. 5, A school of fish (authors) Eeach individual fish bases its behaviour on its perception of the position and velocity of its nearest neighbours , rather than knowledge of the global behaviour of the whole school.

This is also the crux of complexity, an emerging comprehensive branch of science which looks for an underlying order in seemingly chaotic circumstances. Thus, recent research into user- generated settlements, such as urban villages, squatter settlements and historical communities, is only part of a much larger in-depth quest to interpret natural and social environments better. Complexity science and its tools are still relatively new, and without this new knowledge the design profession is still at sea when it comes to grappling with complex settlements. We need the right tools to analyse such contexts. We need to equip ourselves with the fresh theories that this science offers- the essence of it, if not the technical particulars or vocabulary. In this respect, the following ideas and theories can help us look at user generated contexts in a new light, putting us in a position to understand them better and so make more informed decisions. Complex Adaptive Systems A system is most commonly defined as a “regularly interacting or interdependent group of items forming a unified whole� (Merriam-Webster English dictionary). Systems change with time and their component parts are variable. Examples are the human body, molecules in a closed box, and even the population of penguins in Antarctica or the spread of a disease through the country (Gleick, 1987). Not all systems behaviour is linear, or of a singular dimension, as we tend to believe. The relationships between the component elements are not always simple and so systems can exhibit nonlinear and dynamic properties. For example, the climate of a place is composed of the temperature, humidity, wind speeds, etc. These components share non- linear relationships with each other and collectively form a complex system. One of the main causes of non- linearity is feedback: a characteristic of systems wherein the output or the result again affects the input. A common example would be the screeching of microphones when

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the audio output from speakers is again fed into the microphone, leading to an amplified output from the speakers. This is positive feedback. Feedback is also observed in economics: a rise in the price of a commodity leads to fall in demand, which in turn leads to a fall in the price. Feedback can thus help regulate or stabilize the market: negative feedback. Feedback and adaptability are important phenomenon which leads to the emergence of self-organization in systems. In brief, the main features of self-organizing systems are: 1. They are complex, that is, their component parts are so numerous that it is very difficult (almost impossible) to establish relationships between all of them in one instant. However, the behaviour of every part affects every other part, leading to a complex network of feedback loops. 2. Such systems are open (that is, they affect and are affected by the “outside” environments), yet they can still maintain structure when the outside environment is unstable or changing dramatically. 3. While these systems are stable, they are not constant. Their component parts are constantly changing and evolving in response to local and global stimuli. The systems maintain (sometimes even adapt) their basic structure, and so are called ’creative’ (Ziauddin Sardar, 1998). Such systems are often referred to as Complex Adaptive Systems, or CAS, as termed by scientists John Holland (1992) and John Miller and Scott Page(2007). In complex adaptive systems, the many possible interactions between component parts allow the system to spontaneously self-organize. These intelligent (but not necessarily brilliant) elements are always adjusting and adapting to their neighbours and community, and so always unconsciously organizing themselves. This is how an individual fish in the school (or a bird in a flock or a trader in an economy) contributes to the overall stability of the system. This process happens automatically without anyone directing or planning it. These agents work in their own interest, with a ‘live and let live’ philosophy, by virtue of which they cooperate (Lansing, 2003).



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The behaviour of individual components (or agents) is guided by their own simple ‘rules’. There can be as many rules as agents in a system, and in a dynamic system old rules are constantly being discarded while new ones are generated. When one zooms out and looks at the larger picture, an aggregate behaviour emerges from these local interactions, but is somewhat disconnected from its origins. This phenomenon is termed as emergence(Miller & Page, 2007). To understand this better, Miller and Page give the example of a beehive. In a simplistic view, it is possible to tell the path of a swarm of bees, but almost impossible to tell the path of an individual bee, within the swarm(Miller & Page, 2007). Similarly, consider an image made up of smaller pixels- the larger image resolves only when we are at a sufficient distance from it, and changing some individual pixels at this scale does not noticeably affect the image. If we assume that each of these pixels is actually an image (with the approximate average colour of the pixel) then we begin to understand the concept of emergence at multiple levels. The actions of and cooperation between characters leads to the emergence of an aggregate behaviour where the rules and the characters co-evolve, leading to the creation of a system which is adaptable and robust in its interaction with external and internal changes or turbulence. Another example to explain the adaptive nature of such systems is the human body’s immune system. It can tackle situations they’ve never faced before, by adapting to each situation specifically, and not through a predefined code or formula. Any attack by an unknown antigen is met with a unique solution by the immune system. It learns from previous attacks and is better prepared the next time around, thus building up the body’s immunity (Holland, 1992). The key to understanding complexity is to recognize that observing a complex adaptive system for a short-term (or on a small scale) may not reveal any patterns. However, they become apparent at a larger scale or upon observation over a longer period of time. To illustrate this, anthropologist Stephen Lansing discusses Émile Durkeim’s study of annual suicide statistics in Paris. While it is almost impossible to predict which particular person will commit suicide at some point and his or her reason for doing so, the number of suicide cases occurring annually was a figure even more stable than the annual

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number of deaths (Lansing, 2003) . It is hard for designers and researchers to appreciate the complexity and robustness of the living environment because they, like all others, are subjective, integral agents who act within the system. We need to achieve both spatial and temporal perspective before we are able to truly appreciate complexity. This concept is readily adapted to settlement study. As Habraken says, “...the living environment can persist only through change and adaptation.” (Habraken, 1998)The built, living environment comprises of not just the physical –buildings, roads, parks, plazas- but also equally the people who occupy and use it. Because people change and adapt, the physical environment that they control also continuously evolves. In fact, the living environment can stay alive and robust only if it organically transforms and changes. User-generated cities continuously evolve with cycles of change between the people and the environment. Common Property Regimes Nobel Laureate Elinor Ostrom’s theory on Common Property Regimes also defines certain characteristics which are common to user-generated settlements. Her work emphasized how humans interact with ecosystems to maintain long-term sustainable resource yields when the resource in question is limited and shared. (Ostrom & Cox, 2010) Common pool resources can include many types;forests, fisheries, oil fields, grazing lands and irrigation systems. Ostrom defines a common pool resource as typically consisting of a core resource (stock variable) and a limited quantity of fringe units (flow variable) which can be harvested or consumed. Such a resource seems to be a public or common one to a member of the community, allowing various social and religious functions to take place with ease, while at the same time is perceived as being private –or out of bounds- for those outside the community (Ostrom, 1990). For example, consider the common well of a mohalla. It is potentially expensive or difficult to construct by an individual but if shared by the community it allows the whole mohalla to become potential beneficiaries. Outsiders are not allowed to use it freely. With careful management, the core resource (ground water) continually regener-



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ates the fringe unit, providing an optimum amount for consumption. Excessive consumption reduces the core resource, in turn decreasing the fringe unit. Common resources can face problems of overuse, congestion, etc. A common property regime (CPR) is a social arrangement regulating the preservation, maintenance and consumption of common pool resources. The regime arises due to a need to maintain the resource system. As an act of self- organization, the regime helps the community to make decisions about the allocation of resources through norms, allowing only a monitored access to the resource. A common property regime is thus formulated when a common pool resource is shared by a group of people within a defined boundary; where collective, consensual decisions are made, and monitors are chosen from within the group to resolve conflicts, without any topdown intervention. It is possible that no one from the group of people ever actually sat down and formally identified these rules. The regime might have evolved over time and some of its principles might be implicit or fundamental to the community. Ostrom has identified eight “design principles� of stable local common pool resource management (Ostrom, Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action, 1990): 1. Clearly defined boundaries (effective exclusion of external unentitled parties); 2. Rules regarding the appropriation and provision of common resources that are adapted to local conditions; 3. Collective-choice arrangements that allow most resource appropriators to participate in the decision-making process; 4. Effective monitoring by monitors who are part of or accountable to the appropriators; 5. A scale of graduated sanctions for resource appropriators who violate community rules; 6. Mechanisms of conflict resolution that are cheap and of easy access; 7. Self-determination of the community recognized by higher-level authorities; 8. In the case of larger common-pool resources, organization in the form of multiple layers of nested enterprises, with small local CPRs at the base level.

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Ostrom has, thus,illustrated that many communities across the world contribute towards the establishment of common property regimes when it comes to the management of common resources.(Ostrom & Cox, 2010) Ostrom is of the opinion that when a resource is not owned (or “public property�), there is no long term interest in sustaining it and acting beneficially towards it. This eventually leads to environmental degradation because of overuse and resource depletion, a tragedy of the commons. In the current world scenario, governments and administrative bodies face many challenges when it comes to the ownership and conservation of limited natural resources. ElinorOstrom believes that it isnecessary to understand the context and the complexity associated with the management of the resource so as to choose the appropriate model of ownership. Ostrom discusses this idea using the example of forest resource management. Conventional methods of forest management have failed because these governance systems are based on broad guidelines which do not take into account the local ecology or the social context and do not adapt to the ever changing socio-ecological system. (Ostrom & Cox, 2010) Local ownership has advantages in gathering and maintaining knowledge, but is ineffective in facing policy changes, economy, etc. Government ownership has advantages in managing large scale natural resources, environmental pollution problems, etc. Clearly, each level of governance is specialized in a certain sphere of control. The best solution towards management lies, in fact, in determining the most optimum configuration amongst these ideals, one which is best suited to the specific problem at hand and which will be accepted and adapted by local users over time. The conventional notion associates poly-centric governance with chaos and a complicated method of management. However, a polycentric system is not a chaotic system, but a complex adaptive system. Polycentric government acknowledges the fact that it is quite impossible for one individual to grasp the complexity of the whole problem. The system is broken down into parts, a governing body at every level with a vested interest to sustain the entire system. This system is more robust against external elements like economy



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and changing policies as the effect of any change will be dispersed among the various levels of governance. Moreover, as a continuously adapting system of policy, it can iron out various problems. Empirical research has proven (as in the example of the Taos Valley aquifers) that polycentric systems work best because they allow users at every level to organize themselves and determine rules to govern social ecological systems. Ostrom proposes the approach of a ‘diagnostic’ system which empirically analyses the problems facing social-ecological systems at multiple levels and scales before formalising theories and adopting solutions and institutions which work specifically towards combating these issues. The approach results in the creation of a comprehensive framework working within which one could address specific issues of common-pool resources and collective self-governance rather than providing simplistic solutions (either overly general or overly specific) or panaceas. To understand the concepts of complex adaptive systems and common property regimes and how they might relate to settlement research, the authors studied anthropologist Stephen Lansing’s work on the historical water management system of Bali. The Water Temples of Bali, a Secondary Case Study The Balinese rice plantations have their origins inas early as the eighth century AD. The water management system plays a fundamental role in its success - water sources are heavily dependent on the monsoon and are often inadequate during the dry months. Bali also has a very rocky and mountainous terrain and so it becomes necessary to draw out the water from rivers, etc. to the fields via a complicated honeycomb of canals and streams, using man-made dams or “weirs.” Water is thus a very important common pool resource for the rice farmers, and effective management of the irrigation system is critical to their livelihood. In the traditional system, the farmers of the fields of one village collectively form a ‘subak’, generally one weir is able to divert water for many subaks. Obviously, the subaks located along weirs more upstream can cut off the water supply to downstream weirs. However, all the many weirs and subaks located on the same canal/ stream

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work together harmoniously, even synchronizing their plantation Fig. 6, The structure of the wacalendars. The system of weirs and subaks is seen across Bali and each ter temples of Bali (authors) system of weirs and subaks collectively form a larger system. This collaboration happens because a synchronized plantation calendar ensures that all fields are fallow concurrently, greatly reducing pests, rodents and rice diseases. Thus, long-term thinking and basic logic and planning result in a very efficient water management system: a common property regime. This CPR fulfils all the design principles as outlined by Ostrom: clearly defined boundaries, coherence between the system and local conditions, agent consensus, monitoring, sanctioning, conflict resolution/ arbitration, minimal top-down organization and subdivision into smaller, nested systems.(Ostrom, 1990) Not surprisingly, the Balinese also organize themselves into social units depending on their water source, with each unit having a dedicated shrine (or a temple at the larger scale) where the members offer their thanks and receive blessings. The structure is described in Fig. 6. The temple at each level controls the water management at that level; rules, planning, calendars, discussions, disputes, etc. are all handled democratically, involving all their representative members and are arbitrated by the main priests. For example, considering the drought months, not all subaks along a canal can plant two cycles of rice. Crop rotation schemes are agreed upon by the Masceti water temples. The water from an upstream source is considered sacred -“Holy Water�- and, as part of a grand annual ritual, the holiest water of the Lake Batuk is distributed along this hierarchical system to each rice paddy, equally. In fact, the rituals are metaphor for various aspects of the system, highlighting how, allegorical to the Holy Water, the life-giving lake


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water flows through streams and canals and weirs to finally reach all individual fields. By making the ritual offerings, accepting the Holy Water, and participating in these rites, each individual or collective group acknowledges their role and responsibility towards maintaining the system. By the late 20th century, however, the rice farmers were struggling with new changes brought due to the Green Revolution and their adverse effects on the traditional, 2000 year old production practices. Anthropologist Stephen J. Lansing recognized the efficiency and optimality of the traditional decentralized synchronized rice irrigation system and was able to convince both the government and the Asian Development Bank to support it. In Priests and Programmers, Lansing discusses how previous scholars had only studied the Balinese irrigation system at the local “subak” level, and so were unable to understand the entire macro-phenomenon. (Lansing, 1991) Some western scholars found it hard to contemplate a meaningful working relationship between: • •

The water temples and associated “religious” socio-cultural rites governing Balinese agriculture and irrigation and, The traditional “secular” production relations between the many people and organizations involved, hierarchically, in the management of said agriculture and irrigation.

However, Lansing introduced the concept of “ritual technology,” where he acknowledged the strong connection between productive religious rituals (the water temples) and agricultural technology, as evidenced by the fact that the social life -and even the calendar- of traditional societies closely follow the agricultural calendar. Agriculture is thus affirmed as a social, collective activity. Habraken (1998) and Eglash(1999) also talk about how societal values and traditions both drive and are driven by the built, living environment. The Balinese system differs from other “pre-modern” societies (such as Hawaii) because here the agricultural rituals are separate from (and indeed transcendental and almost superior to) the rituals of kingship and political power. This is contrary to thewestern definition of pre-modern societies- where there is no distinction between political, religious and economic power. Another reason why western scholars traditionally considered such

Seminar 02 : By the People

societies to be stagnant is that they seemed to have no concept of linear time progression and history. These ‘cold’ societies lived ‘outside of history’ and followed perhaps a ‘biological calendar’ and mythic frames of reference, unlike western ‘hot’ countries which measured their chronological growth along the lines of technology and the successful development of natural resources. Marx and others believed this ‘unchangeable-ness’ to be because of the static nature of agricultural technology and the centralization of power with the state(Lansing, 1991). Again, the Balinese system goes against the grain- Balinese people must have always been aware that the current productivity of their fields is the result of the cumulative effort of many previous generations. They also constantly forged new social relationships in a decentralized management system. Yet, their culture remained “timeless” until colonization. After the Dutch arrived and colonized Bali, their main objective was to maximize their profits, by increasing taxes and attempting to increase the productivity of the rice yield. They also wanted to establish themselves as rightful rulers of the land. They conducted several studies on the traditional irrigation management system, and soon realized that the king played little or no part in its workings. When confronted with the absence of a centralized power hierarchy system, the Dutch invented one for their own convenience. It was inconceivable for them to imagine that such an efficient and large-scale infrastructure project could have been set up without the guidance of a powerful monarch. They believed that the king had simply lost control over the years. With time, this prevarication became established as fact and also led credence to their rule. Though the Dutch were often confronted with evidence which supported the idea of water temples and religious rites having been critical to the system, they were predisposed towards ignoring them. After independence, the Bali government invested heavily in the Green Revolution and encouraged continued cropping of high yielding rice and the widespread use of pesticides and fertilizers. Of course, this led to the collapse of the water temple management system, and soon there were water shortages and pest infestations. The situation provided an incentive for Lansing and his colleague Dr. Kremer to understand better the importance of the water temples with respect to rice produce, and not just the (already understood) aspect of social



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relationships. Their model-a complex adaptive social system- had subaks as adaptive (willing to change their strategy) and social (able to interact with others) agents who had to decide the best strategy towards maximizing rice yield, which were dependent on the following three parameters: • • •

water (the hydrological irrigation system, monsoon, etc.) the rice species and cropping pattern the pest population

They allowed for 7 management scenarios, ranging from 172 independent subaks to all of them adopting the exact same strategy. Their results prove that the water temple system (where there are 14 main control groups) is the most efficient, with maximum yield due to minimum water stress and pests. The model also highlights the fact that water management is more critical for downstream subaks and pest control for upstream subaks. In times of drought the coordination becomes more important because even upstream subaks can fall short of water. The water management system of Bali is, then, a real-world example of CAS. Its dynamics are more accessible and easy to understand as compared to others system of the same nature because of the indepth studies undertaken by Lansing and his team. Each field, each subakworks, essentially, towards maximizing individual productivity, but this has led to the emergence of an entire hydrological management system, controlled at every level by different social groups (like a fractal), and synchronized to within a day. Moreover, the system continues because of the knowledge and beliefs handed down through generations- it is simply a way of life. As such, the water temple system of Bali serves as an important historical precedent to the study of complex systems. By studying it along the lines of CAS, Lansing was able to successfully argue the case for the traditional regime to the Indonesian government and international financial organizations. In the same way, as architects and urban designers, perhaps we also have the ability to add value to the spontaneous social and physical structures of user-generated and self-organizing settlements.

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Primary Case Study:

The Mohallas of Shahjahanabad

Why Shahjahanabad?


he mohallas of Shahjahanabad have been chosen as a prima- Fig. 7 L-R: Sharif Manzil, Kuchary case study in this seminar to help substantiate the authors’ Jatmal, Katra Dhobi (authors, understanding of self- organization with first-hand, participative based on Wilson, 1909) research and empirical data. This helps them derive their own conclusions about how self-organization occurs, and in turn, how and whether one can respond to it as a designer.

Shahjahanabad,built in the 17th century by Shah Jahan, was a walled city, with a planned fort, mosques and market streets; but the mohallas came up in the absence of any central control or active ‘design’. It has endured two major transition periods, the intrusion of the British and the partition, post-Independence. The Old City, almost 400 years old, has continuously evolved to suit the environment around it but remnants of the old social and physical system from Shah Jahan’s reign can still be observed and this makes for an interesting comparison with the ‘newer’ Delhi. At the same time, the large time frame made it easier to pick out patterns. Furthermore, the authors believed that it was important to undertake the study in a place they could frequent, to familiarize themselves with the settlement and cultivate relationships with the residents. Disassembling the Puzzle Shahjahanabad can appear chaotic and baffling to the first-time visitor. The street pattern is not regular and mohallas, galis and kuchas all seem to merge into each other.


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However, there is a very clear spatial hierarchy in Shahjahanabad and this becomes readable after only a little time spent exploring. The City Development Plan (Government of NCT, Delhi, 2006) tells us that Shahjanabad was planned with a threefold hierarchy of streets in which the built environment was predominantly influenced by the spatial distribution of mercantile activity. This pattern has continued, and the city grew inwardly and organically, with the constraints of the city walls and the roads, to what it is today. There are three main bazaar streets: Chandini Chowk, Chawri Bazaar and Faiz Bazaar. Secondary roads (such as Dariba or Ballimaran) connect the main roads to each other. Galis, tertiary lanes, are small passages which lead to the more residential areas of Shahjahanabad. It is important to understand the meanings of different terms used to describe residential neighbourhoods in Shahjahanabad: • • •

A mohalla is a collection of households, with certain consistent characteristics. Many of these mohallas have originated from havelis, katras and kuchas. A haveli typically refers to a private mansion, usually based on the courtyard typology. A katra is an estate which is inhabited by many people from the same occupational background. A kucha is a small gali or lane with houses opening into it, also typically from the same occupational background.

Today, many of these traditional meanings have become diluted and in essence refer to small neighbourhoods, what we are collectively calling mohallas. Self-organization in the mohallas of Shahjahanabad It is interesting to note again that while Shahjahanabad was planned on a city-wide scale, at this micro-scale of galis and mohallas it was allowed to grow spontaneously. What remains difficult to analyse is the geometry of this network of meandering galis and the extent of each mohalla. The larger galis branch off into smaller ones, with many of them ending in cul-desacs. With buildings built so close to each other and the absence of a vista down each gali, it is easy to lose sense of direction.

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However, at the same time it is also clear that similar relationships have emerged between the built and the unbuilt within each mohalla. The following data stems from primary research carried out by the authors in an attempt to pick out similar patterns in the different mohallas of Old Delhi. The authors conducted weekly visits to the mohallas between June-October 2012 and short-listed three. The selection process was guided by some principles: • •

The mohallas had to be sufficiently different from each other in terms of location, resident profile, land-use and morphology so that the field of study was not restricted. In order to exercise the tools of immersive learning and participant observation, the authors had to be able to develop honest and sincere relationships with the residents in the limited timeframe.

Sharif Manzil Sharif Manzil used to be the haveli of the extended Sharif Khani family of royal Hakims. The legendary Unani physician and freedom fighter Hakim Ajmal Khan was a noted resident. The family has lived here for almost 400 years, but Sharif Manzil, the haveli, was built in 1815 as a large compound. With many families moving out after partition and the fragmentation of the original haveli by multiple tenants, Sharif Manzil has shrunk in size, with parts of the original compound becoming separate mohallas. The mohalla has adapted over time, but despite all change, the essence of the mohalla remains intact today. It still has the same entry, a notional boundary, and a common open space. Interactions with Amir and his family, who have been residents of the mohalla for a long time, reveal that even though the closeness between neighbours has reduced and evolved, neighbours have always been there for each other. The implicit feeling of mohalledari is still prominently alive and healthy today. This becomes evident on festive occasions like Independence Day, for instance, when the ‘chatts’ or



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Fig. 8, A schematic section through the courtyard of Kucha Jatmal showing the newly constructed temple (authors)

terraces act as a whole new realm of public space. Visual connection across the chatts enhances interaction, both within and between mohallas, at a scale which is not imaginable on the street. Though the chatts belong to individual families, they are not distinct from each other, making them a common resource for all members of the mohalla. Kucha Jatmal This idea of having a common resource is something that became apparent in Kucha Jatmal, a kucha just off Dariba Kalaan, near Chandni Chowk. The residents and shopkeepers of the kucha contributed to the construction of a new ‘mandir‘ or temple on the side of the central courtyard, reviving an old and derelict temple which stood in the same place. The new temple was funded by the mohallawallas themselves and everyone voluntarily contributed in terms of time, money and effort, as per their capabilities. Mr. Natha owns a jewellery shop across the temple and helped to initiate the process with a few other mohallawallas. The process was loosely managed by the Pracheen Shiv Mandir Committee, the formation of which was also democratic and voluntary. The authors witnessed the journey of the temple from a half-done marble structure in July, to a finished mandir and its moorti sthapna (establishing of the temple idol in the sanctum of the temple) in October. What is remarkable is that the idea, design, management, construction -the entire process- was spontaneous and self-organized. In effect, the temple ‘came up’, without the need for any initiation from outside. Today, the temple is common property for the mohallawallas. It belongs to everyone and to no one at the same time.

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Owing to the single entry and exit point, chance meetings happen Fig. 9, Spatial and volumetric very often, making the mohallawallas familiar with those who visit massing of the Dhobi Katra in the mohalla often. This automatically makes them and concerned Chhatta shahji (authors) shopkeepers wary of strangers. There are always eyes on the street, stemming from selfish concern, but resulting in the emergence of a safe environment. Chhatta Shahji This property of emergence may not always be behavioural; as is obvious in the multi-level streets of 2489, Chhatta Shahji, a Dhobi Katra, near Jama Masjid. With approximately 400 inhabitants, incremental high density development of the mohalla has led to the emergence of multi-level streets and courts. At the same time, this physicality has also shaped the relationships within the mohalla. This makes it amply clear that the social structure affects the spatial structure and is simultaneously moulded by it, i.e. the spatial and the social co-evolve. For instance the access to some second level dwellings in the mohalla was through a house on the first floor level. This forced interaction also changes the social fabric, encouraging more public inter-relationships between the residents. Another aspect is the culture of sharing in the mohalla, especially when it came to the facilities used for washing clothes,etc. For almost all families having dhobis, common water points, drying areas and open space are critical. The act of sharing these spaces and actively co-existing is done keeping in mind that it is a worthwhile ‘investment’ in their long-standing and ultimately rewarding relationship.


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Learning from the Everyday

The Theory of Structuration

Fig. 10, The chicken and the egg (authors)

T 1969).

he spatial order of any city derives from the socio-economic patterns and technological capabilities of the times.(Fonseca,

Which came first?

British sociologist Anthony Giddens acknowledges the importance of human actions in society and argues that structures (or systems) are the medium and outcome of actions. To put it simply, people’s actions affects social structure and the social structure in turn governs people’s behaviour. Critic Kim Dovey related Giddens’ theory of structuration to architecture and concluded that spatial and social fabrics are interdependent and adapt to each other. The very nature of the mohalla is inward looking by virtue of its spatial arrangement. The spatial arrangement (directed by the residents) has been influenced by the social structure of the mohalla (which in itself is very introverted). This co-evolution is something that becomes obvious through spatial syntax analysis, as outlined by Bill Hillier and Julienne Hanson(Hillier, 1999). Spatial syntax is a technique used to map spatial and social relationships in a given building or set of spaces. A syntax diagram of a series of spaces is a simplified representational model of how one space relates to the other. The actual placement or orientation of spaces is not what is important. Here the most basic relationships come out in the diagram, making it possible to compare diagrams across the board and analyse holistically. A point to be noted here is that this technique tends to look only at the physical relationships of spaces; the social aspects and cultural manifestations tend to get missed.

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The Mohallas as diagrams Applying this technique to Kucha Jatmal, Dhobi Katra and Sharif Man- Fig. 11, Space Syntax Diagram zil helped the authors realize what is common between mohallas and for Katra Dhobi (authors) what has remained constant within them over time. The space syntax helped them extract the ‘rules’ that govern self- organization in the mohallas of Shahjahanabad: • • • • •


The mohalla must have a single point of entry The boundary of the mohalla must be defined. The open space on the ground level must provide equal access and must be common. The chatts must be connected to at least one neighbouring house in order to create an interaction plane higher than the ground level. The diagrams also reveal something unusual about ‘private-public transition’. The transition from public to private space must not be linear. The public space must be surrounded by the private, thus changing the nature of the public, along with the power equations within the mohalla. All the central spaces inside the mohalla are public in nature for its residents, despite being seen as private spaces by people outside of the mohalla.


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The Designer’s Dilemma

The Designer in the Non-designed Environment


egular site visits, friendly relationships with the mohallawallas and a sense of familiarity were a consequence of the tools the authors employed for their analysis of Shahjahanabad’s mohallas. Self-organization has both The realization of these relationships and patterns in Shahjahanabad positives and negatives. can completely changes one’s perception of it. The authors can now recognize the mohallas as self-organized, intelligent and sustainable systems. In the same way, applying the tools of immersive learning and participant observation to other user-generated settlements can help designers understand them in a completely different light.

Fig. 12, Ups and downs (authors)

The origins of delegating importance to non- design goes back to the economic theories of “spontaneous order” in the 1940s. In the 70s, leading post-modern architects, including Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown spoke about such emergent non designed urbanism being far more powerful than the cumulative efforts of the design community. Possible Drawbacks While it is remarkable in many ways, the non- designed environment may not always be the most favourable and desirable at all times. Self-initiated construction practices may lead to structural and firesafety issues. Self- organized planning may lead to the overlooking of major urban issues of emergency access, car- parking, incremental growth, etc. An example is the Bhagirath Palace in Shajahanabad itself. A major fire broke out in this multi-storey building, which housed godowns (warehouses) and shops stuffed with highly inflammable electronic

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material, on 14th December, 2012. The fire was extremely difficult to douse as the fire tender and equipment could not fit inside the narrow galis around the building. Traffic congestion also caused road blocks.(Hindu, 2012) One must become aware of both, the positives and the negatives of self- organization for a more balanced understanding. Through time, the self-organizing system oscillates between what is better or worse for itself, learning from its own mistakes, ironing out its own creases, and trying to achieve the optima. The question that arises here is: Could these realizations suddenly place the profession and practice of design in a very unstable position? (Dis)Empowerment of the Design Profession In spite of their good intentions, most attempts of design which are oblivious to the idea of spontaneous order have failed to contribute to the larger narrative of the design profession. One would think that the realization of self-organization would disempower the designer but that is not necessarily true. It has become possible to add genuine value to such settlements, because we now not only appraise the designer, but recognize the intelligence and value of the residents. Many design practices across the country are already engaged in conversation with their contexts such that their ‘active’ design has been imbibed within the ‘non’- design of the community. Perhaps this kind of practice, especially when ‘designing’ for such non-designed settlements, is the way forward. We must work with the system, instead of working around it. Our position, as designers, allows us to recognize the intelligence of the users. People,the true building blocks of such settlements must be truly engaged further in the planning of their own future; as is their right, in fact, according to the 74th Amendment to the Constitution of India.



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The Way Forward The Nagarpalika Act or the 74th amendment of the Constitution of India introduced in 1993 mandates local people’s right to determine their urban future through participation in the planning process, thus apparently, empowering them at the local level to have control over their built environment. This approach encourages representative participation in which power is decentralized rather than being top down. Decentralization also emphasises the need to withdraw from central control and appropriate power locally, creating a system which is more bottom-up. This approach, however, is still incomplete when trying to understand organic systems. Decentralization is the distribution of ‘appointed’ power, quite different from self-organization, which is the natural emergence of a power hierarchy. Unlike the representative nature of the 74th amendment, we as designers need to look at a more involved approach, where the relationship between the design profession and people shifts from being top-down to a collaborative one. Local Area Planning is the firm step in this direction. Much of our living environment is user- generated; non-designed by the people. We, as designers, must recognize this and learn to design, not for the people, but with the people.

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We would like to thank our guide Dr. Leon Morenas, for introducing us to this exciting world of complexity and giving us a little more to think, everytime we thought we were done. Jaya Ma’am and Ranjana Ma’am, Thank you for your constant support and encouragement. And most importantly, we must thank our new friends - Amir for a brilliant and unforgettable Independance Day, Madhu aunty for the yummy chhole chawal, Mr. Masroor Khan, Natha uncle, Neela ji and everyone else, for making us feel so welcome in the old city.



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Works Cited

Fonseca, R. (1969). The Walled City of Old Delhi. Landscape. Gleick, J. (1987). Chaos: Making a New Science. New York: Penguin Group (USA) Inc. Habraken, N. (1998). Structure of the Ordinary: . Cambridge, Massachusetts, London: The MIT Press. Hillier, B. (1999). Space Is the Machine: A Configurational Theory of Architecture. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press. Hindu, T. (2012). Major fire in Bhagirath Palace. The Hindu. Holland, J. H. (1992). Complex Adaptive Systems. The MIT Press, pp. 17-30. John H. Miller, S. E. (2007). Complex Adaptive Systems. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. Lansing, J. S. (1991). Priests and Programmers: Technologies of power in the engineered landscape of Bali. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. Lansing, J. S. (2003, June 4). Complex Adaptive Systems. Annual Review Anthropol, pp. 183-201. Macionis, J. J., & Plummer, K. (n.d.). The Companion Website for Sociology: A Global Introduction, third edition. Retrieved February 07, 2013, from Pearson Education: he_plummer_sociology_3/40/10342/ html Merriam-Webster English dictionary. (n.d.). Retrieved december 11, 2012, from http:// Miller, J. H., & Page, S. E. (2007). Complex Adaptive Systems. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. Ostrom, E. (1990). Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action. Cambridge: Camridge University Press. Ostrom, E., & Cox, M. (2010, October 5). Moving beyond panaceas: a

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multi-tiered diagnostic. Environmental Conservation, 451-463. Wikipedia. (2012). Common-pool resource. Retrieved July 07, 2012, from Wikipedia: Wikipedia. (n.d.). Chaos Theory. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/Chaos_theory Wilson. (1909). The Wilson Survey. Delhi. Ziauddin Sardar, I. A. (1998). Chaos: A graphic guide. London: Icon Books ltd.



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The Master Plan of Delhi. (1962). New Delhi. The Master Plan of Delhi. (2001). New Delhi. Ali, A. (2007). Twilight In Delhi: A Novel. Rupa & Co. Eglash, R. (1999). African Fractals: Modern computing and indigenous design. New Brunswick, New Jersey, London: Rutgers University Press. Fonseca, R. (1969). The Walled City of Old Delhi. Landscape. Gleick, J. (1987). Chaos: Making a New Science. New York: Penguin Group (USA) Inc. Government of NCT, Delhi. (2006). City Development Plan, Delhi. Delhi: Department of Urban Development. Gupta, N. (2002). The Delhi Omnibus. Oxford University Press. Habraken, N. (1998). Structure of the Ordinary: . Cambridge, Massachusetts, London: The MIT Press. Hillier, B. (1999). Space Is the Machine: A Configurational Theory of Architecture. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press. Hindu, T. (2012). Major fire in Bhagirath Palace. The Hindu. Holland, J. H. (1992). Complex Adaptive Systems. The MIT Press, pp. 17-30. Invisible Cities. (n.d.). Jaffrelot, C. (2012, July 14). The Sense Of A Community. Retrieved July 15, 2012, from http://www.outlookindia. com/article.aspx?281642 John H. Miller, S. E. (2007). Complex Adaptive Systems. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. Lansing, J. S. (1991). Priests and Programmers: Technologies of power in the engineered landscape of Bali.Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. Lansing, J. S. (2003, June 4). Complex Adaptive Systems. Annual Re-

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view Anthropol, pp. 183-201. Macionis, J. J., & Plummer, K. (n.d.). The Companion Website for Sociology: A Global Introduction, third edition. Retrieved February 07, 2013, from Pearson Education: he_plummer_sociology_3/40/10342/ html Merriam-Webster English dictionary. (n.d.). Retrieved december 11, 2012, from http:// Miller, J. H., & Page, S. E. (2007). Complex Adaptive Systems. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. Miller, S. (2010). Delhi: Adventures In A Megacity. Penguin. Ostrom, E. (1990). Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action. Cambridge: Camridge University Press. Ostrom, E., & Cox, M. (2010, October 5). Moving beyond panaceas: a multi-tiered diagnostic. Environmental Conservation, 451-463. Peck, L. (2007). Delhi, a thousand years of building. Delhi: The Lotus Collection. Percival Spear, Narayani Gupta, Laura Sykes. (2008). Delhi: Its Monuments and History. Oxford University Press. Singh, K. (1991). Delhi: A Novel. Penguin Books. Wikipedia. (2012). Common-pool resource. Retrieved July 07, 2012, from Wikipedia: Wikipedia. (n.d.). Chaos Theory. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/Chaos_theory Wilson. (1909). The Wilson Survey. Delhi. Ziauddin Sardar, I. A. (1998). Chaos: A graphic guide. London: Icon Books ltd.


Seminar 03 : Beyond the Built


Beyond the Built

Presented on 30th October 2012 presented by Dhruv Gupta Divya Bansal Mohd. Rashideen Saifi Swati Rastogi chairperson and advisor Ms. Aishwarya Tipnis Architect resource persons Mr. Abhimanyu Dalal Visiting Faculty, Department of Urban design, SPA

Mr. Arunava Dasgupta HOD, Department of Urban design, SPA

Mr. Amardeep Labana Architect

Mr. Bhagwati Prasad Sarai, Delhi



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hat defines the image of a city? Who is responsible for creating the image of a city? Is it a professional body of architects and planners or is it a political statement? Or do signages form the most dominant aspect of the notional image of a city?

This paper attempts to explain the idea of the image of a city and deliberates on what entails its creation. The city is a dynamic entity and so is its image. Thus the best way to study its image is by understanding how it has changed and evolved over time. People bring life to a city therefore the seminar also looks into the effect of the changing lifestyle and aspirations of people on the city image. The earliest urban settlements of the world developed in Ancient Egypt (3150 B.C.), Mesopotamia (7500 B.C.) and Indus Valley (2600 B.C.) along the banks of rivers. From those settlements evolved new contemporary cities. Every settlement develops an image of its own through a complex mix of factors- historical, religious, social, cultural, political, economic, climatological and physical. The city is an everchanging physical entity with its structure and the experience it offers constantly transforming.



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Image Of a City


mage is a representation of the external form of a person, a mental representation or the general impression that a person, organization, or product presents to the public (Oxford Dictionaries). In context of a city, image is a set of ideas, feelings, and attitudes that people have in their minds, associated with the complex symbol of a place (Levy & Gardner, 1955, p. 33-39). When people are introduced into a part of space, they transform that space into an image. Whenever a person encounters the word city, glimpses of various elements of a city based mainly on past experiences flash across his mind. These experiences may be primary, or secondary. Just the mere mention of the names of some cities can invoke a train of thought. For example, Paris is symbolized by the Eiffel Tower while Mumbai is often symbolized by the Gateway of India. This remembrance of the city through various elements in a person’s mind is the image of the city. While travelling through a space every sense is in operation, and the image thus formed is a composite of each. For instance, the image of Chandni Chowk is a composite of the Red Fort, Fatehpuri Masjid, street proportions, the noise and activity of the market and the constant movement of the crowd. Some of the basic concepts which play an important role in image formation are discussed below. Perception The interaction between man and his environment happens through perception. To ‘perceive’ - is “the way in which something is regarded, understood, or interpreted” (Oxford Dictionaries). Perception differs from one individual to another. Certain qualities of form make it easier to perceive: • Singularity: The single outstanding feature. • Dominance: Qualities that distinguish part from its surroundings. • Continuity: Physical and virtual continuity of a character, repetition etc. (Lynch, 1992,p.63). Gestalt Principles Gestalt came forth with theories of closure, cognition, continuation, and figure ground to explain perception of city image. (Koffka, 1935

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Collective Memory Each individual creates his own image, however there is often a huge similarity in the way an object is perceived by the people belonging to similar social and cultural setup. It is these group images, exhibiting consensus among significant numbers that forms the collective memory (Schmidt, 2010) This expression is used in works of art such as film making, novels etc. to portray the city in a single scene. The replication of Chinese towns all over the world is an outcome of the collective memory of the people who travel from China to various parts. Imageability and Legibility Imageability, a term coined by Kevin Lynch, is described as the quality of a physical object which gives an observer a strong vivid image. The city of Venice might be an example of such a highly imageable environment. (Lynch, 1992, p. 9) The concept of space legibility refers to the ease with which people understand and recognize the layout of a place and are able to identify with it so that a major part of their perception can be easily recalled. (Lynch, 1992, p. 2-5). In trying to study the urban fabric, Kevin Lynch classifies the content of the city, which can be referred to physical forms, into 5 elements: • Paths: channels for movement. • Nodes: areas that concentrate activity and provide an orientation • Landmarks: reference points along the streets • Edges: linear boundaries • Districts: medium to large sections of the city (Lynch, 1992, p. 4648) Mental Maps They are mental representations of what a city contains and its layout according to the individual. (Halbwachs, 1980, p. 45)

Fig.1, Gestalt Law ( http://yusylvia.wordpress. com/tag/gestalt/)



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Transformation in the Image of a City The experience and collective memory of the city are based on the manner in which the city speaks to its inhabitants. Although its name might remain constant a city’s physical structure constantly evolves. Cultural hybridization, which is primarily attributed to the transnational flow of ideas, information, financial transactions, religious and cultural movements, media images, and people that cut across and penetrate localities “from the outside�, disrupt pre-existing local modes of culture and social organization. (Boyer, 1996,Pg.- 335) 18th Century City 18th century architecture was majorly driven by the social bye-laws and community living, where architectural style was a derivative of the local materials, techniques and climate. People from the community came together in a self-organized setup to create structures, thereby creating a coherent image responding to its surroundings which gave the cities their unique identity and people a sense of belonging. (Boyer, 1996, Pg.-244) The cities were built around a focal point and extended outwards. These focal points were palaces, citadels or religious centers. Cities were majorly planned for pedestrian movement. For instance, the focal monument for the city of Jaisalmer was the Jaisalmer Fort, and the Meenakshi Temple in case of Madurai.

Fig.2, Jailasmer (

Cities also had a unique architectural identity. For instance, Jodhpur residences in blue with baithaks along the streets, sloping slate roofs in Shimla and the courtyard houses with jalis in Jaipur were the architectural elements that made each city distinct from another. All these

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features were a derivative of the local materials and climatological Fig.3,Jodhpur (http:// factors and gave an insight into the social setup of the place. 19th Century City 19th century architecture was influenced by Industrialization which brought about new construction materials, practices of pre-fabrication and introduction of railways. The focus of city growth started to shift from landmarks and monuments to factories and production units.

The city in the early nineteenth century: The concept of society was a new idea in the early nineteenth century, and architectural embellishments were utilized to strengthen the links that gathered people together in collective unity. Architects were called on to adorn the surface of the city with ceremonial structures and promenades with collective facilities and tranquil retreats until the city revealed the mechanism of a well regulated and rationally guided state. (Boyer, 1996, p. 31) Historical monuments and civic spaces were treated as artifacts. They were visualized best if seen as isolated ornaments, jewels of the city to be placed in scenographic arrangements and iconographically composed to civilize and elevate the aesthetic tastes of the aspiring urban elite.

Fig.4,19th Century Production Units (http://geopolicraticus. /tag/industrialization/)


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Above, Fig. 5 & 6

The city in the late nineteenth century: In western cities rapid industrial growth triggered large scale migration which led to extensive unplanned development. A number of industrial towns emerged around the world like Ford City, Johnson City, Burnley, Yorkshire and many more. Advancements in technology also provided the practice of construction of new materials such as steel, cement, iron and glass. Usage of pre-fabricated elements speeded up the construction process. Meanwhile, the steam locomotive was invented and the railways was established. This innovation reduced the travelling time required to commute from one place to another. Material could also be transported from one place to another. Famous examples being Crystal Palace by Joseph Paxton, Eiffel Tower and Statue of Liberty by Gustave Eiffel. 20th Century City The city in the early twentieth century:

Fig. 7, Garden City Concept (www.

Everywhere the architects and city planners cut and recomposed the fabric of the city into a structured and utopian whole; disorder was

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replaced by functional order, diversity by serial repetition and sur- Fig. 7, Garden City Concept prise by uniform expectancy. These cuts and insertions decomposed (www. the city into a random array of homogenous sites, emptied of historic reference and ignorant of building types and city places specific to each location. There was no place for tradition and the grid iron street patterns, elevating glass skyscrapers and modern mobility were celebrated. (Boyer, 1996, p. 40) During this period, the profession of urban design became prominent. It saw great urban designs from the likes of Walter Burley Griffin, Georges Haussmann and Edwin Landseer Lutyens. The new planned cities like Canberra and New Delhi had rigid layouts which gave the viewer a strong vivid image. In fact, the redevelopment of Paris had already been executed by the late 19th century. Town planning and urban design became the guiding forces in the image making of the city. People like Haussmann and Ebenezer Howard introduced new planning principles. The concept of garden cities was to achieve a balance between city and country life. Garden cities were intended to be planned, self-contained communities surrounded by “greenbelts�, containing proportionate areas of residences, industry and agriculture. (Ebenezer Howard, 1965, p. 15) Drastic shift in the modes of travel and transport due to the invention of automobile led to a major shift in urban form. Highrises and suburbs formed important parts of the city with the skyline completely transformed. Paths gained further importance and changed the way people perceived their surroundings, at times, nullifying the importance of the minute detailing in the facades. The world, according to Le Corbusier, had been transformed by the elevated highway which enabled housing to be concentrated in residential towers and nature to touch the base of every building. The traditional street having been killed by the motorway reappeared as an internalized private space. The stately urban square was trans-



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Fig.1, Gestalt Law ( http://yusylvia.wordpress. com/tag/gestalt/)

formed into ramps, stairways, elevators and points of exchange between public and private space. (Boyer, 1996, p. 40) The city in the late twentieth century: By this time, the invisible bands of electronic communication and computer simulated visual environments reduced the cities to some transitory experiences. There was no longer any opposition between the centre of the city and its periphery, no distinction that existed between the built and natural environment that marked the passage. (Boyer, 1996, p. 40) For example, Gurgaon fails to offer a traveler a series of city experiences or framed sites. While moving through Gurgaon the stark difference between the planned development by HUDA and the highrise development by private developers cannot go unnoticed. Development bodies came into existence and proposed development plans to control the rapid expansion of cities. Town planning authorities framed bye laws and development controls to maintain or change the urban fabric of the cities. Bodies like the Delhi Development Authority formulated master plans for planning the future developments in cities. 21st Century City According to Boulding, “The image not only makes the society, society continually remakes the image.� (Boulding, 1961, p. 64) It is the people of a city who interpret its continuous coherent image. City dwellers intervene at places and slowly the original image gets com-

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pletely molded. Human intervention in places supports the planners Fig.10,Example of Image Sellvision, but at times completely disrupts it keeping in mind the chang- ing (http://www.sikhfoundaing lifestyle of the people. But in turn people are influenced by cer- tain factors: Influence of Media and Globalization Collective memory is not only limited to events. In fact, it also gets disseminated through the media and what we choose or don’t choose to watch, read, or listen to. In addition, stories are passed down through our collective memory and changed to match our times. This is especially true of stories in Medieval and Early Modern times when few people could read and write and tales of heroics, romance or trials and tribulations were disseminated orally. (Jonothan, 2010, p. 68) Social networking sites convey images and people’s perception from all over the world with just a click and therefore, secondary perception of places is slowly becoming very dominant. Architectural journals and magazines entice the readers to build in the image of what they see and read in these periodicals. Their concern is limited to the look of their homes and little attention is paid to the resulting city image. Electronic media has changed the relationship of collective memory, history and city spaces. The media has a major role in defining what sells as modern and fashionable. Globalization has brought materials and technology from around the world within the reach of the common man, thereby breaking the limitations of locally available materials for construction. It has also affected the lifestyle of the people and given way to a more global form of architecture. Images are being transported from various cor-


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Fig.11, Ad for Spanish Style Apartments in Gurgaon (

ners of the world and being replicated anywhere and everywhere. Tall steel and glass towers have become a trademark of the business districts in every city, no matter which culture, context or climate they are located in. Image Selling The concept of constructing and ‘selling’ the image of a city or region has become essential in new urban politics and marketing strategies in many post-industrial cities. (Heidenreich,1982, p.2) Image and architecture today are highly governed by the needs and aspirations of the people which are in turn influenced by images from around the world thereby creating contrasting styles like Punjabi Baroque and Bania Gothic (Bhatia, 1994, p. 60-90). These refer to the insensitive copying of decorative elements in the building form to project their affluence and their place in society. For instance, while walking through the streets of Delhi, it was found that almost 2 out of every 5 houses had such influences on it. Image and architecture today are highly governed by the needs and aspirations of the people and market demands. These in turn are influenced by images from around the world as well as from their traditional home towns. For instance the Spanish style villas by Emaar MGF in Gurgaon, Vatika Lifestyle Homes in Gurgaon and many more. This demand is influenced by Singapore Style Condominiums and are examples of creating images that sell. On the other hand examples of re-establishing the traditional settlement style can be seen in the Gujarati settlements in other parts of India and the European ideas of piazzas seen in the building style of

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the builders, Hiranandani in Powai, Mumbai Lack of a coherent architectural image Technology has brought about a change in the people’s lifestyle and in turn has changed the way they look at cities today. Because of which there is a contrast in the architectural styles within a city. Thus, the break in the experience of a person moving through the city is evident, which is essentially a result of the lack of unified architectural image of any modern day city. In case of Chandigarh, the conflicting images of the slums versus hotels and the plotted group housings have sprung up. Important markets like the one in Sector - 17 also add to the creation of the image along with the different types of housing in the government sector in the city centre and private sector on the outskirts. Such discontinuity exists in all Indian cities today. Therefore, one comes across similar images in all the cities. High rise group housings, steel and glass commercial districts and gated colonies have become common elements in every city. Thus, the cities tend to lose their original identity.

Fig.12,Chandigarh (http://



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Fig.13, Metro Station (author)

What makes the modern day city image? Due to the lack of a coherent architectural image in a modern day city, other factors become much more dominant in determining its image, while importance of the built form is lost. To identify these factors, modern day cities were analyzed using the theories and factors that determine image formation of a city. The elements defined by Lynch that form the city image (nodes, paths, edges, landmarks, districts, imagebility, legibility) are now defined not by architectural style but by other factors such as activity, signage and market forces. • Nodes: Major nodes in a city have become transport intersections, be it the metro stations or the big traffic intersections. On a smaller scale nodes are defined by street vendors and shops which become the focus of activity and thus form the most essential part of the collective memory for the people.

Fig.14, GPS (http://technicalhut.blogspot. in)

• Paths: Paths are defined by signboards and hoardings or the series of turns in case of a GPS system. The need to identify with architecture has reduced as landmarks appear as mere dots on GPS.

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• Edges: Edges are defined by the vibrancy of signages and hoardings. In a street, the edges are lined by shops or street side vendors which become places of activity. Thus the edges are defined by signages and activity in a modern day city. For instance, the edge of Pahar Ganj is defined by signboards and advertisements. • Districts: Districts today can be mapped in terms of signage, plans and major activity centers like the local markets, thereby resulting in the complete absence of the architectural image of the buildings. • Landmarks: Monuments providing orientation in the city, no longer holds true. The landmark is no longer the obvious temple down the street. In a pre-modern, pre-automobile urban setting, a prominent monument dominating the scene would have served as a striking agent of memory and thus was responsible for providing a sense of direction and orientation. Landmarks in a metropolis tend to be centers of activity and commerce like Nehru Place Market or the Rajiv Chowk Metro station which everyone who travels through the city identifies with. In old cities, major historical monuments are important as they link the present with the past and help people from around the world identify with that city whereas the landmarks of new cities are defined by activity. • Mental maps: With activities and signages taking over, mental maps for places can be made with a combination of these. During the study, it was identified that Chandni Chowk can be mapped with signages and major activity centres like the local markets, thereby marking an absence of an architectural image for the place. In contrast the same can be easily described with multiple signages and important centres of activities like Mc Donalds, Town Hall, Batra Cinema, Khari Bawli, Kinari Bazaar, Nai Sadak, Paranthe Wali Gali and Meena Bazaar. Likewise the nodes can be defined by street vendors or the local shops which become the focus of activity and thus, form the most essential part of the col-

Fig.15, Ring Road (author) Fig.16, G.I.P. Mall, Noida (author)



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Fig.17, Chandni Chowk Mental Map (Author)

lective memory of the people. As a result of the analysis of various cities, it was observed the current image of the cities filters down to activity, technology and signages taking the centre stage and dominating the architectural identity of the city. • Signage: Non- spatial symbols have been an important point of discussion since Venturi’s study of the commercial vernacular of the Las Vegas strip. Now with a consumerist culture, the city talks to its people more directly with charged neon images. Styles and signs make connections among many elements, far apart and seen fast. So we rely on signs to guide us in vast spaces seen at high speeds. Thus, it is the ‘semiotics’ that gives us our sense of place today. Symbol dominates space. If you take the signs away, there is no place.” Space may not be a universal text, but it is a territory of rich individual interpretations to different people. (Venturi, 1977, p. 13) Commercial establishments are certain to have signage to promote their trade. In commercial streets, large parts of a building’s facade may be composed of signage. They shadow the visual character of the building façade in certain cases. A person is overwhelmed by the composition of loud colors and dominant images in such a display. (Mehrotra, 1998, Pg.- 26) For example, the market street of Paharganj is dominated by the hoardings, sign boards and advertisements on the facades of the buildings.

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• Activity: Human activity forms the image of certain places and Fig.18, Paharganj (dinodia. overpowers its architectural image. The intricate network of com) streets serves as the main public space. The incident or feature that provides anchor might vary from a tea stall in Nehru Place to a cafÊ on the promenade in Paris. Places like tea-stalls and panshops are major junctions of interactions and exchange of ideas for the local inhabitants. Local bazaars act as important landmarks too. For instance, a local Sunday Bazaar is easily recognizable on Sundays, whereas the same place appears vacant and random on the other days. They generate social cohesion by creating a more intimate scale of spaces and affording more contact points. The greater density of people on the streets in residential localities in Pahar Ganj indicates that they are comfortable with the street as an extension of their homes, being able to interact with ease and frequency on the streets, thereby bringing in a sense of community. Le Corbusier propagated the idea that the building must be distanced from the street to provide maximum light and ventilation. This kind of arrangement does not allow ample urban activities and connections between the inside and outside of the house, apart from circulation to take place on the streets. These two different approaches show how a street experience is defined by its activity. • Technology : GPS, internet accessibility, second hand perception, availability of materials from around the world allow the people to perceive a space through images, maps and descriptions. The modern GPS system defines all the major landmarks as mere dots and a journey is perceived as a series of turns and dots which does not allow a person to perceive his/her surroundings efficiently. Thus, a major part of the built form is left unnoticed and



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Fig.19, Paharganj (author)

Fig.20, Chandigarh turned Lahore (

the mental map of such a journey lacks the depiction of places through built form. For example, Google maps depict a city as mere maps which form a major part of a person’s perception of a place. The visitor’s directories available online and in journals define the image of a place through somebody else’s perception and the dominant second-hand perception forms the image of a city even before a person experiences the place. Thus technology plays a very dominant role in the changing image of a city.

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Chandigarh A news article in the The Times of India, published on 2nd March, 2012 reported: “Chandigarh turned into Lahore on Wednesday evening for shooting of the movie, Zero Dark Thirty. The Sector 15 market became Androon Lahore complete with signboards in Urdu hanging over the shop and fruit sellers bargaining with burqa-clad ladies and men in skull caps.� If signage and staged activities can turn Le Corbusier’s modern-day planned city of Chandigarh into Lahore, how relevant is the architectural language in image making of a city today ? Delhi When presented with modified images of Chandni Chowk made by replacing the architectural form and keeping the signages and activity intact, most people would identify it as Chandni Chowk irrespective of the buildings being changed in the background. Therefore underlining the importance of activity and signage in the image of a contemporary city.

Fig.21, Chandni Chowk (Author)



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Image of a City


he city is a physical entity with its structure and the experience it provides constantly undergoing change. Does a city need to have an architectural identity of its own achieved by strict architectural controls and bye laws? Is architecture the sole determinant in molding the city image or are there other elements at play? Is it the activity and the life people lead in the city that gives a city its identity? Or do signages form the most dominant aspect of the notional image of a city? The research attempted to answer these questions. Through an analysis of current city-images the following may be established. The city image has undergone transformation over a period of time and the dominance of human interventions in the 21st century have led to a lack of coherent images of Indian cities, thereby making them lose their unique architectural identity. Thus, other factors like activity, signage and technology have become dominant in creating a mental image of a city for any individual. Understanding of such elements and their inclusion by urban planners in the planning stages can help create a sustainable model for the development of Indian cities.

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Questions raised during the seminar •

Are cities losing their identity in the 21st century?

Yes, the cities in the 21st century have lost their unique architectural identity due to the dominance of the universal style of architecture. All the cities and experience through them can be highly generalized. Indian cities have a unique architectural identity which needs to be preserved while incorporating new layers of development. For instance, the winning entry for the development of a bus terminal in Jaipur incorporated all the modern services, and at the same time, the building facade was developed in harmony with the city’s image using the same stone to prevent people from feeling alienated. •

Are you saying that we should not learn from the western ideas of city planning?

No, the western ideas of city development have been successful in the past and we need to learn from their positives, but as mentioned, Indian cities have a unique identity due to the social setup and therefore, the western principles should not be pasted on the development plans of Indian cities, at the same time, learning from them and preparing a suitable development plan for Indian cities by understanding the context that they sit in. •

How can we enhance the planning of cities through this study?

It is essential to identify the factors that have become dominant in the mental image of a city for the people, like signages, activity and technology and incorporate them during the planning stage, rather than leaving it open for these factors to develop later. For instance, it should be realized that banners and posters are an inseparable part of a market setup and therefore, proper spaces should be left for them.



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We would like to express our gratitude to our faculty guide and chairperson, Ar. Aishwarya Tipnis for her guidance and vision throughout the course of study and seminar coordinators, Prof. Jaya kumar and Dr. Ranjana Mittal for their persistence that helped us in formalizing our thoughts. The interactions with eminent experts in various fields enriched and oriented the research study: Mr. Abhimanyu Dalal, Mr. Arunava Dasgupta, Mr. Amardeep Labana, Mr. Bhagwati Prasad and Sarai. We are grateful for their valuable time and opinions that helped formulate this seminar.

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Works Cited

Boyer, M. C. (1996). City of Collective Memory. MIT Press. Boulding, K. E. (1961). The Image: Knowledge in Life and Society. University of Michigan Press. Halbwachs, M. (1980). The Collective Memory. New York: Harper Colophon Books. Heidenreich, L. (1982). Collective Memory, Identity and Place Making In Reunified Berlin. Howard, E. (1965). Garden Cities of Tomorrow. MIT Press Koffka, K. (1935). Principles of Gestalt Psychology. London. Lynch, K., T. B. (1995). City Sense and City Design. Ney York: MIT Press. LeGates, R. T. (2000). The City Reader. London and New York: Routledge. Gardner, B. B. and Levy, S. J. (1955). The Product and the Brand, Harvard Business Review, March-April, pp. 33-39 Lynch, K. (1992). Image of a City. New York: MIT Press. Park, R. E. (1967). The City. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Prak, N. L. (1977). The Visual Perception of the Built Environment. Netherlands: Delft University Press. Rossi, A. (1984). The Architecture of the City. Massachusetts: Oppositions Book, The MIT Press. Venturi, R. (1977). Learning from Las Vegas. Yadav, C. S. (1987). Perceptual and Cognitive Image of the City (PUG12). Concept Publishing Co. Gupta, S. (2003). Change and the Contemporary City; Unpublished Dissertation, New Delhi: School of Planning and Architecture. Mehrotra, R. (1998). Streets we live in; Unpublished Dissertation, New Delhi: School of Planning and Architecture.



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Roy, S. (2000). Street Scapes : Urban Perception; Unpublished Dissertation, New Delhi: School of Planning and Architecture. Schmidt, C. M. (2010). Invisible Cities: Representing Social Networks in an Urban Context. Parsons Journal for Information Mapping , 1-6. Singhal, S. (2010). Effect of building facades on the character of urban streets; Unpublished Dissertation, New Delhi: School of Planning and Architecture. Complexities in the contemporary city (2002), Seminar, New Delhi: School of Planning and Architecture. Urbanism: Memories And New Initiatives (2005), Seminar, New Delhi: School of Planning and Architecture. Indian cities... The public realm (2006), Seminar, New Delhi: School of Planning and Architecture. Lahiri, N. (2011, March 04). DELHI’S CAPITAL CENTURY (1911-2011). Retrieved June 2011, from Journal of Applied Social Psychology. (2012, January 11). Retrieved October 3, 2012, from Shaw, D. (2000). Pattern Language for Community Self-made. Retrieved june 2011, from Mishra, A. (2012, February 13). Mayawati’s Legacy in stone: Symbolism that does not wash. Retrieved July 21, 2012, from Firstpost.Politics: Jonothan. (2010). Collective Memory Theory: An Introduction. Retrieved August 29, 2012, from http://jonathant. CRZ altered, Mumbai set for sea change. (2011, January 8). Retrieved November 12, 2012, from www.articles.timesofindia.indiatimes. com:

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bai/28352572_1_slum-projects-extra-fsi-dilapidated-cessed Banks, D. (2011, May 13). The (Digital) Image of the City. Retrieved November 1, 2012, from Anklesaria, S. (2001, August 22). Chandigarh: Vision and Reality. Retrieved July 2011, from http:// The Image of the City. (2011, February 2). Retrieved July 26, 2012, from http://urbanwaterfront.blogspot. in/2011/02/image-of-city.html 19th Century Architecture. (n.d.). Retrieved September 25, 2012, from html/19c.html Oxford Dictionaries. (n.d.). Retrieved August 19, 2012, from Oxford Dictionaries. (n.d.). Retrieved August 19, 2012, from Wordpress. (2010, March 18). Retrieved August 19, 2012, from www.



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19th Century Architecture. (n.d.). Retrieved September 25, 2012, from html/19c.html Anklesaria, S. (2001, August 22). Chandigarh: Vision and Reality. Retrieved July 2011, from http:// Banks, D. (2011, May 13). The (Digital) Image of the City. Retrieved November 1, 2012, from Bhatia, G. (1994). Punjabi Baroque: And Other Memories of Architecture. Penguin Books India Boulding, K. E. (1956). The Image: Knowledge in Life and Society. University of Michigan Press. Boyer, M. C. (1996). City of Collective Memory. MIT Press. Complexities in the contemporary city (2002), Seminar, New Delhi: School of Planning and Architecture. Corbusier, L. (1948). Concerning Town Planning. New Haven: University Press.Corbusier, L. The Four Routes. CRZ altered, Mumbai set for sea change. (2011, January 8). Retrieved November 12, 2012, from www.articles.timesofindia.indiatimes. com: Gupta, S. (2003). Change and the Contemporary City; Unpublished Dissertation, New Delhi: School of Planning and Architecture. Halbwachs, M. (1980). The Collective Memory. New York: Harper Colophon Books. Heidenreich, L. (n.d.). Collective Memory, Identity and Place Making In Reunified Berlin. Indian cities... The public realm (2006), Seminar, New Delhi: School of Planning and Architecture.

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Journal of Applied Social Psychology. (2012, January 11). Retrieved October 3, 2012, from Jonothan. (2010). Collective Memory Theory: An Introduction. Retrieved August 29, 2012, from http://jonathant. Kelly, A. (2001). Building Legible Cities. Bristol: Bristol Cultural Development Partnership. Koffka, K. (1935). Principles of Gestalt Psychology. London. Lahiri, N. (2011, March 04). DELHI’S CAPITAL CENTURY (1911-2011). Retrieved June 2011, from LeGates, R. T. (2000). The City Reader. London and New York: Routledge. Lynch, K., T. B. (1995). City Sense and City Design. Ney York: MIT Press. Lynch, K. (1992). Image of a City. New York: MIT Press. McCluskey, J. (1992). Roadform and Townscape. Oxford: Butterworth Heinemann. Mehrotra, R. (1998). Streets we live in; Unpublished Dissertation, New Delhi: School of Planning and Architecture. Mishra, A. (2012, February 13). Mayawati’s Legacy in stone: Symbolism that does not wash. Retrieved July 21, 2012, from Firstpost.Politics: Mohan, G. (1991). Mixed landuses along Streets. New Delhi: School of Planning and Architecture. Park, R. E. (1967). The City. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Prak, N. L. (1977). The Visual Perception of the Built Environment. Netherlands: Delft University Press. Rossi, A. (1984). The Architecture of the City. Massachusetts: Opposi-



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tions Book, The MIT Press. Roy, S. (2000). Street Scapes : Urban Perception; Unpublished Dissertation, New Delhi: School of Planning and Architecture. Shaw, D. (2000). Pattern Language for Community Self-made. Retrieved june 2011, from Singhal, S. (2010). Effect of building facades on the character of urban streets; Unpublished Dissertation, New Delhi: School of Planning and Architecture. The Image of the City. (2011, February 2). Retrieved July 26, 2012, from http://urbanwaterfront.blogspot. in/2011/02/image-of-city.html Urbanism: Memories And New Initiatives (2005), Seminar, New Delhi: School of Planning and Architecture. Venturi, R. (1977). Learning from Las Vegas. Winter, Jay. 2006. Remembering War: The Great War between Memory and History in the Twentieth Century. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Yadav, C. S. (1987). Perceptual and Cognitive Image of the City (PUG12). Concept Publishing Co.

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Seminar 04 : Delhi | City of the Expressionless 101


Delhi | City of the Expressionless Presented on 1st November 2012 presented by Abhimanyu Mittal Sandeep Ahuja Saurabh Gupta Sumati Mattoo advisor Moulshri Joshi Architect

chairperson Mr. Shivam Vij resource persons Madhav Raman Architect

Jagan Shah Architect

Dr. Ashok Kumar Protestors supporting Ramdev at Ramleela Miadan Kishan Bhaia from SPA architecture block canteen

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elhi has received numerous labels through the years; it has been the heart of the country, the symbol of the nation, the power centre of India, but never has it been called expressionless. So why NOW? What has happened over the last 50 years that we are left without an option but to create this new label for this city? Where is the space in Delhi to express? Where is the space with no restrictions, no cost, and no criteria? Approximately 20% of the people migrating to Delhi are a response to diverse economic opportunities across space (Mitra, 2008); this creates a complex economic and cultural situation in the city. However, one can notice that this diversity is never truly seen because of the various visible (in form of gates and locks) and invisible (in form of rules and regulations) borders that we have around us. We feel safe and comfortable inside these barriers; but does this simultaneously also mean that we feel unsafe when we are out of them? Where is our open space which is free of these existing barriers? How do we define a democracy, being constantly surrounded by these barriers?

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What is Public Space?


place for everybody to enjoy their coexistence and represent their collectivity, and common interest without drowning or disaggregating their diversity.” (Ary, 2005) “Public space admits to no criteria.“ (Kumar, 2012) These definitions clearly state the attributes of a public space as being accessible to all and without any restriction based on social, economic or cultural background; Do our current public spaces have these attributes? “Underlying diverse uses and collective ownership, public places are distinguishable by the individual’s right to presence. Everyone who counts as a member of the public has the right to present themselves in public space. In addition to the basic right of presence, people have the right to use the space and to act in certain ways in it.” (Lynch, pg -214) Public places are public goods that ideally reflect congruence between those who use the place and those who are responsible for it. Since the public place is by definition accessible to all, responsibility for that place and the decision making that shapes it should similarly be broadly accessible. By providing a place for diverse groups to mix, public places afford people with face-to-face interaction and opportunities to participate in informal community life. Public places are the sites for the unplanned but common encounters with those who are not formally known. The sociality of public places thereby include equal access by diverse people for diverse purposes that encourages the informal civic life of the everyday and a community cohesiveness through shared experience. Where in Delhi is the space that fulfils these characteristics? Case: SPA and DU students (Primary Study) Through a survey that was conducted, the idea of Delhi’s public space was compared between SPA students and DU students. The results obtained were surprising, revealing that the idea of a public space to an architecture student was almost identical to that of a Delhi University student. During the survey, although the popular choice was In-

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dia Gate, when asked as their preferred destination, Connaught Place seemed to be the top choice. If analyzed carefully, it is understood that Connaught place is not truly public in any way; there are no design incentives to promote people gathering in the space, with minimalistic public seating and restrooms. The space however, surely does cater to a consumer who is willing to spend money in an air conditioned restaurant or shop. (Kumar, 2012) The other major choices included the highly guarded India gate, the gentrified Hauz Khas, the guarded malls, the ticketed Delhi Haat. Do we all really consider these spaces to be accessible, open, diverse and without restrictions? Case: Delhi Professionals (Primary Study) In contrast, professionals including architects, planners, journalists, NGOs and more, revealed Streets as their idea of a public space. Streets and sidewalks of a city serve a much more crucial task than carrying vehicles and pedestrian. Depending on the usability of the streets, they not only connect two different points but are fundamental to making a city safe. These streets and sidewalks fulfil all the attributes of a public space; they are easily accessible, open to all. These spaces are surely open and accessible but what is the character of the streets of Delhi? There are still places like Amsterdam where through the strategic city planning people are encouraged to ride bicycles and to walk. Cities that are promoting pedestrian movement create specially designed street furniture to ensure smooth and uninterrupted walking experience. When looking at Delhi, the condition and importance of a pedestrian is not the same. Consider just one sidewalk on Tilak Marg, New Delhi. It is the main artery for international visitors driving to Rajghat, to the Red Fort and Jama Masjid. A third of Delhi’s population destined for ITO and old Delhi drive through Tilak Marg. Even so, for the last 20 years a porta cabin with its line of washed underwear strung between two trees is one of the sights on view. Are our footpaths and streets accessible and easy to use? (Chandra, 2012)

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Case: Delhi’s Streets In a 2010 Time World survey, nearly 80% of women in New Delhi reported being worried about their safety. Other cities in the world have worse crime rates than Delhi, but the streets of the capital are by far the most dangerous public spaces for women in India, outstripping Mumbai in reported rapes by hundreds of cases each year. In 2009, 15.4% of the crimes against women committed in all of India were in the capital, according to the UN. And the problem, while unfortunately nothing new here, is getting steadily worse. Part of the problem, in the public sphere anyway, has to do with the city’s spotty infrastructure and haphazard city planning. The ‘eyes on the street’ approach espoused by Jane Jacobs (1961), displays not only an active security policy, but also the prioritization of natural surveillance techniques. Going by that understanding, it would follow that street vendors and homeless persons would be welcome on streets, occupying the streets at all times of the day and night, providing stray walkers at night the security of not having to worry about being the only person on the street. And yet, we find that governments respond to their presence in exactly the opposite manner. An article in the june, 2012 edition of Times of India exposed an example of this. The author, Akram, points out that this was seen in Chandni Chowk where 650 hawkers were evicted this year who returned to their place after bribing the police officials.

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Shrinking Public Space


he census reveals a 500 % increase in the population of Delhi from 1960 to 2011. Simultaneously, when comparing Master Plan of Delhi 1962 to that of 2021, the area allocated for green and recreational areas, that is the open public space has decreased by 55 %. Ideally, this should ensure the remaining public spaces to be highly dense, filled with more and different types of people. Surprisingly that hasn’t been the situation in the public spaces of Delhi. These are left abandoned. What has led to this change?

Public spaces create a situation where everyone is allowed to come. This creates an increased diversity of people occupying this space leading to increased competition for the space. This theorem is also valid, where a reduced population and their diversity leads to a decrease in competition of a space. The decreased competition of a space is directly related to the spatial tension. Spatial Tension Spatial tension is a term coined by the authors of this paper during the process of research. It is a concept undertaken to explain the “publicness” of a space. As the term suggests, spatial tension is nothing but space undergoing tension, where tension can be defined as a balance between and interplay of opposing elements or tendencies. When two different elements are in a space, there is an existing competition for the space; this competition is spatial tension. We all undergo this spatial tension in one form or the other in our daily lives. Consider the example of a college elevator; as two students simultaneously ride in it, they make conversation, exchange thoughts and express opinions. This happens mainly because of the homogeneity of the students, having a similar position in the college, a similar age group and possibly a similar financial background; In this scenario the elevator has fairly low spatial tension due to the lack of diversity. Now, imagine the spatial tension of the same elevator as the Head of Department enters it. With this increase in competition for the space due to the increased diversity of the users, there would be a high spatial tension. The public today chooses to move away from this ‘competition’. As the public is moving away from it, they are moving into more privatized spaces.

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Moving Inwards There has been a rise in India’s consumer class, with more and more malls coming up, offering more choice, more variety, a more complete shopping experience. In cities like Delhi, the people can watch movies, eat, drink, listen to music, read books, look at art and do just about do all their social activities in malls. In addition to the growing popularity of the private malls, the public spaces used traditionally are also simultaneously become difficult to access. (Janaki Nair, 2000) The popularity of such private alternatives to these traditional public arenas suggests that the city could become more socially segregated. As the people now look towards gym, spas for exercising and go to malls for their cultural and social purposes, the traditional parks, libraries and art galleries are being left abandoned. Case: Cubbon park and Lalbagh Last November saw an attempt (based on “security concerns”) to introduce ID cards for park-goers in Lalbagh and Cubbon Park in Bangalore. A public outcry stopped the intended fee and swipe-card proposal, but last month it was announced that Lalbagh would be allotted armed private security to ensure the safety of tourists and holidayers. In Delhi, the gated colony gardens provide a safe place for local children to play, but they are by no means “public” spaces. (Jenkins, 2010) Virtual Manifestation In the recent years, online protests through facebook, youtube, SAHMAT, KAFILA, SARAI, and other forums have gained increased popularity. We have portals like for expressing disagreement with the mainstream. With the arrival of the internet and the construction of “virtual communities” the physicality of spatial organization seems scarcely to matter anymore, Case: Kafila is an online community of scholars, activists, writers, journalists who engage on a wide range of issues of the contemporary world.

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They believe that the only way of creating critical spaces is through connecting various radical and critical media practices and forms. However, “Civic squares and parks are the best places for protests to function, and go hand-in-hand with online organizing. Public spaces are the only place in which people feel truly, physically unified. With so many protests going online, the physical element is critical for enhancing society’s sense of togetherness and solidarity.” (Low, 2007) Paranoia When people do not get the opportunity to mingle, it only increases their sense of not being able to tolerate differences. So, where once our public space realm was under tension from different groups for acclamation, now the equilibrium is totally misbalanced by its users wanting to abstain from it. “This is serious, because literal and continuous mingle of people, present because of different purposes, is the only device that keeps the street safe. It is the only device that cultivates secondary diversity” (Jacobs, 1965 pg. 259) “Paranoia, like mental distress, flourishes in the absence of a public culture. When ideas can be discussed freely among equals, we can revise and improve overly simple explanations – just as we can challenge unnecessary complexity and technocratic obfuscation. Individuals can change their minds, or shift the emphasis of their concerns, without feeling humiliated. They don’t have to do what many critics of conspiratorial culture demand and embrace the conventional wisdom about politics and economics, with all its absurdities and obvious failure of logic, evidence and common sense.” (Jenkins, 2001) This paranoia has led to high boundary walls in neighboring houses, heavily policed and highly programmed spaces. Excessive locks, cameras, guards, all reveal the tension in the society. In places like malls those who contribute by purchasing goods and services are welcomed in these spaces, while those who fail to contribute are discouraged When we put up boundaries, we define that whatever is inside the boundary is safe; however, consequently we also define that anything outside the boundary is un-safe.

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“Instead of the ambiguity that comes from different groups of people sharing the same space and using it for different purposes, there is a conformism. ( Cummings, 2011) It is the anxieties and fears of the city that largely inform the architecture of public spaces. Who ever heard of the ‘Architecture of the village square’? What we hear frequently is mostly about regulating public parks, clearing pavements and widening bus terminals. If urban planning aims to transform custom into order, in the late 20 century it has found solid support for this from the ideology of environmentalism and conservation. Surveillance Citizens are subjected to unprecedented levels of surveillance. ‘’The streets have been privatized without anyone noticing.” During an interview with Ar. Raman [Principal designer at Anagram Architects] about his views on surveillance, he revealed that being a middle income group city, having surveillance is not really going to help. Having more people out there is going to help. There is a very warped sense of security that comes from surveillance. Exclusion With a deep research into our public spaces today, it can be stated that it is not accidental that Public spaces today are unable to generate any disagreements and arguments. It is claimed that these spaces are designed to make sure that no such thing takes place. “real estate developers learned to design public spaces so as to repel people” (Shepard, 2011) In some cases these public appearing private spaces are a deliberate effort to reduce the number of undesirables, and in others, a by-product of privatization, commercialization, historic preservation and poor planning and design. Both sets of practices reduce the vitality and vibrancy of the spaces and reorganize it to welcome only tourists and middle-class people.

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Insecure Capitol “No building or building complex can be considered public in as many different senses as the Delhi’s capitol complex. It is publicly owned, constructed with public funds, and house publicly funded institutions; It is a place to gather with the public and to make public statements; and is expected to represent the public interest. They are even, in theory much more than in practice, supposed to be open to the public.(R.I. Kumar, 2004)” Architecturally however, our capitol, is designed with a cordon sanitaire, a barrier around it. In this century, we are facing a different kind of threat to public space—not one of disuse, but of patterns of design that reduce diversity. Consider the design of our street furniture which make sitting down (never mind sleeping) a challenge. Consider the lawns of between India gate and the capitol; the closer you get to India gate, the more badly maintained they are. Hence, the space that is most highly occupied by the people, is badly maintained. One of the things that come with private management is, almost always, a lot of rules and a set of security guards to police them. Access to public spaces is tightly restricted making protests easier to control.

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Where is our Tahrir Square? Protest


here is our space in Delhi where we are free to express and protest?

Where is our Tahrir Square? Recently worldwide, there have been a number of instances where protesters weren’t allowed to express their opinions. An example of this would be the Occupy Movement at Zuccotti Park,(New York). A similar instance took place on October 1st 1991, protesters gathered around the people’s park, as the University of California and city of Berkley planned to develop it into two volleyball courts. They battled the wooden and putty bullets that the police shot at them because they truly believed the people’s park to be one of the last truly public spaces in the city. Bangalore for a long time, had Cubbon Park as it’s space for public expression. It is locate at the corner of the Legislative assembly building that has over the years become a favourite spot for agitators and protest groups. Fasts, dharnas and various demonstrations take place here. In an attempt to supervise this place, the government proposed it to be turned into a ‘speaker’s corner’ reserved only for speakers of ‘green issues’. Also, the act of increasing regulation by installing gates has been justified with a view of making this park more jogger-friendly but is simultaneously keeping a ‘plebeian’ culture at bay. Case: Ramleela Maidan (Primary study) During a survey at Ramleela maidan, one of the organisers of the Ramdev protest revealed that they had “taken permission paying the full money” to book the space. The government has introduced barriers to these public spaces in forms of security regulations. Public space by definition needs to be something that is not private, it cannot be owned by anyone, be that departments of the government, where you have to go and apply for permission to be able to use a space which they may or may not give.

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India’s Tahrir Square Interestingly, It has been in the news lately that Parliament Street would be the next Tahrir square. The recent phenomenon of candlelight walks, with the need to ‘come out’ and express collectively has taken over Delhi.There is a need to find space for this expression and interestingly such expressions are finding space carved by colonial powers for example the India Gate. Where, is our space to protest? Does a democratic country like India, lack this space? Democracy Democracy can be defined as “a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or their elected agents under a free electoral system” ( Every person is permitted to hold their own respective thoughts which would be taken care of by the democratic government. Democracy invites and appreciates diversity present in the group of people based on their economic, social and cultural background. With the understanding of the characteristics of a democracy, a question is raised on India being a democracy. India is one of the largest democracies in the world, as the 1950 constitution ushered the idea of it being a democratic country. The fundamental rights recognized by the constitution are: Right to equality, Right to freedom, Right against exploitation, Right to freedom of religion, Cultural and Educational rights, Right to constitutional remedies “I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” (Attributed to Voltaire in S G Tallentyre, The Friends of Voltaire [1907]) Then why is our ‘opinion’ and ‘expression’ constantly being curbed physically and virtually? We can easily say that our constitution grants us right to freedom of speech and expression, but what is needed is not the ability to speak freely out in the desert, inaccessible to most and heard by few. Rather, what is needed are publicly available spaces that can fulfil the functions of the traditional agora, places where free men and women can meet, debate, speak to

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and listen to each other, learn from each other. But after all the rules and restrictions enforced in our ‘public space’ we are only left to living George Orwell’s Animal Farm’s version of Democracy. Are we really a democracy? Living in a country where we are not free to express, we are surely not a democracy. Right to the city The right to the city is an idea and a slogan that was first proposed by Henri Lefebvre in his 1968 book Le Droit à la ville. Lefebvre summaries the ideas as a “demand... [for] a transformed and renewed access to urban life”. As explained by David Harvey (geographer), the city is man’s most consistent and on the whole most successful attempt to remake the world he lives in. But if this city is the world which man has created, it is the world in which he is henceforth condemned to live. The right to the city is therefore, far more than a right of individual or group access to the resources that the city embodies. It is a collective rather than an individual right, since reinventing the city inevitably depends upon the exercise of a collective power over the processes of urbanization. The freedom to make and remake ourselves and our cities is one of the most precious yet most neglected of our human rights.”

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Reclaim the City


everal instances of the people fighting to reclaim their public spaces can be seen. The people’s anger at the steep hike in public transport fares by the Delhi Transport Corporation was expressed by an organized picketing of DTC buses and deflating their tyres. The police dealt with this show of the people’s’ disapproval of the farehike in the only way they know, lathi charging the non violent picketers. Case: Reclaim the Streets (Secondary study) An example can be seen in Britain where the judiciary made raves illegal. The Act gave police far reaching powers to deal with ravers in any public confrontation. To fight the Act ravers joined hand with squatters and travelers to get ‘The Right to Uncolonized Space’. With the forming of these alliances, one of the most vibrant and fastest growing political movement arose - ‘Reclaim the Streets’. Another expression of the peoples’ anger was a street-play called DTC Ki Dhandli (DTC’s Fraudulence) put up by Jan Natya Manch. The group came out on the streets the day the new fare became effective, and started performing it in the Connaught Place areas. Just when they were preparing to begin their play they were stopped by a group of policemen were determined not to let the performance take place. They began lathi charging the audience and the actors. Despite all the Lathi charges are we reclaiming our city? Not similar, but notions of reclamation are seen all over Delhi. The minorities, the people who are not even considered as a part of ‘public’, reclaim the public spaces when we don’t. They take over, expressing their complete right over these spaces It is evident that the right to a city and its public spaces are a crucial part of democracy. Public space is important in democratic discourse since it is also significant as a space of attention orientation, a space that shapes citizens’ sense of what people, perspectives, and problems are present in the democratic public. This idea of lack of expression and reclamation can be seen at all scales and dimensions of life leading to a changing image of a space.

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We would like to give our deepest gratitude to our seminar guide Ar. Moulshri Joshi for not only introducing us to this topic as a seminar, but for also helping us realize and question the numerous things that are wrong with our democracy today. We would express our sincere thanks to our seminar co-coordinators Prof. Ranjana Mital and Prof. Jaya Kumar for their persistence towards extracting quality work and making this seminar worthwhile. A special thanks would go Ar. Madhav Rama, Dr. Ashok Kumar and Ar. Jagan Shah for their support towards our search during this seminar. This seminar would have been incomplete without the help of the numerous people who patiently allowed us to interview them in various places from metro stations to railway station, Connaught Place to Chandni Chowk, Hauz Khas Village to Select City Walk and many more. Thank you Delhi for the much needed co-operation! We thank all our friends for their continuous inputs and valuable talks. We would like to thank our parents for their constant support.

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tidmore.html Design to Occupy at UC Berkeley by Hefe, 25th February 2011 is India a Democracy? No, Not Really, By Martin McCauley 16 April 2009 India’s need for Tahrir Square by Subhash Agarwal 19 Jan 2012 Where’s India Tahrir Square by Saroj Giri 17 Feb 2011 Tahrir Square moment in India by Sadanand Dhume 18 April 2011 Will Jantar Mantar prove to be India’s Tahrir Square by Sudhir Krishnaswamy 14 India’s Tahrir Square Moment - But ‘Why’ the wise men are sulking by Arun N.M. 11 April 2011 India’s Tahrir Square? 8 April 2011 Square/ Is Jantar Mantar India’s Tahrir Square? by Sudhir Krishna Swamy 10 April 2011 India Does’nt need a Tahrir Square by Asif Ullah Khan 19 May 2011 Jeffreys, Sophie. “The Planning Process: A Local Councillor’s View |

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OpenDemocracy.” The Planning Process: A Local Councillor’s View | OpenDemocracy. N.p., 4 Oct. 2001. Web. 04 Aug. 2012. <http://www.>. Patkar, Medha. “Democracy Dreams Crumbling: Medha Patkar.” News. N.p., 25 Aug. 2006. Web. 04 Aug. 2012. <http://news.>. Pauw, Anton, and Kirsten Louw. “Urbanization Drives a Reduction in Functional Diversity in a Guild of Nectar-feeding Birds.” Ecology and Society:. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Aug. 2012. <>. Ridley, Jane. “Lutyens and Le Corbusier: From Heritage to History.” Lutyens and Le Corbusier: From Heritage to History | OpenDemocracy. N.p., 4 Oct. 2001. Web. 04 Aug. 2012. <http://www.opendemocracy. net/arts-urbanisation/article_482.jsp>. Why Tahrir Square is not possible in India by Madhavi Bhasin 16 Feb 2011 Henri Lefebvre on State, Space, Territory by Neil Brenner & Stuart Elden, International Political Sociology (2009) Herbort, Anne Dorothée. Buyosphere - The Relationship between Commercial and Public Spaces and the Impact of the Shopping Mall on Contemporary Society. Verlag: Grin, 2012. Print Politics of Urban Space in an Ethno-Nationally Contested City: Negotiating (Co)Existence in Wadi Nisnas by Rachel Kallus & Ziva Kolodney, Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning, Technion, Haifa 32000, Israel Public Space and the Contracting-out of Publicness: A Framework for Analysis by Claudio De Magalha˜ Es, The Bartlett School of Planning, UCL, London, UK Public Spaces : Architecture of Supervised Freedom by R. I. Kumar, COA Journal of June 2004

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Rebel Cities: From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution By David Harvey Chapter : RIGHT TO THE CITY Searching for the Just City: Debates in Urban Theory and Practice, Peter Marcuse, James Connolly, Johannes Novy, Ingrid Olivo, Cuz Potter & Justin Steil. Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, London and New York, 2009 Space, Place and the City: Emerging Research on Public Space Design and Planning by Stephan Schmidt* & Jeremy Ne´Meth The Political Economy of Public Space by David Harvey They Way We Were, The Way We Are by Jonathan Barnett, The Theory and Practice of Designing Cities Since 1956

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Interview with a protestor at Ramleela Maidan Why has Ramleela maidan been chosen for this Anshan and not any other ground? The reason for that is because the size of this ground suits the requirements of the people. Since people have gathered from all over the country, so we require more space, boat club or jantar mantar would be too small for a gathering of this size. So is the space the only reason for the Anshan to take place here? Absolutely not, this is a historical ground. There are emotional values associated to this place. We are in this Ramleela maidan to bring an end to the corrupt ravan of today! How has the police been reacting to the protestors and the activities in this place? There is nothing they can do about it; none of us have been forced to be here, we are all here by our own will to support â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;baba jiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; What if the police somehow gets orders to evacuate these grounds, is there another place in mind where this Anshan would still carry on? That is not possible, since we have legally taken permission till 30th August, and no one can evacuate us from these grounds before that. We paid the full money to attain this permission. How has the media been covering this protest in order to invite more people for the cause? The media people are editing our footage and showing false things. They say we are all here for food and have been paid to sit here, this is not true. We are here because we believe in what baba ji says. They are showing on NDTV that the Anshan is not as powerful today as it was first, that is all fake. We all are going to be here till the last day in support of baba ji. Interview with a police official at Ramleela Maidan Why are there so many police officials here at the Anshan? There are so many officials to make sure that the situation does not go out of control. To avoid an out of control situation, we break the groups that we see forming in the public. But arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t the people supposed to come together in an Anshan?

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Yes they are, but we make sure that they are only talking about the main cause being focused in the Anshan. We break the groups if we notice them talking about another issue. People here have gathered form many different places of India, so we are not sure what they might discuss about, so to ensure safety for everyone we break any groups that we see forming. What are your views on a 24/7 on going Anshan in terms of the difficulties caused to the people staying close to the area? The people have all the right to stop the Anshan. They can put up a complaint application stating that they are getting disturbed by the Anshan activities; this would enable to some extent the protest permissions to be taken away or reduced. If not here, where else do you think this Anshan should take place? It should not happen in Delhi at all, it should only happen in the outskirts of the city, in villages that have very low population densities and hence a lot of open space But wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t that make it more difficult for people to participate in the protest, due to lack of public transport connectivity? There are barely any people from Delhi involved in the Anshan anyway. Most of the people are coming from Haryana and UP, so if they can get a bus to come all the way to here, they can also get a bus to go to the outskirts. If that is the case, why are they protesting in this Maidan? Its an old area. Its more of a landmark location. Everyone knows this place hence its easier to locate. Interview with Ar. Madhav Raman (16th August 16, 2012) How would you define public space in delhi, and what character do you think these spaces have? It is odd how these new malls try to create the street markets in the enclosed space, and try to mimic the public character of a street. I would consider public space in delhi to be its roads So do you think that there is something missing in these public spaces? Literally speaking, our roads are not planned for people and for these kinds of activities. When you consider the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Dharnaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; , and you say you

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are going to starve to death in places for instance, the Ramleela ground, you need to have your own support group. But that did not matter, but the moment he started walking on the streets and protest marching, it became a big issue, they offered him to sit and protest another place; the point is they were off the street since protests on the streets cause ‘chakka jam’, which causes a transport problem for people who travel in cars, since the pedestrians can still walk past a street protest. It is interesting to notice that we don’t hold protest rallies though we still hold political rallies. What do you think would be the relationship between public space and democracy? To say that the road is built for vehicles, and not people defies its character. Public space by definition needs to be something that is not private, it cannot be owned by anyone, be that departments of the government, where you have to go and apply for permission to be able to use a space which they may or may not give. There is somehow always a management issue about how the police or the management says that they want us to hold a protest in a space such that we don’t hamper the smooth movement of the city. This makes the protest to be contained, it does not allow the idea to spread, to democratize. Public spaces need to have the sense that it is democratic. The way media also depicts opinions of ‘india’ gives us a very warped sense of democracy, and opinion is very sacred in a democracy. Sacred in a way that it should not be protected, it should actually be spread around; its like a 10 rupee note, it needs to pass hands. If we get a freshly minted note and keep it in the cupboard and only show it to people, it has no value; it only has value when you spend the money, something else crumples it, gives it to someone else. That is the importance of public space in a democracy What has been the transition in the choice of public spaces that you have been using in the last 15-20 years? Transition happening is that I don’t spend any time on the streets anymore. Although, when I was a kid, from 4-7:30 I was outside playing. So this was the time when I was sent to go out and figure it out on my own. This outside time has disappeared among all my friends now. Kids now are busy using the cell phone, or planning a visit to the mall. It seems like they now need secure three dimensional spaces in order to feel space whereas I could run off, cycle off to the streets, markets, explore green spaces, talk to people. Yet somehow I feel less safe in the parks today. It is true that we feel more safe when there are more people around us, and the population has surely risen, so why would

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I feel less secure! This lack of security comes from the fact that there are not enough people walking outside. It is very important for children, and old people to feel safe outside in a city, to me that is a safe public city. India gate is different to this that lawn is weird. I go with my family, I only talk to them, and the people there are almost like scenery. At most I would go buy ice cream, talk to that guy for five minutes. It has changed. Now there is too much un-ambiguity as to who owns what. Every space you look at now is gated with a guard. Who checks who goes in and comes out, but still cars are being stolen. So do you not stay in a gated community yourself? Would you rather move out to places that don’t have these boundaries? I do. Its not a physical gate, it’s a notional gate. I lived in Moti bagh, recently one half of Moti bagh was demolished and its now called ‘new moti bagh’. When I lived there we lived in a community in moti bagh which did not have any gates around it. It was completely open. Some people had security arrangements, cops and all. Shantipath was a major safe zone, but it no gates, and yet there were no cases of violence. Some time back they knocked down half of this community and build new moti bag. They had to accommodate more people. This was a gated community. I don’t know how much safer it has become now. That is essentially why I don’t like gated communities, since I never grew up in one. Studying in this college, the moment any of us thinks of a public space, we think of plazas, but that is not the public spaces here, it is in the tiniest of the galis. How do you react to the constant survelliance that we are being offered in order to be able to feel safe. As we talked to a lot of people they feel that they ought to increase the guards etc for an increased safe? The idea that you have technology to substitute, or that you can control public space ‘legally’ is valid. Being a middle income group city, having surveillance is not really going to help. Having more people out there is going to help. There is a very warped sense of security that comes from this surveillance. For instance, they give us a token when we get in and give out as we go out, but it’s a plastic token bought from the market! They note down when the car came in and went out. The idea is probably to ensure that the car should not get stolen. It does not seem very thought out. It doesn’t make sense. A more possible form of a being secure is that if I am thief I have the fear that someone would see me steal something. But this idea is not supported, since if any cop stops my car in the night the first question

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is ‘itni der raat bahar kya kar rahe ho?’. The approach is that everyone should be away, it should be disserted. These on going speakers that you notice in markets, but that hasn’t stopped any bomb blasts or terrorist attacks. There may be cctv cameras, but they would not avoid such a situation. However, these hawkers, these sabzi waalas are very particular who are around there thelas, what they are doing around them. There was a incident in the Tahrir Square, where as the protest was on going the women also wanted a say in it, and said they ought to have a right. Considering the irony of the situation is a public space in a diverse country like India, a utopia? The particular Tahrir square example that you mentioned is unique to the specific culture. It requires immense amount of purpose to keep a large gathering focused on one purpose. When you look at the team anna protest at rameleela maidan, they stated that there objective was to ensure that the jan lokpal bill was passed. Although in this protest various other people came and spoke, and they spoke about many other issues. There were all these other layers of politics added to it. The Indian democratic ideal is to have debate, not speeches, but debates, where people can debate their opinions. And currently this debate is a utopia. The media has a very important role to play in dissent, democracy and public domain, and it is crucial for media to be ethical. I think that isn’t happening. I think its very important to have very strong editorial ethics. It is our duty to express our opinion. Expressing the different sides of the same comment is our duty. Do you think there is any architectural manifestation of these expressions of disagreement? There is certainly an increased sense of paranoia. A good example of an architecrual protest/expression is the way the whole lal dora urban village that is formed is a neglect. The village is a very small island in the middle of a vast city. Eg. The entire area behind new friends colony, right up to okhla gaon. Do you think the situation is really that alarming based on the fact that we are fine with compromised public spaces? If the society today is fine with that, what does it say about us? Its like trying to show light to someone who is deliberately closing their eyes. It largely depends on whether we think we are democratic or not. In the 80’s there were untold atrocities happening across the country, although not many people ever found out about them. Now, however we are in a situation where there is an information boom. The alarming situation I think is that given how much information is

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out there, how little we know. One of our greatest responsibilities to a democracy is to inform ourselves, to know both sides of a point and made an independent decision. We need to create more noise, to create more opinions so people have more to respond to. The alarming situation is how many opinions are out there, and how little of them matter. We are strange society, where we have many more opinions than we have information. That can do a serious damage to the democracy. Interview with Dr. Ashok Kumar (22nd August, 2012) How would you define public space in Delhi, and what character do you think these spaces have? Absolute space- things to be done to that space; physical space; can be constructed; for some use. Relative space - talk about one space relative to the other. Relational space- Not physical containers where you do things to something, like relations, are representation of documents of recreation. Public space admits to no criteria or the common space Right to the city- If you are properly dressed, sophisticated then you can enter, if you can speak English or Hindi perfectly. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s why we never just talk about absolute space; we even consider relative or relational space. If you talk about physical space then you found out the slum, slum should be maintained by us because we are using it indirectly. Drivers, sabziwala, maid all come from that space and even they know we need them. Public space is that space which is open to all with no criteria. Delhi public space - India gate, Cannought place - but they have conditions and problems too. Neighbourhood park- to enter that space you have to represent that neighbourhood. Do slums have a common space? They have and we call them sacred space (temple, mosque) If there are restrictions than is there any truly public space?

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We need to understand the reason why this is happening Privatization- we sell the public resources to the private companies and they create institutional setup that facilities that kind of allocation. Everything has to become commodities to be sold/exchange in the market, even it includes our public space, therefore entry become restricted or is highly controlled, hence it has some elements of publicness but it’s not a truly public space. Mall is a public space. all are not allowed, commercially owned Don’t misjudge by the ownership, but it’s for the consumer; majority of people can enter that space. majority is how we perceive majority I get your point, even you can present your seminar that these are the definitions and difficulties. Time is very important too, when you talk about space simultaneous you talk about time. Even India gate is very restricted place at certain periods/points in the year/certain occasion. Certain public space are prohibited to certain kind of people at certain time. Even today we don’t say it openly but we use other mechanism to restrict entry to these places. we don’t think that anyone is restricted in sacred places. There was member of mayawati part but joined congress later, head of some sc/st commission. He was not allowed to enter in some temple. But these things happen to common people every day and therefore this is a concern. this establish a relationship between democracy and public space. Before you understand democracy you need to understand politics. politics is power play If you think this is politics than democracy is the practice of this kind of politics. Anna try to dissent to crate disagreement and this triggers the debating of an experimentation with more egalitarian. We expect that public space remain public without intervention from other side in a democracy. Policies to play an important role, there should be active participa-

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tion in framing those policies. Lack of dissent in a democracy creates oppressive spaces. Dualism - black and white, day and night. What has been the transition in the choice of public spaces that you have been using in the last 15-20 years? I use less of open spaces now than 15-20 years ago. Because time, location, my own activities has changed. I came from agricultural and rural background, in cities we don’t have that kind of spaces. Even of we have we don’t have time and sometimes you are more limited to computer and Internet and so on that your actual spaces dominates over the real ones. People use virtual space more because real spaces are difficult to use and access. Do you stay in a gated community yourself? Would you rather move out to places that don’t have these boundaries? Yes I live in gated community but gates are not built by me. but you choose to live there not anywhere else I am guilty on that do you feel secure there? I don’t think they are secure, car thefts keep on happening and it’s very common. Security hasn’t anything to do with the gentrification; gates stop the weak not the smart. Right to city is a collective right, not like ‘my right’. Collectiveness produces some sense of security. Separation or individuality doesn’t produce any kind of security. How do you react to the constant surveillance that we are being offered in order to be able to feel safe. As we talked to a lot of people they feel that they ought to increase the guards etc for an increased safe? Sense of surveillance means control. If people are being monitored, I’ll be able to see how they behave and end of the day, I can do something to regulate that behavior. if you know you are watched you will never behave the way you are. I quite agree with you but surveillance is necessary to some extent. Some rules and regulations are required at any place. Surveillance means that you simply don’t trust people. Earlier in villages people never lock their house but now they lock because of lack of trust. There was a incident in the Tahrir Square, where as the protest was on going, women also wanted a say in it, and said they ought to have

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a right. They were told ‘this is not the time’ and their opinions were restricted by men. Considering the irony of the situation, is a public space in a diverse country like India, a utopia? Private space also get some reflection in public space, it’s person behaviour in private space that somehow reflects in public space too. Do you think there is any architectural manifestation of these expressions of disagreement? Tahrir square, occupy Wall Street and Chipko movement are some manifestation where dissent was there and something good come out. Do you think the situation is really that alarming based on the fact that we are fine with compromised public spaces and hence a compromised right to express? If the society today is fine with that, what does it say about us? Situation is very alarming. Presently there is no space which can be called India’s tahrir square. Slums with another perspective can be seen as the places of struggle, people create many ways to survive themselves. Narmada Bachao a revolution is lead by a women all the time There are little-little tahrir squares that create some hope but that hope is very little, until and unless the system reverse where your need and aspiration come first rather than the money making machines. Capitalism as a system is very innovative. 1930, 1970, 1990(Asia), 2007(America) economic depression, But they are so innovative once they see it’s collapsing it change.(social security is part of that) The problem is - we start with commodities, born with commodities and we die with commodities. Humans don’t meet. It’s the commodities through which human have relations. This system of commodities dominance need to be changed. Some new system has to come to change capitalism but first we have to except who is dominating. If inequality bridges then rest of the things continue to happen. Economic part and the identity(religion, cast, place) part need to be handled together. Interview with Ar. Jagan Shah (3nd September, 2012) How would you define public space in delhi, and what character do you think these spaces have? Public space in Delhi would be defined same as anywhere: it is the

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space from which private domains are carved out. Although it is the matrix of the city, it has tended to become a ‘leftover’ space. What do you think would be the relationship between public space and democracy? Public space is the spirit of democracy; it is the spatial manifestation of the key ideals that democracy upholds: equality and freedom. What has been the transition in the choice of public spaces that you have been using in the last 15-20 years? The days of my youth were spent in using the city and its public spaces with abandon. But after the 1990’s and the so-called ‘globalization’ and ‘privatization’ of the economy, and the paranoia and consumerism that has now overtaken us, public space in Delhi has become a fragmented and unreal space, where nothing seems genuine or wholesome, and most such spaces are violently contested. Do you stay in a gated community yourself? Would you rather move out to places that don’t have these boundaries? I sought a gated community because I fear for the safety of my family. How do you react to the constant surveillance that we are being offered in order to be able to feel safe. As we talked to a lot of people they feel that they ought to increase the guards etc for an increased safe? I believe in the old saying that we are actually trapping ourselves, and the people we think are there for our safety and security are actually the people who prey on us. There was a incident in the Tahrir Square, where as the protest was on going the women also wanted a say in it, and said they ought to have a right. She was told ‘this is not the time’ and her opinions were restricted by the men. Considering the irony of the situation is a public space in a diverse country like India, a utopia? All societies have diversity. The difference between men and women is the most fundamental ‘diversity’. Public space is where we define our civility and our common ideals. It is therefore the only space where such conflicts can be dealt with. It is not ironic that the woman in Egypt was silenced. It is an indication that further struggle is required to further evolve the public space towards what you call a ‘utopia’ but I would call an ideal. Do you think there is any architectural manifestation of these expres-

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sions of disagreement? The complete breakdown of any consensus about out built environment is a sure sign that our cities do not represent any shared values but are clamorous spaces where the law of the jungle rules. Do you think the situation is really that alarming based on the fact that we are fine with compromised public spaces and hence a compromised right to express? If the society today is fine with that, what does it say about us? Modernity in India is still an ‘unfinished project’. Public space is all about modernity. We are in another stage of evolution of our modern society, and the fact that you are interested in this issue is a sign that an issue which has long been neglected will hopefully occupy our imaginations and our conscience. Vendor – (thela waalas, press waalas, UMT) Time and days when they set up their shop How clean do you keep the space around you (sense of belonging) Objection to mischievous activities (scared to express their objection or not) How safe do they feel on the road, what are the fears Do you have to pay any money to police, mcd to be there Homeless Do you have a home anywhere, if yes, why do you choose these streets more than that home Are you insecure living on the road; what are your insecurities. Do they feel any right over the roads/streets Transsexuals Are you insecure spending most part of you days on the road; what are your insecurities Do you ever interact to people other than work; do you ever feel the need to do so Do you vote Commuters Are you ever insecure while at work; what are your insecurities. What kind of locations do you avoid at night

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Canteen waala Do you ever go out of campus other than work Interaction to delhi people other than the ones available in college Do you ever need to interact to people outside college Security guards Are you ever insecure while at work; what are your insecurities. Have these gates and high boundary walls been able to stop theft.

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Context in a Contest

Presented on 1st November 2012 presented by Aishwarya Bharatkumar Anuj Mittal Shobitha Jacob Shruti Jalodia advisor Mr. Sandip Kumar Architect chairperson Mrs. Suparna Bhalla Architect

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n architectural work is always placed and hence, judged in a context. For it to be relevant or irrelevant, or to be somewhere in between, would depend on how well the ‘general situation’ has been recognized, understood and interpreted through design. Until recent times, architecture anywhere could be expected to reflect the local climate, resources and technology available. In other words, architecture was “of- the-place” or what we understand as vernacular or traditional. By this notion, architecture had acquired its unique temporal values making it sensitive to its environs. Building in context primarily meant to satisfy the climate, site and local culture/tradition with local resources and skilled labour. This naturally meant that architecture was a region-specific practice. However, that “good” architecture is from the land, by the land and of the land is a notion of the past. Looking at Fig. 3 and 4 , one can infer that each of these buildings are distinct and exhibit a strong local/ regional flavour.

Can these buildings be located? (Fig 5) They speak of an urban presFig. 1, Responses to Context ent and are perhaps even indicative of their function but what about (authors) place or time? We work in these places, we reside in them. For a majority of city dwellers like us, these seemingly anonymous buildings make up our lives.

Fig. 2, Judging an object in a particular situation or a setting (authors)

All these buildings seem to have nothing in common with each other and yet all of them exist today, maybe even in the same city or precinct! All these observations lead to the question “What is context today?”

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L. Fig. 3, Patwon ki haveli ,

Buildings look, feel and function the same whether in Manhattan, Jaisalmer (authors) Moscow or Mumbai. Has architecture evolved to a lowest common denominator that suits people across the world? R. Fig. 4, Padmanabhapuram Palace , Tamil Nadu (internet)

Architecture is no longer a stable reference of place identity. Global and mixed identities are the order of the day. The flow of people, trade and information has broken down physical boundaries of territory and ephemeral boundaries of culture. Is context irrelevant? The rapid change in our attitude and lifestyle has made us open to new explorative and futuristic forms that are timeless and command their own context. .How then, is context created? Fig. 5, L-R, Block Apartment, Korea; Housing Commision

This paper aims at understanding context in architecture as it unfolds Towers , Sydney; Apartement today. It questions its relevance or irrelevance in current times and Blocks , London; Crossway finally, provides a different outlook on the subject. Estate, London (internet)

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What is Context? Context is a setting or situation that influences the present. It consists of all the components that are not included in your work, but influence it all the same. In 1950, a young Robert Venturi declared that “its setting gives a building expression; its context is what gives a building its meaning.” (Sykes, 2010) We begin with a simple and intuitive listing of possible meanings of the term “context” in architecture. First, it would be the spatial context, which in architectural interpretation seems to be more customary. It could mean: a specific building seen in the context of other buildings (this mainly refers to the city); a specific building seen in the context of the surrounding landscape; a specific element of the building seen in the context of all the other elements of the building; the relationship between a building’s exterior and interior (This list is far from complete, of course). Such a context can be understood within the model of classical semantics, although the city in this case would appear as ‘simply a great architecture’ as it was thought to be by Leon Battista . Context could as well be non-spatial. the context of a period/style of buildings or signature style of the architect(they can stand apart both in space and time from the given object); the context of theories and concepts related to the building; the context of a certain lifestyle or forms of life etc. (Taurens) When the work is part of a bigger picture, considering its context is absolutely crucial. How is this piece of work going fit the big picture? How does it connect to everything around it? What’s the style of the context, and how does the work keep consistent with it? What is the context trying to achieve, and how can your work contribute? Lastly: what impact does your work have on the bigger picture? (Doronmeir, 2012) A dictionary definition of ‘context’ is ‘a general situation that explains

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why something happensâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. The very statement captures the importance of context in that it becomes the reason for the next series of events or happenings in the future. The future unfolds in relation to the present context set by the past. Context is, in essence dynamic. Context in architecture is a vast subject involving several parameters; some which are intangible and many of which are tangible. This paper attempts to explain these parameters in terms of instances or their significance.

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Among the components that constitute context, a few may be; physical form, socio-cultural, political, economical, climate and topography and Material and technology. Physical

Fig. 6, Creation on Context (authors)

The most obvious â&#x20AC;&#x153;formâ&#x20AC;? of context would be the physical reality of the world around us. A good example of how physical form has a direct impact on architecture would be the trend of high-rise cities to design their skylines. In Hong Kong, an entire stretch of 10 kms of vertical structures along Victoria Harbour is being studied in conjunction with the skyline view it provides as seen from Kowloon city located on the opposite side of the bay. In another example, the built may respond to a man-made physical

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surrounding by stepping down on one side to blend in with a lowrise neighbour. The physical context of any place is ever-changing such that it may difficult to spot any point of reference or an unchanging element that can help to define or map â&#x20AC;&#x153;contextâ&#x20AC;? at a specific point in time. Climate and Topography The form, the orientation of the building and materials must be used in harmony with the surroundings while maintaining the comfort levels of the user. Architectural solutions to environmental problems lie within the prowess of the architect: his decision to design a sustainable building or an exploitative one. Political Architecture can be seen as a product of politics. What gets built, how and where it gets built is subject to a host of laws, codes, standards and regulations that reflect the interests of political powers and pressure groups. The image of a city is affected by the political systems and policies in place. Political issues also have a direct influence on the economy and hence on the funding of a project. Socio-cultural Society keeps evolving and influences built form and spaces. While the act of socializing is basic and intuitive, it has taken on a new meaning in recent times. Networking has become fluid and dynamic with the advent of the internet and has lent every individual parallel identities and mixed social habits. Culture has been defined or set differently in various periods of time and is an ever-evolving parameter.

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Materials and technology Materials and technology is one of the prime factors that shape the architecture of any place. Previously, the architecture of a place was heavily dependent on local materials and local construction techniques. However today, architecture is an expression of technological advancement and a diverse interplay of materials. Economical “Everything comes at a price. Some just cost more than the others.” (Brom, 2009, p. 43) Cost and profit govern every action and transaction. Buildings are evaluated not just on their own physical characteristics but also based on the land value of the site and its context. Building class, type and form are dictated as much by economics as they are by their design programme. These components of context are in a constant state of play as different global forces change the dynamics time and again. Architecture has undergone continual change from time immemorial but these changes have multiplied during the twentieth century. A plethora of styles, trends and approaches have come and gone. However, as Mies van der Rohe stated: ‘one cannot have a new architecture every Monday morning’. We have reached a position where we can identify certain characteristics of new architecture, but there does not exist as yet any leading, dominant architecture. We may appreciate the position that we have reached and now we must sit back and wait to see where further development will lead us. (Sebestyen, 2003, p. 156)

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The parameters of context are constantly affected by various forces which keep shifting the balance and hence, our understanding of context. The most powerful of these forces in recent times are discussed below: Industrialization, Urbanization and Globalization Since its beginnings in the 1800â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, industrialization is often cited as the single most important development affecting architecture in the modern world. The harnessing of coal and steam energy combined with new mechanized technologies and industrial materials, especially iron, steel and glass, brought sweeping changes throughout the fabric of society Architects started to realize the importance of modern machine technologies. The standardization, mass-production, and overall industrialization of architectural construction became one of the avant-gardeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s foremost preoccupations. (Wolfe, 2009) Today, almost every building relies on graded concrete or standard sized glass panels or flush wooden doors from a catalogue which are all components of a context changed by industrialization. From factory workers to industrial barons, everyone required innovative engineering and design solutions, mostly within rapidly evolving urban settings. Urbanization is thus, closely linked to modernisation and industrialisation. It is the physical growth of urban areas as a result of rural migration and even suburban concentration into cities. (Wikipedia, 2012) However, housing this influx of population into the cities becomes a major concern.

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With the increasing density of people in cities, stacking up seems to be the only viable option despite arguments of scale and sustainability countering it. At the height of modernism, the phenomenon of globalization began. Modernism had so obliterated traditional architecture that it came to be described as simply “modern”. (Adam, 2008, p. 2) Modernism began as a north-Atlantic cultural phenomenon but with the help of globalisation, it conquered the earth. In 1919 Walter Gropius said: “One day there will be a worldview, and then there will also be its sign, its crystal – architecture.” Globalisation is the most recent tidal wave to have hit the shores of civilization Globalization is a new world order. We do not know its outcome or have a full picture of its extent as we are still in the midst of it. This series of social, political and economic changes has erased boundaries and unified people of different cultures and lifestyles into a global bubble. (Conrads, 1971, p. 47) Most countries are swept up by the tide of the global economy, creating a new context that demands a new brand of architecture. The principal building types identified with key aspects of globalisation – the corporate office, the airport, the international hotel and the shopping mall – provided a clear symbolic link with the engines of global capital expansion. (Adam, 2008, p. 2) The glass-walled office block has become the Coca-Cola of architecture in terms of its branding, widespread existence and what it signifies. Now, without a signage or a licence registration plate in sight, it is often impossible to identify the global location of almost any city. Rem Koolhass, extols the virtues of generic architecture as symptomatic of globalisation’s neutralisation of difference. While critics of globalization view urban sprawl as the general loss of local identity and connection to a place, for him it is an opportunity for free invention and fantasy free from nostalgia or provincial habit. (Owen G. , 2009, p. 27) While the regional has slowly dissolved into the global, it has also mushroomed in the most unexpected of places. A Hindu temple in Kentucky or China Town in Los Angeles is completely disorienting;

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migration being the sole reason behind this. Migrants undergo the process of de-territorialisation and re-territorialisation. A part of the migrant's identity gets lost, and after that with architecture as a tool, they try to re-establish themselves socially, culturally and emotionally in the new place. This results in various architectural hybrids. (Cairns, 2004, p. 18) Star-chitecture, Media and Consumerism â&#x20AC;&#x153;New York in the 30s, Malaysia in the 90s and China today all have used tall buildings to showcase their countries to the world, We want these buildings to show to the world what India can do. â&#x20AC;&#x153; (Contractor, 2005) Globalisation has affected building typology too. The rising global trend of the sky scrapers has become an epidemic since the early skyscraper boom that took place in North America and has now reached Asia. Globalised commercial architecture has developed a symbiotic relationship with a new breed of global star architects. More than nations, cities now compete to attract global investment and tourism; they seek brand differentiation and symbolic modernity. Media has influenced a ready consumerist society into playing the game. Star architects are now brands and the commissioning of their public buildings is an established marketing technique. (Adam, 2008, p. 3) The global architect today addresses a context which is larger, timeless and cannot rely on any detailed study of local culture as it is expected to be an iconic global product. Take for example the digitally produced speedy, mobile, malleable forms like those of Frank Gehry/Zaha Hadid and Wal-Mart. It is their autonomy, exuberance, weightlessness, fluidity and freedom that enhance a host of forward looking possibilities. Wal-Marts operations demonstrate the fundamental connections between all three post-industrial landscapes. The Gehry/Wal-Mart examples reveal the contradictions between the promised post-industrialised utopian society to a more common reality. This culture is dominated by private corporations and their goals, individualism in the form of free mar-

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kets, and consumerism (Owen G. , 2009, p. 20) The competitive marketing of these buildings has set up an upward demand spiral. Out of the work of the star architects, design types and styles emerge and become identified with successful cities. Just like any other field which involves a consumer and a provider, architecture also has become an object to be consumed and is thus driven by consumer choice From selling a brand image for a fast-food outlet, to the image of an entire nation, consumerism has successfully taken over the globe. Globalisation itself is, however, more complex than the simple expansion of Western capital or the spread of products, culture and style. We should not be surprised at tendencies to globalize architecture since media has enabled architects to do that by providing a vast global information pool. With fabulous photographs, drawings in slick magazines, professional journals and other media, architects can scan and span the globe. Climate change With the rising demands from a consumerist society, the pressure on the building sector is tremendous and has a direct, negative impact on our environment. Even our problems are now unified at a global level. Buildings account for about 15 percent of the 30.4 million tons of carbon released into the atmosphere. (Karyono, 2011) Sustainable buildings with good design principles and creative ideas for resource management are the need of the hour. Green buildings are also on the rise and in many cases have become a positive marketing strategy to soothe a dying conscience. Green ratings and certificates add value to the design of a building in the eyes of the conscious consumer, relieved builder and righteous architect. Alternatively, on smaller scale, energy conscious architects choose to design using a mix of the vernacular and modern technology as a movement parallel to the mass consciousness.

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Case Studies

A melting pot of buildings adorns our landscapes; completing and complementing each other at times while clashing and contrasting at other times. Ethnic enclaves Over the years, ethnic enclaves have seamlessly weaved into the urban fabric. It is a physical space with high ethnic concentration. Examples of architecture by migrants can been seen all over the world, including Cuban catholic shrines in Miami’s Little Havana, Vietnamese market gardens in inner-city Melbourne, Bangladeshi mosque within Georgian urban fabric of London. The most prominent example perhaps is china town: “...with its restaurants, emporias, laundries, ancestor’s shrines, sweetshops and other associated architectural clichés (Lin, 1998, 9)-so ubiquitous that they are now stock elements of any multicultural inclined urban planning strategy and municipal tourist promotion campaign seeking to capitalize on the local marks of distinction.” (Cairns, 2004, p. 18) China Town in San Francisco may seem completely out of context but it is undeniable that it is responding to very strong forces- migration, and later consumerism. Chinese immigrants started arriving in San Francisco in the mid1800s. Many came to escape China’s uncertain economic conditions, attracted by the Gold Rush. Their increasing population changed the socio-cultural context of the place. Today, the same China Town is in a place where only a quarter of the population is Chinese, a major chunk of the city’s revenue comes from the place and the mayor of the city belongs to the same ethnicity. (Wikipedia, 2012) China Town is in context. A similar example of an ethnic enclave is the Hindu temple in Pittsburgh metropolitan area where 14,500 people are Asian-Indian as per

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2010 census. (Nunna, 1995) The Temple provides a place for Hindus to worship in traditional style and provides religious, humanitarian, cultural and educational needs of the people. The high rise The high-rise apartment in Hong Kong, or Mercury Tower in Moscow or Burj Khalifa in Dubai or any other skyscraper in the world is part of a growing trend. Today in Mumbai, when land is expensive and space is reducing rapidly, sky-scrapers are on the rise. Besides the financial advantage of greater density per square foot of real estate that skyscrapers offer, they create image and advertising for corporations. Besides providing a landmark for the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s skyline, they became part of the urban fabric. World One is a 125 floor residential skyscraper under construction in Upper Worli, Mumbai. Mumbai is transforming its skyline keeping pace with the world trends in urbanization. Vertical cities should also be explored in this regard. The Shard in London is about the growth of the city from inside by implosion and the intensification of life in the city. One of the tallest mixed developments, it is not competing to be the tallest rather responding to todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s needs and aspirations. The need to respond to a context which is economy based and is driven by consumerist society. The Bilbao effect An example to a response to re-inventing the context would be Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. The Bilbao museum is not simply an iconic building; this was one answer in a quest to address a number of serious problems the Basque country was facing. Making it a signature building and being part of the Guggenheim foundation, it attracts thousands of tourists. The museum, though only the icing on the cake faced strong opposition from the public, due to its high costs, however it was able to regain the expenses within 7years after its completion. It has brought hope to citizens and city officials and has united political parties, trade unions and civic associations in a gigantic urban regeneration.

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This project was about highly costly public investments that must generate either a clear social or economic return on investment. This was a very risky project, but it is on the right track to being worth the huge risk and investment. In the quest to re-activate the economy the project rightfully re-invented the context. (Gil, 2011) Homogenization of buildings Architecture has always had two seemingly contradictory aspects: a local or domestic one and an international or global one. The current nomadic lifestyle of people has given way to a set of buildings that look and behave the same way without any notion of place or time. The budget hotels spread across the globe, would speak of similar comforts and living spaces and sometimes similar rates, they become reliable, affordable, and strangely familiar in an unknown territory. A traveller could book into one of the Ibis hotel chains and be assured of the standards and services. Identification of architectural trends has been rendered more complicated by the tremendous diversification of functional requirements, a standardised, mass produced or modular system of living space may be preferred today; this resulting in a strange homogenisation of the world. Going green With the environment and climate change becoming predominant concerns worldwide, Indian companies are contributing their mite by having buildings constructed on the principles of ecological balance and energy conservation. Well-known companies like Wipro, ITC, 3C’s and many others are working on “green buildings” in industrial zones of the (NCR) like Noida and Gurgaon. Green Boulevard is the World’s Largest Platinum rated LEED certified Green Building from USGBC in Shell & Core Category. The building is a multi-tenant project that is based on the concept of creating a congenial campus like environment, where every tenant can share common areas and facilities. (Bhardawaj, 2009, p. 110)

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Fig. 7, Diagram showing the relation between the components, forces and the results (authors)

Another response is the METI School in Bangladesh, it shows how new and refreshing local identity can be achieved by utilising the immediate and the readily available. Volunteer German architects Anna Heringer and Eike Roswag developed the design concept by considering local cultural, economic and ecological aspects. Elegantly fusing local knowledge, renewable materials and new construction techniques, the project maintains a local identity while embracing modernity in both its form and purpose. (Kriscenski, 2007)

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Fig. 8, the three dimensions in context ; Exclusive , Deliberate Democracy ans the sum of all (MAS Context issue 8 modified by authors)

Context in three dimensions From the arguments and case studies listed above it may be inferred that the term ‘context’ needs to be understood holistically. Probably the conflict that architects face is to do with relying heavily on the ‘geographical / spatial’ interpretation of context - arguably so ingrained in the training process. However, context today can be explained in three dimensions. The first dimension is what has always been known and recognized to form the sphere of architecture. Every region has its unique flavours and hence, a context that is inimitable. Buildings respond to the nuances of a climatic and physical fabric that is definite in time and space. This may be termed as the exclusive context. The second dimension arises as a result of the conflict and contradiction that arises from the advent of the new forces; globalization, consumerism and all the others. In the search for common ground amongst a truly chaotic environment of global culture, economy, politics and market forces, architecture must be homogenized. One size must fit all. This context offers a single compromised solution agreeable to all; a deliberate democracy. The third and last dimension accommodates everyone’s needs and wants in a global sphere that is timeless and even futuristic in its aspirations. It celebrates the difference and provides multiple solutions. It is the sum of all, a global context. Context can only be understood as the union of three and cannot be “read “in isolation. Thus, when a building is judged in its context, all the dimensions must be considered equally. In a world of globalization, much of the ‘context’ arises from the second and third dimensions where free capital and technology govern the market and minds of people. The economic context of much of the new development in cities

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around the capitalist world has to do with the ‘capital’ that floats around in search of investment opportunities. Piggy backing the capital is the ‘creative’ working class - who keep migrating to where the money is. (It was Detroit a few years ago, and it is Shanghai today). It is this technology and capital driven context that tends to paint all the different geographical contexts in shades of a common colour! In the face of this global economy, local nuances prove a feeble opponent to the mass acceptance of a common culture that is truly inclusive in its outlook. Iconic, monotonous, green and vernacular are all placed on an equal stand and judged by a common context. Context today, is everything and everything is in context

Fig. 9, the summation of the three dimensions for a better understanding of the term context (MAS Context issue 8 modified by authors)

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We would like to thank our guide, Mr.Sandip Kumar, for constant support and ceaseless motivation. His enthusiasm was infectious and his inputs invaluable. We are thankful to Mrs. Suparna Bhalla, principal architect of Abaxial, for chairing our seminar and offering constructive comments. We thank Joseph Van Der Steen, Abhiram Sharma and Kavita for suggesting reading material and engaging us in thoughtful discussion. Our friends and peers have accompanied us on this exercise and made it a colourful venture. We thank them for their presence and encouragement.

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Works Cited

Adam, R. (2008). Globalisation and Architecture. Architectural Review. Bhardawaj, V. (2009, feb). Green Boulevard NOIDA. Construction World, p. 110. Brom, G. (2009). The child Thief. HarperCollins. Cairns, S. (2004). Drifting: Architecture and Migrancy. London: Routledge. Conrads, U. (1971). Programs and Manifestoes on 20Th-Century Architecture. Massachusetts: MIT. Contractor, H. (2005, 10 1). Reality unchecked in India. (P. Bhardwaj, Interviewer) Doronmeir. (2012, 07 6). The mechanics of inspiration. Retrieved from The mechanics of inspiration: http://www.mechanics-of-inspiration. com/context/ Gil, I. (2011, 10). More than a Museum. Retrieved 9 14, 2012, from MAS Context: more-than-a-museum/ Karyono, T. H. (2011, 11 5). Global warming and green architecture. The Jakarta Post. Koolhass, R. (1998). The Generic City. Ibid. Kriscenski, A. (2007, 06 09). Retrieved 11 1, 2012, from Inhabitat: Nunna, N. G. (1995). Sri Venkateswara Temple. Retrieved from http:// Owen, G. (2009). Architecture, Ethics and Globalisation. London and New York: Routledge. Owen, G. (Ed.). (2009). Architecture, Ethics and Globalization. New York: Routledge. Sebestyen, G. (2003). New Architecture and Technology. Burlington: MA: Architectural Press.

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Sykes, A. K. (2010, 4 29). The Context of Architectural Context. Retrieved 23 20127, from Architecture in Context: Tiger Business Development Inc. (2002). History. Retrieved 12 10, 2012, from China Town San Francisco: Wikipedia. (2012, 12 7). Chinatown, San Francisco. Retrieved 12 2012, 10, from Wikipedia:,_San_ Francisco Wikipedia. (2012, 12 4). Urbanization. Retrieved 12 10, 2012, from Wikipedia: Wolfe, R. (2009, September). Industrialism and the Genesis of Modern Architecture. Retrieved from The Charnel-House: http://rosswolfe.

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Responsive Architecture. (2008). Newman-Morris. Adam, R. (2008). Globalisation and Architecture. Architectural Review, 2. B.Setiawan, A. (2010). Modernity of Architecture, Relation to context. Geogia Tech. University. Bhabha, H. K. (1998). Architecture and Thought. Aga Khan Award for Architecture 10th Cycle, 4,6. Budiyato, Y. (2008). Princeton University. Retrieved Augest 15, 2012, from Architecture + Consumerism: infographics/starbucks.html Brom, G. (2009). The child Thief. HarperCollins. Contractor, H. (2005, 10 1). Reality unchecked in India. (P. Bhardwaj, Interviewer) Cairns, S. (2004). Drifting: Architecture and Migrancy. London: Routledge. Canizaro, V. (2007). Architectural Regionalism. Chase, J. (1991). The role of consumerism in American Architecture. Journal of Architectural Education, 211. Doronmeir. (2012, July 6). Retrieved July 15, 2012, from The mechanics of inspiration-blog: context/ Elmer, F. (2009, September 26). Architectural context. Retrieved from Economic Change and Craft: index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=53:economic-change-and-craft Genco Berkin, I. F. (2008). The essence of Architecture as a Territorial Entity. Istanbul- Turkey. Gil, I. (2011, 10). More than a Museum. Retrieved 9 14, 2012, from MAS Context: more-than-a-museum/

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Glassie, H. (1990). Architects, Vernacular Traditions and Society. Bloomington, U.S.A.: TSDR VOL 1. Hearn, M. (1940). Ideas that shaped buildings. Karyono, T. H. (2011, 11 5). Global warming and green architecture. The Jakarta Post. Koolhass, R. (1998, April 28). “The Generic City”. Ibid. Kriscenski, A. (2007, 06 09). Retrieved 11 1, 2012, from Inhabitat: McNeill, D. (2009). The Global Architect. New York: Routledge. Gil, Iker (2011), More than a museum, MAS Context Issue 11, MAS Studio Owen, G. (Ed.). (2009). Architecture, Ethics and Globalization. New York: Routledge. Pallasmaa, J. (2012). Eyes of the skin. Wiley Publishers. Pasztor, E. K. (2003). Media and Architecture. Retrieved 08 09, 2012, from perika.epiteszforum: Richardson, V. (2011). New Vernacular Architecture. Retrieved August 1, 2012, from Architecture Week: http://www.architectureweek. com/2002/0605/design_1-2.html Saarinen, E. (1985). The Search For Form In Art And Architecture, p19. New York: Dover Publications Inc. Sebestyen, G. (2003). New Architecture and Technology. Burlington: MA: Architectural Press. Sen, D. E. (n.d.). A Study on Façade Organization in the Context of Architectural Continuity from Past to Future in the Residential Scale. Sykes, A. K. (2010, 4 29). The Context of Architectural Context. Retrieved 23 20127, from Architecture in Context:

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Taurens, J. (n.d.). Tiger Business Development Inc. (2002). History. Retrieved 12 10, 2012, from China Town San Francisco: Zumthor, P. (2007). Thinking Architecture. Wikipedia. (2012, 12 7). Chinatown, San Francisco. Retrieved 12 2012, 10, from Wikipedia:,_San_ Francisco Wikipedia. (2012, 12 4). Urbanization. Retrieved 12 10, 2012, from Wikipedia:

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Walls That Talk

Presented on 1st November 2012 presented by Priyanshi Shukla Saudamini Chattopadhyay Snigdha V. Ratnakiran advisor Arpita Dayal Architect

chairperson Prof. Ranjit Mitra resource persons Prof. Ranjit Mitra

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top and Think….

What if all the houses became really private, implying the occupant sealed-off from the rest of the world? What if there was a long end-less road, with high walls on both sides and you could never get-off your car on that road because there were no gates, doors, even windows leading from it? What if you ever wanted to reach a destination, but there was no path leading to it? WHAT IF….? Crazy, right?? You must be thinking, why would anyone in their right minds, imagine such things. Surely, there is no impending environmental danger of all the gates, doors and windows getting blocked in the future because of global warming.

Well folks, please breathe now, because there is no such danger. And you are right, that no one thinks of the above mentioned ridiculous scenarios, because no one needs to worry about it, ever. This phenomenon we are about to introduce, we encounter everyday and everywhere but barely notice, just like breathing. And it is the one thing lacking from all the above-mentioned ‘What if‘ situations- Porosity. Its occurrence enables us to make transitions between different spaces. It is the way to arrive at our destinations, and the fun part in all our travels. It is the reason for playful environments, but also the reason for chaos. It is responsible for safety, but also for intrusion. There are various ways in which it enriches our life’s experiences. This is the basic communication channel, the portal of interaction. And this is the way the city interacts with us, its way of talking. But because of its omni-presence, we seldom stop to appreciate it, or give it chance to make a difference in our plans for the betterment of our city. As the coming generation of makers of the new city, let us take this opportunity to fill the gaps… or rather, just take a peek though them. Let us take this incredible journey to rediscover our city through porous walls and hear what these have to say…

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Walls that Talk


alls do not contain, they bestow.” (Stacy Alaimo)

Walls symbolize division of spaces, segregation of functions, enclosure and rigidity. While separating walls also connect two spaces by marking the interface between them; the boundary is the amalgamation of the characteristics of both the spaces. This seminar is an attempt to understand the dynamics of this interface and to realize the potential associated with transition spaces and how it can be used to create a vibrant environment for the users. Porosity: The state or quality of a surface being penetrable by a different medium (Webster’s dictionary): It is the process with which the separating medium allows other media to mix and form association. Water seeps into the ground replenishing its fertility, the atmosphere filters sunlight responsible for life, porosity is a common and necessary phenomenon in nature. Continuity of life depends upon the exchange taking place between different media and porosity is one of the ways it is facilitated.

Fig.1, Diagrammatic representation (authors)

Thus a living breathing city cannot be devoid of it. “Porosity may be considered as an experience of urban life, as it loosens the rigidity of the borders which are created to reserve strict social and temporal order.” (Stavrides, 2006)

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The three major elements in porosity are1. Pore: the medium which allows transition between two different spatial spheres 2. Boundary: separating medium between two spaces where â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;transitionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; takes place. When a user moves from one medium to another, the path across the boundary at a pore. 3. Edges: While discussing the quality of a pore, the interface where the pore itself interacts with the boundary, becomes important. Thus, the role of the edge comes into play.

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Porosity in Architecture


orosity enhances the quality of experience of a space. The connectivity/ accessibility/ interaction offered by porous boundaries add interest. The voids, gaps and in-between spaces contribute to porosity and in turn to the character of a designed space. A pore exists within a boundary between a source and destination. This is an attempt to create a porosity model which can be replicated at various scales.


A door enables transition between a room and the corridor. Here the source and destination are the room and the corridor; the boundary is the wall and the pore is the door. If one were to use the corridor as a medium to get to another room then the corridor acts as the pore and the boundary is the space separating the two rooms. This model can be expanded to identify a greater variety of pores. In a neighborhood, some elements, like porticos, porches, balconies, courtyards, pavements, park edges, retail strips, etc.; and at city level, roads, pathways, transit corridors, streets, walkways, bridges, tunnels, etc. can all be viewed with the same perspective. A city may have a high degree of porosity but what gives it more character or in the words of Kevin Lynch â&#x20AC;&#x153;makes it more legibleâ&#x20AC;?, is the quality of these pores. Hence it is imperative to talk of both the quantitative as well as the qualitative aspects of porosity. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the quality of the pores that make a place livelier and enhances the experience of the user. (Lynch, 1960)

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Types of Porosity


t a user level, porosity is classified on the basis of stimulation excited by the pores.

Visual porosity The situation where the user is able to connect to a different environment only visually while physically only experiencing the environment in which he/she is placed is visual porosity. The common elements of this kind of porosity or pores are windows, fenestrations, glazing, etc.(Ellin, 2006)(Dayal, 2006) Physical porosity Here the pore allows two environments to freely interact and the user can choose the environment that he/she wishes to experience. The elements of this kind of porosity vary with scale of the space being considered and can vary from a doorway at user level to a public plaza at the city level. (Dayal, 2006) Perceptual porosity The perception of change in the environment achieved without physical boundaries between two environments defines perceptual porosity. It can be induced by change in color, texture, construction material, difference in level, variation in scale and/or form of spaces, etc. The simplest example is a porch which clearly demarcates the boundary of interior and exterior. The perception of physical porosity can be different for different users. For example, a public building porous to all may not be perceived so by street peddlers and beggars. (Dayal, 2006)

Fig.3, Types of Porosity Source: Integral Urbanism, Nan Ellin

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Temporal Porosity Temporal porosity occurs when a place transforms over the course of a day, a week, or year; also with changes in climate or season. Examples include parking lots, plazas, street frontage overtaken by outdoor restaurants; and places that are cafĂŠs or retail by day and performance space or clubs at night.(Ellin, 2006)

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Porosity in Popular Theories


orosity is a relatively new addition to architectural terminology. Several noted authors and architects have theorized, explored, and built architectural models upon this subject. Some of them being: Nan Ellin “A translucent urbanism enhances our experience of the city. It accomplishes this through porosity, an urban condition that allows some seepage but not free flow.” (Ellin, 2006) The ideology of Nan Ellin represents a shift from emphasizing isolated objects and separating functions to considering larger contexts and multifunctional places. At the borders, which are primarily identified as the site of interaction, Ellin calls for interventions that contribute to activating places by making connections and caring for neglected or abandoned “in-between” spaces or “no-man’s lands”. Richard Goodwin “Porosity is an assessment of the way in which the public and the private realms can be made to mesh at an urban scale.” (Goodwin, 2011) Richard Goodwin has identified public places beyond the usual realms of public space and used porosity to activate empty and deserted left-over spaces. He emphasizes that the boundary for public space exists beyond the threshold of architecture and into the indeterminate zone of foyers, toilets and the access points to and between buildings. Walter Benjamin “As porous as this stone is the architecture. Building and action interpenetrate in the courtyards, arcades and stairways” (Benjamin, 2007) Walter Benjamin is impressed by two distinctive features of porosity: Improvisation and theatricality. He insists that porosity emerged mainly from the human nature to adapt; the ‘passion for improvisation… which demands that space and opportunity be preserved at any price’.

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Steven Holl Steven Holl has recognized the role of Porosity in enhancing the architectural and spiritual experience of a built environment. He examines how perception and the senses are intertwined with the material, space, and light of urban form. In his works he has explored concepts such as creating cities from pieces or edges; moving in and out of the spaces between built environments; inserting architectural elements into complex urban situations. Stavros Stavrides Stavrides in his book ‘Loose Space’ recognizes the potential contained in urban ‘thresholds’, the in-between left-over (loose) spaces between buildings. He questions the prevailing prejudices against waste spaces and infers that porosity gets imposed in these situations making them potential public spaces.

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Related theories Eyes on streets by Jane Jacobs “The sidewalk and street peace is public peace… Public peace is kept primarily by an intricate, almost unconscious, network of voluntary controls and standards among the people themselves- and enforced by people themselves” (Jacobs, 1961) Jane Jacobs suggests that it is the people more than police that keep the streets safe. The best security measure is to ensure natural surveillance of the streets, which is induced when different parts of a street are active during different parts of the day inviting onlookers from neighboring buildings. Anything out of the ordinary, including street crimes quickly comes into attention of a lot of onlookers and quick intervention follows. Active streets attract strangers, to ensure that the strangers remain as assets and not a threat to the public on the streets. However, a few benchmarks need to be set. There must be clear demarcation between public and private space. Spaces with confused ownership are often neglected and become soft spots for crime. Activities which engage both the residents and the visitors equally, sharing common grounds purposefully keep strangers in check. Stores and other public places, entertainment facilities and public places along the interfaces and edges encourage pedestrians to use the sidewalks, making the streets more active. The owners of these stores keep vandalism and anti-social activities, which are bad for their business, away from the streets which they face. Also, the activity generated by people indulging in these regular activities, itself is attraction enough for onlookers, the eyes on the streets. Play and Porosity by Quentin Stevens “Urbanism without a certain degree of cosmopolitanism is just a mass of completely unconnected, alienated strangers.” (Stevens, 2007) The interaction among diverse individuals is what gives a city its special character. Spontaneous social interaction, termed by Stevens as ‘play’ takes place in the public open spaces in a city. Stevens also talks about boundaries and how they can be a determinant of people’s actions. Boundaries of various kinds frame limits to human experience; but these limits are part of what get tested through play. Understanding the ways in which urban space both

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collects people together and separates them, how it shapes the arrangement of serious and frivolous activities and how it helps support particular activities is crucial for understanding what makes urban space playful. (Stevens, 2007) Interstitial Spaces by Chady S Bteich The growing number of neglected, residual spaces challenges the functioning of cities. These interstitial spaces fall between the familiar boundaries of urban planning and are often labeled as wastelands, characterized by an apparent void. The fact that urban cracks are not planned does not mean that they are empty. Urban cracks are conceptualized as in-between time spaces, an accumulation of disparate spatial experiences without a binding order, where form and void coincide. Boundary condition: The boundary offers a challenge to the users in the form of sudden changes in the environment. The users are forced to adapt quickly to the needs of the changing environment, psychologically and through natural stimuli. The dynamism of this space induces in its users, high tolerance and even inclination towards diversity of people and activities. Two spaces are to be separated by not a common plane but a common volume of space. This buffer space, which would be shared by adjacent volumes, is creation of an interface where characters of both the spaces are brought about, without harming the integrity of either. The thresholds thus created are naturally diverse, dynamic, and self-adjusting. People are drawn to urban thresholds because they are lively, unpredictable, and ultimately, sustainable. The Edge Effect by Cliff Moughtin Edges are two-dimensional linear elements where the function of pathway is of less importance than the role of boundary. Examples of boundaries are railway lines, canals, rivers, sea fronts and the vertical cliff face of a natural escarpment. Even the boundary of the shore line is not a complete barrier and is used as a connection between land and sea by fishermen, swimmers and pleasure boats. The subtle change of architectural style from one district to another is a common feature of the civilized city.(Moughtin, 1999)

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The edge of public space is a popular place for people to situate themselves during their leisure time, because it offers protection, while allowing controlled exposure to outside stimuli. Moughtin calls this the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;edge effectâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. People utilize edges and boundaries within spaces to regulate their level and type of engagement with strangers and establish a comfortable balance. (Moughtin, 1999)

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Porosity Mapping


orosity mapping brings out relationship between various users and usability of the place. The connections which help in continuous transition and the elements that generate activity and interest are picked out and their role in making a successful public interface is established. A rough guide for an acceptable level of permeability is a street layout with street blocks somewhere between one acre and one hectare in area. Such a layout would mean that street junctions would occur at centers of 70 to 100 m. The pattern of street blocks is therefore one measure of permeability and accessibility; it is also an indication of the degree of flexibility which the user has in moving round the area. The Propagators of Porosity

Fig.4, Taimoor Nagar, street between Gurudwara and SPA residential complex (authors)

Fig.5, Nodes identified in the area of study (authors)

Porosity study of a street in Taimoor nagar •

Nodes: “Nodes are the strategic spots into which an observer can enter, and which are the intensive foci to and from which one is travelling.” (Lynch, Image of the City, 1960). Nodes can be intersections, places of break in transportation; like stations, bus-stops, etc., a crossing or convergence of paths. Nodes affect the amount and quality of porosity of an area.

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Paths: paths are connectors and the media for transition. Connec- Fig.6, Pedestrian pathway tivity across traffic, between modes of public transportation and identified in the area of study over natural obstacles is important to ensure continuity, which is (authors) the ultimate achievement of porosity.

Scale of the space: The scale of a place is the variation in volume Fig.7, ‘Uncomfortable scale’ of the space enclosed by the surrounding built up area. Scale (authors) governs the comfort level of the user in the interface. The perfect scale succeeds in making the user comfortable and engaged. The scale of a building is relative to the location/ position of the user.

Solid-Void ratio: The ideal solid-void ratio changes with the scale of the place. At comfortable human scale the solid void ratio is ideally 1:1. Fig.8, Solid- void ratio (authors)

Edge treatment: edge treatment determines usability and the level of activity and interaction supported by the given place. It should guide the user about functioning of the spaces they bound. Visual connectivity, a green strip, retail shops lining, informal seating or interesting displays are examples of edge treatment.

Level of activity and amount of interaction: Another parameter that determines the quality of a space is the level of interaction it offers to its edges and surroundings.

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Fig.9, Constricted street in vicinity of the area of study. (authors)

Fig.10, Edges of the area of study (authors)

Fig.11, Private entry points (limited access) (authors)

Fig.12, Retail Edges (authors)

Fig.13, Gated entry (Semi Public entry) (authors)

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The quality of a pore is determined when these factors come togeth- Fig.14, Public gathering around er. For example, a landmark on any connector will augment the usage street vendors facilitated by a of the space. shady tree. (authors) Impacts of porosity Chhatra Road in Delhi Universityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s North Campus offers a good example to study the impact porosity has on the atmosphere of a place and its contribution to the success of the space. The Delhi University campus is much more to the city than a secluded centre for education. It is the place with which most youth of the city can identify themselves. The place facilitates conglomeration of youth from different backgrounds and provides a platform to various groups for sharing common interests. Fig.15,Chhatra Marg, Delhi First let us identify the contributors in porosity here.

University North Campus (authors)

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Fig.16,Nodes identified in the area of study (authors)

Fig.17,Paths (authors)

Fig.18, Retail areas, those along Chhatra Marg are mainly hawkers (authors)

The major nodes occur at the intersections. The traffic congestion deprives the intersections of much public activity. But the node which is located halfway between them is a pedestrian â&#x20AC;&#x201C;friendly zone designed to engage pedestrians. The wide path marking the interface between the institutions and Chhatra marg, includes a paved areas and a cycling path. Path edges allow visual connectivity and several informal entry points. Hawkers and vendors selling eateries are scattered all along the pavement. The institutions themselves have setbacks of at least 7 meters, which are covered with trees. Interaction: The seating space in the plaza, the park benches and seats, the conglomeration around a common tea stall or a vendor, all give the students the excuse to gather, meet new people and socialize.

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Eyes on the street: Natural surveillance is ensured on the streets. Almost no space is inaccessible to the public, diminishing the chances for anti-social activities. However the setbacks in the institutes and residential areas do leave the sidewalks unchecked during off-hours. The resident girls in the campus have admitted feeling unsafe on the same streets after dark.

L. Fig.19, Students in the Park and around retail (authors) R. Fig.20, Hawkers and vendors along Chhatra Marg (authors)

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Intervention to Design Idea


he current situation in Delhi for pedestrians is very traumatic. The major focus of all developmental schemes seems to be towards isolating large chunks of land with rigid boundaries. The boundary here is marked with pavements but they give no reason for a pedestrian to use them. Usually a blank wall is all that runs along a pavement. The setbacks that are made mandatory in the by-laws only serve in disconnecting the pedestrian from the built. The attempts at creating islands of shaded public places in the middle of roads have miserably failed because of complete isolation and lack of motive for public to use them.


The distances have become longer than they already were, for both vehicles and pedestrians. This has only resulted in increase of cars and multiplicity of existing problems. Of course there are ways in which porosity seeps in every routine designed to limit it. 1. Hawkers: Hawkers occupy only a small fragment of the circulation space on the pavements but give reason to the surrounding community to come out of their establishments and walk the pavement. In the institutional hub of Indraprastha Estate shops and kiosks are solely responsible for public activity on the pavements. 2. Kucchi boundary: barbed wire, fence, and hedge boundaries are easily morphed to create pores of transition. The colleges in Delhi University have their edges porous with wide pavement next to them, all owing to the numerous openings along the boundary edge. Had the boundaries been impenetrable the activity zone would have been missing.

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3. Home for the homeless: dead bound spaces and neglected spaces are almost always occupied by the homeless, and thus they are kept away from complete desertion. The neglected spaces under flyovers in Sarai Kale Khan, Rajendra Place along with many others are home to large groups of homeless people. 4. Visual linkages: Visual linkages will always be preferred over opaque blockages. In residential areas, they are most easily created and are the preferred kind of porosity. This ensures that both the streets and the residences are never un-scrutinized. 5. Posters, graffiti, street-art: these cannot qualify as porosity in physical terms, but on a perceptual level it is a mode of interaction; the media where socio-cultural spheres are interacting with the city. In fact the most un-porous places, dead-ends and nooks are the most loud and talkative places of the city. But can the city always rely on these chance incidents for an interactive public environment? In the long run, these are more of a hindrance to the surrounding than help. While interacting with the local public the problems became evident.

â&#x20AC;˘ Congestion: With time usage of a place changes and these Fig.22 changes affect the overall porosity of the area. In the case of Shahjahanabad, the influx of cars and rickshaws has made the place very chaotic. In South Extension the traffic congestion is adversely affecting the residents, and is a growing problem. Traffic jams, garbage heaps, clogged drains, constitute the new city life for the people here.

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• Intrusion: Cities are best experienced at eye-level and lower speeds. Nevertheless flyovers and the metro are a chance to prom¬ote visual interaction on an altitude. But at several places not much thought has been put to the intrusion in privacy they cause. Recently, a noted singer, opposed construction of flyover next to her residence on grounds of intrusion in her privacy. The residents on the edge of Nizamuddin flyover have shut off their balconies and the windows facing the flyover. • Encroachment: The hawkers and small unauthorized establishments provide some excitement in the monotonous and disconnected urban setting. But they soon attract the more of their kind, gradually leading to chaos and congestion. On Janpath, a small lane meant for public crossing has slowly converted into a mini-market completely blocking normal thoroughfare. • Periodic porosity: the regions with single land-use, become active only in fixed hours of a day. Evening hours in institutional & commercial areas and working day hours in residential areas are deserted and are deemed unsafe. Delhi university girls admitted that they feel unsafe on the streets after college hours. ITO residents share a similar story. • Perceived threats: The examples set by the failure of unintentional porosity instigate perceived threat. Vandalism, street crimes, uncontrollable crowds, etc. which may be outcome of a design flaw in a specific situation, inspire general negative perception towards strangers. Huge walls and fortifications are unnecessary developments as a reaction. So what is the solution? How can one achieve a successful model of a Porous space?

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Examples of successful Architectural Interventions Mizner Park, Boca Raton, Florida The mixed-use Mizner Park town centre demonstrates how suburban communities can create vital downtowns by redeveloping abandoned shopping centres. The failed shopping mall was replaced by a 28.7-acre mixed-use project that includes 272 homes, a public promenade and park, retail shops and restaurants, 262,000 square feet of office space, a movie theatre and a museum. A large, tree-lined central boulevard encourages walking and cruising, creating an unhurried environment for shopping and socializing. It has become the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most popular community meeting place and the new centre of Boca Raton. While roughly half of the project is a park located in the middle of a boulevard, high-density development in the remaining areas creates a vital community centre.

L. Fig.23, Boca Raton Mall, Florida 1974 (Moreno, 2010) R. Fig.24, Mizner Park, Florida, 1998 (Moreno, 2010)

The success of Mizner Park has sparked other cities in Florida to convert their under-performing shopping malls into new town centers. (Bohl, 2002)(Moreno M. , 2010) Belmar Village, Colorado

L. Fig.25, Mizner Parkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s main boulevard (Flickr)

Belmar Village is considered an exemplary mall redevelopment (Congress for the New Urbanism. 2005). Villa Italia was an existing dilapidating two story mall - 1,500 million square feet of built-up on 105 acres, housing approximately 140 stores inside. Apart from one grocery store in the north western corner, the mall super block has made way for existing suburban streets to be extended through the site to

C. Fig.26, The pedestrian plaza leading to the entrance of apartment (Flickr) R. Fig.27, Town homes oriented wide and shallow to hide a parking garage (Flickr)

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Fig.28,Belmar village, Colorado, 2012 (Moreno, 2010)

subdivide it into 23 smaller sized blocks. These vary in size between 50 and 200 metres long. There are two main public spaces, a large green intended as a quiet retreat for local residents, and a plaza for attracting larger audiences. The plaza is deliberately surrounded by buildings containing social functions including a bowling alley and dining areas. Like Mizner Park, there is a public-private partnership. All the buildings are owned by a developer, but the streets, sidewalks and parks are publicly owned and therefore truly public.

Much attention was given to the edges of large buildings. The cinema (in one of the central blocks) is fully wrapped (with a gap between for Fig.30 servicing) by mixed use buildings and a parking structure at its rear. The parking structure is lined at its base by many small artistsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; studios. Having mixed use buildings lining the edges of big box tenants allow developers to focus on the architecture of the entrance boundary only. (Steuteville, R. 2008)(Moreno M. , 2010) â&#x20AC;&#x192; Fig.29

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Embarcadero Freeway to Embarcadero Boulevard

L. Fig.31, Embarcadero Flyover, San Francisco, 1960

The Embarcadero Freeway was a double-decker viaduct built through the Embarcadero — San Francisco’s historic eastern waterfront erect- C. Fig.32, Embarcadero Flyoed in 1958 despite significant public resistance. ver, San Francisco, 2009 (http://www.preservenet. com/freeways/FreewaysEmbarcadero.html)

In 1989, a 7.1 earthquake struck the Bay Area which severely damaged many of its elevated highway structures. The freeway was demolished in 1991, and “instead of a shoreline cloaked in concrete, San Francisco savors the glory of a wide-open waterfront” San Francisco Chronicle. R.Fig 33, Embarcadero TransOctober 17 2004 formation The city rebuilt the Embarcadero as a tree-lined boulevard that blends alternative modes of transportation, including a pedestrian promenade, a bicycle corridor and a popular streetcar line that runs to tourist destinations. The open layout provides easy access to the buildings and has greatly enhanced the imagebility of the place. (Wikipedia) (Roy, 2009) In the Delhi MPD 2012, a hint of porosity can be felt in the following projects. Yamuna Riverfront Development, MPD 2012 To demonstrate a model for strategic and sustainable interventions in the Yamuna riverfront, the master plan design on the entire site proposes the introduction of recreational use in the form of cultural, sports and casual recreational landscape use to the proposed function by the Zonal Development Plan – “recreation and ghat”. The new Ghat as an Interface: A wide open concourse which may be used in multiple ways connects all the facilities. The cultural zone culminates in the development of the water edge with a modern in-

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Fig.34, Proposed redevelopment of Indraprastha Power Station (Morphogenesis)

terpretation of the traditional ghat with multiple uses to happen at different times. The reservoir for ritual bathing is designed as a pool separate from the Yamuna in order to create a tank which is safe and shallow, and more importantly has clean water filled with collected rain water.

Fig.35, The envisioned change of nallahs (Morphogenesis)

Fig.36,Envisioned Metro Precinct. (Morphogenesis)

Connectivity: The active sports areas are located along the metro bridge edge with direct access from the metro station. The existing rail tracks are proposed as the main link for this system which is viewed as a series of planted gardens to allow connectivity across the

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length of the river. It is also intended to be a zero-energy and zero Fig.37, The envisioned change discharge development. (Morphogenesis, Yamuna riverfront devel- of nallahs (Morphogenesis) opment Project, 2012) Nallah Revitalization Project, MPD 2012 Nallah revitalization project envisions revitalization along nallahs that criss-cross the national capital. The proposal is to use Delhiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s neglected nallah network to fundamentally transform the city. Through this project it is envisioned that these nallahs will enhance the social, cultural and transport (pedestrian and cycling) networks of the city. An Alternative Transport Network: walking/cycling paths on these nallahs provide commuters with last mile connectivity to public transport (buses and metro). People will be able to walk/cycle for short distances (and it will be an enjoyable experience). An Alternative Cultural Network: some of the nallahs are 700 years old and were built to provide water to Delhiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s old cities. Thus, many of the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s famous archaeological sites are situated on the nallahs network. Most major cultural venues in the city can be interconnected through this network like historical monuments, museums, theatres, stadiums, etc. to create a new walking network.(Morphogenesis, Nallah revitalization project, 2012)

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here are several benchmarks that need to be met in any successful design. A few have gained so much importance over time that they have started to govern the entire design process. Our study has made us understand the subtle ways in which porosity governs activity levels and the health of a public space, and how it is an important benchmark for any design. Porosity plays an important role in determining the success of a place. While it is essential for a good community environment, if unchecked, porosity can be potentially disastrous. Thus there is a need need to define optimum porosity.

The activity level in a place can be tested by porosity mapping. However, to ensure successful activity, porosity mapping has to be an integral part of the design process. Any new proposal should be tested for its impact on the porosity of the neighbouring regions. Delhi needs wholesome public environments where lines of differences can be blurred and open-minded exchange of culture can be facilitated; a space where surveillance is ensured naturally and differences are respected. Picturing this utopia, the image generated is one of a space which is owned by no-one while everyone has their own place in it. Instead of focusing solely on the functioning of two separate entities - interior & exterior and public & private, focus should also be on the functioning of the boundary that separates the two. This can be ensured by enhanced sensitivity towards porosity by architects and designers. Eco-sensitivity and sustainability have been the driving force for the new urban age in the past decade. After environmental concerns, socio-cultural concerns need to be addressed next. Sociological well-being of the city depends on public participation in all spheres of administration. People taking ownership of the city will be a natural reaction to what the city has to offer them. In fact, porosity needs to become the new approach, the new focus of design. Identifying and acknowledging porosity and its implementation in a strategic manner should become an integral process in all future design interventions.

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Q. [prof. Ranjit Mitra - Chairperson]. What is the role of Porosity in ensuring safety on the streets? A. A porous space invites engaging activities, which attracts public at large. Consistent public engagement ensures natural surveillance, that is, people present involuntarily keep watch of the area. Thus, it is observed that porous spaces are less prone to petty street crimes. Q. [Varun Bajaj]. How can the mindset of people be changed towards opaque and non-interactive boundaries which are currently seen as essential for safety? A. The change should be brought about in the planning and design practices. The upcoming developments should incorporate a porosity model. The user space should be pedestrian friendly and not car-friendly. The more engaging our side-walks become the more they will be frequented. Their success will trigger change in the mindset of public towards high boundary walls. Q. [Anuj Mittal]. How is safety through porosity ensured in real life? If I am on the road and get injured, nobody will bother to help me even though they can see the situation. Then what? A. Although such a situation is sorry and canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be helped to a great extent, but still just the fact that people are watching and witnessing the scene can create a difference. And had the situation been worse one can at least hope for readily available aid. That is the benefit that porosity can have. Q. [Kanika]. In places like Gurgaon, where there are several large scale developments taking place, huge boundary walls are a norm, and people would not feel safe without them. Then are the boundary walls still obsolete? A. The need for boundary walls in such situations cannot be denied. Gurgaon developmental and housing projects are usually located in sparsely populated areas and their security requirements are very high. However, the problem lies in planning and zoning of the area which is a direct result of the prevailing mindset among planning bodies, which needs to be changed. But having studied the nature of

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unintentional porosity it can be safely assumed that any rigid walled in places will eventually become porous. Q. [Beeravali Chetan]. The path connecting S.P.A. Architecture block to the Planning block, is completely lonely. What should be done about it? A. It is a common observation of all the students that the mentioned area is designed to be pedestrian friendly complete with trees and pavements and cycle-track, but is deserted most part of the day. However, since the vendors, eateries and kiosks have set up on the path, it is slowly becoming populated. Thus the neighbouring institutes which were earlier non-porous are becoming porous to the pathway.

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We would like to take this opportunity and thank everyone responsible for making this seminar successful. This project would have been incomplete without their invaluable contribution. First we want to thank the Co-ordinators Prof. Dr. Ranjana Mital and Prof. Jaya Kumar, for making this Seminar a reality. They have successfully steered us through the entire semester with their endless patience and abundant energy. We want to tell our Guide, Arpita Dayal, how grateful we are for her guidance and support. We thank her for opening our minds to this subject, for pushing us whenever we hit a dead end and for inspiring us to aspire for better and better results. We are also grateful to Prof. Ranjit Mitra for taking out time from his busy schedule and providing us with his valuable inputs. The discussion with him provided us with a better perspective on our topic. We want to thank the Director Prof. Chetan Vaidya, and the Dean of Studies Prof.(Dr.) Neelima Risbud for having faith in us and providing us with a dignified platform to showcase our Seminars. Last but not the least, we heartily thank Mohit Shrivastava, Arun Varghese P. and Vatsalya Sharma. This Seminar would have been incomplete without them.

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Works Cited

Alexander, C. (1977). A Pattern Language. New York: Oxford University Press. Alexander, C. (1979). The Timeless Way of Building. New York: Oxford University Press. Benjamin, A. (2007). Walter Benjamin and the Architecture of Modernity. New York: Reed Publications. Bohl, C. (2002). Place Making: Developing Town Centers, Main Streets, and Urban. Washington, D.C: Urban Land Institute. Bteich, C. S. (2006). Ambiguous Porosity â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Integrated Urban Gaps Identification and Experimenting Urban Connectivity. The 23rd Conference on Passive and Low Energy Architecture . Burner, A. R. (2005). Silver Medal Winner, Fruitvale Village, Oakland, California. Retrieved October 12, 2012, from www.brunerfoundation. org: Dayal, A. (2006). Architectural porosity. Architecture + Design , 48-51. Ellin, N. (2006). Integral Urbanism. New York: Routledge. Goodwin, R. (2011). Porosity: The Architecture of Invagination. Sydney: RMIT. Holl, S. (1999). Urbanisms Working with Doubt. New Jersey: Princeton Architectural Press. Jacobs, J. (1961). The Death and Life of Great American cities. London. Lynch, K. (1960). Image of the city. Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.: M.I.T. press. Lynch, K. (1960). Image of the City. Cambridge: MIT Press. Moreno, C. (2011). Thesis: Urban Porosity: Designing for the Modern Metropolis. Moreno, M. (2010). Porosity and Play. Victoria University of Wellington School of Architecture.

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Morphogenesis. (2012). Nallah revitalization project. Delhi. Morphogenesis. (2012). Yamuna riverfront development Project. Delhi. Moughtin, C. (1999). Urban Design Method And Technology. Woburn: Architectural Press. Roy, R. (2009). Letters to Chief Minister. Times of India . Sankalia, T. (2008). Kevin Lynch, Walter Benjamin and Interstitial Space in San Francisco. San Francisco: University of San Francisco. Stavrides, S. (2006). Loose Space: Possibility and Diversity in Public life. New York: Routledge. Steuteville, R. (2008). How to mitigate the impact of big box stores. Retrieved October 12, 2012, from http:// Stevens, Q. (2007). The Ludic City. New York: Routledge. Uchida, M. (2010). Urban Temporal Storage. Massachusetts: MIT. Virilio, P. (1986). The Overexposed City. New York: Urzon.

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Alexander, C. (1977). A Pattern Language. New York: Oxford University Press. Alexander, C. (1979). The Timeless Way of Building. New York: Oxford University Press. Benjamin, A. (2007). Walter Benjamin and the Architecture of Modernity. New York: Reed Publications. Bohl, C. (2002). Place Making: Developing Town Centers, Main Streets, and Urban. Washington, D.C: Urban Land Institute. Bteich, C. S. (2006). Ambiguous Porosity â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Integrated Urban Gaps Identification and Experimenting Urban Connectivity. The 23rd Conference on Passive and Low Energy Architecture . Burner, A. R. (2005). Silver Medal Winner, Fruitvale Village, Oakland, California. Retrieved October 12, 2012, from www.brunerfoundation. org: Dayal, A. (2006). Architectural porosity. Architecture + Design , 48-51. Ellin, N. (2006). Integral Urbanism. New York: Routledge. Goodwin, R. (2011). Porosity: The Architecture of Invagination. Sydney: RMIT. Holl, S. (1999). Urbanisms Working with Doubt. New Jersey: Princeton Architectural Press. Jacobs, J. (1961). The Death and Life of Great American cities. London. Lynch, K. (1960). Image of the city. Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.: M.I.T. press. Lynch, K. (1960). Image of the City. Cambridge: MIT Press. Moreno, C. (2011). Thesis: Urban Porosity: Designing for the Modern Metropolis. Moreno, M. (2010). Porosity and Play. Victoria University of Wellington School of Architecture.

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Morphogenesis. (2012). Nallah revitalization project. Delhi. Morphogenesis. (2012). Yamuna riverfront development Project. Delhi. Moughtin, C. (1999). Urban Design Method And Technology. Woburn: Architectural Press. Roy, R. (2009). Letters to Chief Minister. Times of India . Sankalia, T. (2008). Kevin Lynch, Walter Benjamin and Interstitial Space in San Francisco. San Francisco: University of San Francisco. Stavrides, S. (2006). Loose Space: Possibility and Diversity in Public life. New York: Routledge. Steuteville, R. (2008). How to mitigate the impact of big box stores. Retrieved October 12, 2012, from http:// Stevens, Q. (2007). The Ludic City. New York: Routledge. Uchida, M. (2010). Urban Temporal Storage. Massachusetts: MIT. Virilio, P. (1986). The Overexposed City. New York: Urzon.

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Veni Vedi Vici

Presented on 2nd November 2012 presented by Ankit Sampatram Kabilan Sathyamurthy Navaneethakrishnan Nikit Deshlahra advisor Prof. Sambuddha Sen Architect chairperson Prof. Ranjit Sabhiki Architect guest of honour Prof. Malay Chatterjee Architect resource persons Prof. Ram Sharma Ar. Sudipto Ghosh, S.Ghosh & Associates Ar. Saurabh Gupta, archohm consults private limited Ar. Anne Feensrta, AFIR Architects Prof. Anil Dewan

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rchitecture is a slow profession; buildings may take a few months to several years to be realised after they are conceptualised. Thus it takes time for a new architectural idea to be accepted as part of the mainstream. In the time it takes for a building to be built, become successful and inspire a change, the smartphone would undergo several iterations. Iterations in architecture happen in different ways as movements, trends and styles. Competitions have helped catalyse change in architecture as they provided a competitive space similar to the consumer market, where only the best survive. Thus, architectural competitions have become an integral part of our profession as they have challenged architects to push the boundaries of their imaginations and yet manage to generate designs that can be realised. This paper aims at exploring architectural competitions, the problems that surround them and how they have been heralds for change throughout architectural history. Formally organised architectural competitions date back to the Renaissance. A famous early example is the competition for the dome of the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence. The dome went on to become one of the most important Renaissance monuments known not only for its aesthetic achievement but also for the sense of pride that it instilled among the Florentine population for their own city. Competitions can thus be game changers; setting new standards, challenging pre-existing notions and acting as catalysts to change existing paradigms.

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t is important to understand fully the processes, fallibilities and possibilities of architectural competitions, as an organized system is essential in order to maintain balance and organise a successful competition. During early days it was quite common for inexperienced juries to be swayed by pretty, watercolour pictures, instead of basing their assessment on the architectural merits of a design. Also, there were few rules governing the payment of prize money, which meant that architects seldom gained anything more than experience from their participation in competitions. Various architectural bodies around the world have specific sets of guidelines for competitions so as to organize them with ease by detailing methods and policies that maintaina healthy balance between the client and the competitors. Any architectural body recognizes an architectural competition as a method of obtaining a design solution to a sponsor’s requirements in a manner that is fair and equitable to all stakeholders. (Council of Architecture, 2012) Various guidelines are often based on common principles such as: • Interest in creating progressive architecture through competitions. • The project brief is the most vital document of the competition, and the success of the competition depends on its comprehensiveness. • The judging panel has to be eminent, competent, possess integrity and preferably be neutral. • Different competitions are floated for different ends. It is imperative to ensure the right kind is organised. • Copyright of entries should remain with the designers, although the promoters may use certain material for publication and exhibition with proper permission. • There should be a commitment to a public exhibition of at least the short-listed candidates. There are a wide variety of competitions that a promoter gets to conduct for any project depending on the requirements. At times these types of competitions may also be executed in combinations. The program should identify what kind of competition is being held. It should also describe the design procedure: • One-stage • Two-stage Every competition follows a specific process according to the type

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Project Competition

Idea Competition Oslo Opera House

Water Cube

Open Competition

Prototype Competition

Evolo Skyscraper Competition

Rajaswa Bhawan

Limited Competition

Developer Competition

Tree House Competition

City Hall, The Hague

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building

Invited Competition

IT Hub Competition Entry

Student Competition

of competition and the guidelines that it is based upon. Certain Fig.1, common procedures are as follows:

Different types of Architectural Competitions

Design competitions can be used for a wide array of design



Public Exhibition

Project Execution

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opportunities: houses, office buildings, parks, squares, libraries, schools, apartments for the elderly, etc. It is the promoter who must determine if it is in a project’s best interests to hold a competition. Certain criteria to determine when a competition is appropriate: • • • • •

The project requires a wide degree of design exploration. The project is on an important or unusual site. It may be located in an historical area, or the site itself may be unusual in location, terrain, vegetation or visual impact. The project features a type of structure that deserves a fresh examination by the design community. The project will have a great beneficial influence on subsequent design work. The project will benefit from the additional public interest a competition

Restrictive as these rules may seem, they exist to ensure that competitions remain free and fair. A well conducted competition can go beyond just creating a good design.

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Benefits of Holding Competitions Public Involvement


y promoting a competition, the client makes a public demonstration that he/she cares about Architecture, and can take legitimate pride in his/her determination to find the best architect and the best design possible. (Council of Architecture, 2008) Media attention on such events can generate a buzz around it, profiting the promoter, the architects involved and the public. This coverage can help involve them in debates that may otherwise be restricted to the intelligentsia, leading to citizen empowerment, increasing social capital and promoting a sense of community.

Helsinki Central Library Competition

The International Architecture Competition, European Capital of Culture, River Drava

Media attention

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Platform for New Architects Many young or newly established architects achieve international fame as a result of winning competitions. Mentions of participation in prestigious competitions are also valuable additions to the portfolios of lesser known architects who also get publicity through the exhibitions that follow. The benefits of holding a competition outweigh the complexities involved in organising one. Competitions act like intelligent risks; a well thought out and intelligently attempted risk can yield far better results. Such results can often lead to quantum leaps in the domain of architecture and in turn, trigger a paradigm shift.

Arab World Institute - 1981

Jean Nouvel

Firm established in 1984

Bibliotheca Alexandrina - 1989


Firm established in 1989

Parc de la Villette - 1982

Bernard Tchumi

Firm established in 1983

Hall of Nations - 1971

Raj Rewal

Firm established in 1977

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Paradigms and Paradigm Shifts What is a Paradigm?


paradigm is a philosophical and theoretical framework of a scientific school or discipline within which theories, laws, and generalizations are formulated and experiments performed. Thus a paradigm can generally be defined as the prevalent way of doing things. In physics, the paradigm of classical theory gave way to Newton’s theories, which was then replaced by Einstein’s, only to be superseded by the theory of Quantum Physics. The existing framework of theories did not seem to fit in with certain discoveries made in later years; the current paradigm was found to be wanting. Great scientists looked at the same problems in different light and created theories to fit new angles of perception. In natural sciences this change is usually a clear process. 1. The Pre-paradigm – refers to the paradigm that existed before the current one. 2. The Anomalies/New Discoveries – refers to observations, practices or ideas that could not fit in with the older paradigm that caused the crises. 3. Influences – refers to where there ideas came from; from within the field or from other related/unrelated fields. 4. The Tipping Point – refers to either a series of incidents/events or one particular incident/event that that affected the transition more than others. Existing Paradigm

Anomalies Discovered

Theory of Paradigm Shift, by Thomas Kuhn

Period of Crisis

New Theories

New Paradigm

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5. The New Paradigm – refers to how the newly established paradigm ‘improved’ upon the pre-existing ones. Thus it can be said that paradigms are never constant or immortal. They keep changing and get replaced by new paradigms. This process of creation of a new paradigm is referred to as paradigm shift as defined by Thomas Kuhn, an American physicist, historian and philosopher in his book – The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Kuhn, 1962). According to him: • Scientific fields undergo periodic “paradigm shifts” rather than progressing in a linear and continuous way. • These paradigm shifts open up new approaches to understanding what scientists would not have considered valid before. • The notion of scientific truth, at any given moment, cannot be established solely by objective criteria but is defined by a consensus within a scientific community. • Competing paradigms are frequently incommensurable; i.e., they are competing accounts of reality which cannot be easily reconciled. (Kuhn, 1962) • 5 parameters that can help choose a new theory are: • Accuracy - empirically adequate with experimentation and observation. • Consistency - internally consistent, but also externally consistent with other theories. • Broader Scope - a theory’s consequences should extend beyond that which it was initially designed to explain. • Simplicity - the simplest explanation, principally similar to Occam’s razor. • Fruitfulness - a theory should disclose new phenomena or new relationships among phenomena. (Tutorgigpedia, 11) An Example – The Personal Computer: The Paradigm Shift – Computers were originally industry-centric machines due to the expense required to create them and the expertise required to operate them. The change came about when advancements in processor technology and developments in user interface allowed them to become easy, personal tools that could be used by the lay-person. • The Pre-paradigm – Most of the computers being made at this

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time were primarily either for hardcore industry or computer hobbyists. • The Anomalies/New Discoveries – Graphical User Interface allowed for users to interface with the computers using images rather than text commands. Solid State memory using transistors allowed for faster and cheaper production of chips and circuit boards. Microprocessors integrated into one or a few large-scale integrated circuits made them more compact, less heat producing and ultimately cheaper. • Influences – Early influences in the development of technologies that led up to the personalization of the computer were due to intense competition between different companies such as IBM, Apple, Atari, etc., to come up with more commercially viable models. This often led to smart adaptations of innovations made by other companies. • The Tipping Point – The Apple Lisa was the first mass-marketed personal computer with GUI. However its slow speed and high cost made it a commercial failure. From this experience, Apple launched the Macintosh a year later. While not an immediate success, Apple’s partnership with Adobe to create desktop publishing helped increase the PC’s importance to the average user, allowing them to use computers to create simple worksheets, presentations and reports. • The New Paradigm – Thus from the previously paradigm of slow and expensive computers that were meant only for the industry or hobbyists, the computer has become a tool that is almost indispensable in today’s world. In many ways Kuhn’s theory follows similar patterns to Darwin’s theory of evolution. If one were to look at a paradigm as a species, any species of paradigm that is unable to adjust to the new surroundings created by new discoveries and ideas usually perish. This ‘death’ of a paradigm may happen quickly or take several many years. Newer paradigms that mutate from the previous one try to fit in as many of the new discoveries or ideas as they can. In the end only those species of paradigms that manage to encompass all of the new ideas survive; at least till the next cycle of upheaval and evolution.

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Architecture and Paradigms


rchitecture has witnessed great transformations and movements; never more vividly than in the past century. Charles Alexander Jencks (born 21 June 1939) is an American architectural theorist, landscape architect and designer.

Post- Modernism

Pre- Modernism


Neo- Expressionism


Evolutionary Tree, Charles Jencks

This diagram is his condensation of architecture from 1900 AD to recent times. He mentions different movements, prominent buildings and well known architects and how they flowed into each other to create the architectural space of the twentieth century. From this tree we pick out some major movements: • • • •

While not a movement in itself, the Pre-Modernist movement involved styles such as Expressionism, Art Deco and other previous styles. Modernism, includedstyles such as the International Style, Brutalism, etc. Post-Modernism and Neo-Expressionism. De-constructivism. (Lent, 2008)

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Paradigms in architecture are referred to as movements or styles. They are coherent practices based on a set of basic principles. As society in general changes, ripples are felt in architecture too. A changed society needs new principles to define its architecture which eventually develops to create a style of its own.

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Paradigm Shift 1: The Advent of Modernism The Pre-paradigm


he end of the 19th century was occupied by revivalist movements with emphasis on drawing influences from older architectural styles • Art Noveau (‘New Art’) of the 1910s symbolised a bridge between

• •

the historicism of Neo-Classical Architecture and Modernism. Its successor style of Art Deco departed from flowing organic forms to more linear and symmetrical forms with influences from around the world. Expressionism in the 1920s was characterised by an early-modernist adoption of novel materials, innovation in form and unusual massing. (Hollingsworth, 1988)

The Anomalies/New Discoveries • • • • •

“Form follows function”, originally expressed by Louis Sullivan, meaning that the result of design should derive directly from its purpose. Simplicity and clarity of forms and elimination of “unnecessary detail”. Visual expression of structure (as opposed to the hiding of structural elements). The related concept of “truth to materials”; the true nature or natural appearance of a material ought to be seen. Use of industrially-produced materials and adoption of the machine aesthetic.

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A visual emphasis on horizontal and vertical lines (particularly in the International Style). (Hollingsworth, 1988)

Influences They took advantage of new developments in technologies, such as the discovery of the Bessemer process of making steel and the re-discovery of concrete. Socialist theories of Engels and Marx empowered workers to pull away from the older feudal systems into a more democratic ideology. Several artistic styles such as the Arts and Crafts movement, Futurism, Constructivist Art, Cubism and De Stijl, etc. that emerged during the war years went a long way in influencing the core philosophies of modernist architecture.

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The Tipping Point The Palace of Nations The design competition for The Palace of Nations was perhaps the most exciting competition to take place in the 1920s. Amongst the jury were several early modernist thinkers such as HP Berlage, Karl Moser, Victor Horta and Joseph Hoffman, giving the modernist entries a fair chance. However, Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret were the only modernists to be amongst the nine declared winners. Political involvement resulted in the final design being given to four of the nine finalists as a joint project. Their resulting design shared a lot in common with Le Corbusierâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s and cost almost four times as much. (Benedikt, 1994)

Palace of the Nations

The International Congresses of Modern Architecture (CIAM) was then founded in June 1928 by a group of 28 European architects organized by Le Corbusier, HÊlène de Mandrot (owner of the castle),

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and Sigfried Giedion (the first secretary-general). CIAM was one of many 20th century manifestos meant to advance the cause of “architecture as a social art”. The organization was hugely influential. It was not only engaged in formalizing the architectural principles of the Modern Movement, but also saw architecture as an economic and political tool that could be used to improve the world through the design of buildings and through urban planning. The fourth CIAM meeting in 1933 was to have been held in Moscow. The rejection of Le Corbusier’s competition entry for the Palace of the Soviets, a watershed moment and an indication that the Soviets had abandoned CIAM’s principles, changed those plans. Instead it was held onboard ship, the SS Patris II, which sailed from Marseille to Athens. Here the group discussed concentrated on principles of “The Functional City”, which broadened CIAM’s scope from architecture into urban planning. (Mumford, 2009)

Palace of the Soviets- Winning Entry

The New Paradigm Based on an analysis of thirty-three cities, CIAM proposed that the social problems faced by cities could be resolved by strict functional segregation, and the distribution of the population into tall apartment blocks at widely spaced intervals. These proceedings went unpublished from 1933 until 1942, when Le Corbusier, acting alone, published them in heavily edited form as the “Athens Charter.”It would go on to define basic modern planning principles, setting the basis of Modernist architecture till at least the early 1970s.

Brasilia Master Plan- Lucio Costa

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Paradigm Shift 2: Modernism to Post-podernism


y the 1970’s, , modernism had reduced to creating formalism for formalism’s sake. Thus it lost steam towards the 70s with the large scale urban housings of that time being criticised for being too idealistic and unsuccessful. The demolition of the Pruitt-Igoe housing complex in St. Louis, Missouri was, according to Charles Jencks, “the day on which modern architecture died”. The reconstruction of several economies after the war years, larger optimism in society, and advancements in technology precipitated by the wars allowed for the return of more expressionism in architecture.

Portland Building, Michael Graves

Sony Building, Philip Johnson

Hood Museum of Art, Charles Willard Moore

Postmodern architecture began as an international style, starting as early as. The earliest of the true Post-Modernist buildings were the Portland Building by Michael Graves and the Sony Building by Philip Johnson. The Centre Georges Pompidou In December 1970, President Georges Pompidou of France proposed the project for the Centre Georges Pompidou in part to fulfil his ambition to gain architectural immortality for his contribution to the city of Paris. To avoid the limitations of prevalent thinking on arts centres, a team was set up to produce a brief for an international competition, which received 681 entries in total. (A.D.Profiles, 1977) The architects envisioned a museum which would break the wall of suspicion between the general public and modern art, responding to its growing democratic nature. Only half of the site was used, while the other half was left as a square in order to enhance the urban function of the entire district giving it “all manner of activities not specif-

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Centre Georges Pompidou, Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers, Peter Rice

ically stated in the programme.” Other entries followed the age - old principle of a fixed floor layout and formal museum/art gallery setting in a public space. The winning idea, to create a single large space with changeable floor plates designed to create volumes as required, captured the imagination of the jury. The Sydney Opera House

Opera House, Jørn Utzon

The Sydney Opera house stands out as a chronological anomaly amongst Neo-Expressionist designs as it is one of the earliest postwar structures to have a truly expressive design. The competition was initiated by J.J. Cahill (the prime minister of New South Wales), in September 1955. The jury had 233 designs to choose from; all of them line drawings as requested. The most influential member of the jury was Eero Saarinen. Perhaps because it coincided with his own approach to architecture, Utzon’s initially rejected design caught Saarinen’s eye. The winning design had been submitted by the Danish architect Jorn Utzon. (Murray, 2003) A quick glance at a few other competition entries shows that the winning entry was a clear deviation from the formality and the simplicity of the other designs, which were very modernist in their setting. Had

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any of these designs been built, the iconic status the Opera House commands today may not have been achieved. The post-modern movement in itself was largely a collection of smaller styles. While the other styles may be mixed and matched, De-constructivism stands out as a very distinct philosophy.

Other Entries

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Paradigm Shift 3: Deconstuctivism


econ’ is influenced by the formal experimentation and geometric imbalances of Russian constructivism, artistic movements such as - expressionism, cubism, minimalism and the ideas of the French philosopher Jacques Derrida. The advent of computer aided design during the late 80s gave its practitioners the perfect tool to realise their complex designs and forms; something that would have been near impossible in the preceding decades. (‘Deconstruction, a student guide’, 1991)

Parc de la Villette Parc de la Villette was announced as a public park project at la Villette, north – east Paris, in 1982.

Parc de la Villette

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The jury consisted of Roberto Burle Marx, Pierre Dauvergne, Vittorio Gregotti, Arata Isozaki and Renzo Piano. (Hardingham & Rattenbury, 2011) The commissioning body wanted to return to the age old concept of the park as a recreational and social urban facility. The brief required the architects to incorporate a number of â&#x20AC;&#x153;theme gardensâ&#x20AC;? in combination with existing facilities and buildings. Bernard Tschumi and Rem Koolhaas, both de-constructivists, were awarded the first and the second prizes respectively. The next two finalists were Gilles Vexlard and Bernard Lassus, both landscape architects. Thus Parc de la Villette made a major and a very significant mark on the architectural world as it sang the songs of de-constructivism.

Parc de la Villette, Bernard Tschumi

The meandering paths and other irregular forms of Tschumiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s scheme is a deviation from the traditional concept of a landscaped garden. The design resembles a supremacist composition, characteristic of the deconstructivist style. The asymmetrical layout was a far cry from Baroque and Renaissance gardens.

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In the 80s, Zaha Hadid’s entry for the Hong Kong Peak Club (1983) and Libeskind’s entry for the Jewish Museum, Berlin 1988 both added to the rise of ‘decon’ as a movement in itself. The 1988 Museum of Modern Art exhibition on De-constructivist Architecture, curated by Mark Wigley and Phillip Johnson, crystallized the movement and brought fame to its key practitioners. The architects presented at the exhibition were Peter Eisenman, Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Coop Himmelblau, Rem Koolhaas, Daniel Libeskind, and Bernard Tschumi.

Hong Kong Peak Club

Competitions have thus been important triggers for paradigm shift, if not paradigm shifts in themselves. They have maintained competitiveness in the profession by providing a platform for innovation and hence preventing stagnation.

Jewish Museum

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Competitions in India


ndia has had the chance to create its own architecture only after independence. Nehru’s invitation of Le Corbusier to design Chandigarh, the resulting breed of architects from the Chandigarh stable, the works by Louis I. Kahn in the sub-continent and the foreign - educated returnees like A. P. Kanvinde brought modernist philosophies into India.

JNU – C P Kukreja

The Hall of Nations – Raj Rewal

NDMC Building – Kuldip Singh

Important buildings that made a mark in the 60’s and the 70’s were resultants of competitions. All these buildings were built by prominent architects of today who at that time established their practices through these competitions. They would go on to influence an entire generation of architects who studied or worked under them. IGNCA The next big step that India took was the organization of the IGNCA Design Competition in 1986, India’s first-ever international architectural competition. (IGNCA, 1986) An internationally influential jury and an elaborate brief prepared by highly regarded professional advisors under international guidelines resulted in a competition with high symbolic value and the potential to be a game changer. The winning scheme by Ralph Lerner was a response to the prevalent interaction between the existing political mood and architecture.

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IGNCA - Plans

Ralph Lerner – IGNCA Competition winner

(IGNCA, 1993) While recognizing the compelling spatial resolution of the scheme, “local architects cringed at the Orientalist fantasy” that it represented as an architectural statement. Only the initial phase of the proposed design has been finished so far on the site. An A+D editorial by Razia Grover explained the significance of the competition as an exercise in consolidating a cohesive identity of the ‘Indian architectural community’. (Panicker, 2008) It appreciates the fact that the second prize winning entry was by a relatively young Indian architect, the Delhi based Gautam Bhatia. His design integrated regionalist typologies and symbolism in a modernist vocabulary with a post-modernist attitude.

Gautam Bhatiya’s second prize entry

However, the competition as a whole and especially Bhatia’s entry represented the new and confident generation of architects in India who were willing to experiment with forms and images to change the prevalent modernist-infused attitudes in Indian architecture, even though the IGNCA competition did not play its part as the required catalyst for e architecture in India. The pace of major competitions being held slumped in the 90s, perhaps because of the lack of confidence in this approach, political will or absence of visionaries.

Ar. Gautam Bhatia

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It was another 23 years later, , that the next important architectural design competition, i.e. The Rajaswa Bhawan was held in 2008. The following two decades witnessed many competitions such as â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the Parliament Library, Alliance Francaise, Lucknow Airport and many more.

Allaince Francaise

Patna Museum

Chennai Legislative Assembly

SPA Campus Urban Design Entry

While being prestigious competitions themselves, they seemed to lack the political ambition that the IGNCA had once represented. Today we see several note-worthy competitions. A quickly growing professional population of architects, unprecedented exposure to global events and discourses and the slow awakening of the public as stakeholders in their cities have all contributed to the survival of competitions in India. Thus over time, architecture has climbed its stepping stones and jumped through the hoops of failure and success. Architecture in India is now progressing at a steady pace and reaching an inevitable paradigm shift triggered by the many competitions held and are yet to happen.

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We would like to thank everyone that helped us make this seminar successful. Their valuable contributions and vital inputs have added depth to our research. We thank or Seminar Co-ordinators Prof. Dr. Ranjana Mital and Prof. Jaya Kumar. They have guided us through the methods and processes of undertaking such a research with extreme patience and understanding. We are thankful to our guide Prof. Sambuddha Sen for always having more and more interesting competitions for us to refer to at the tip of his tongue, wthout which much valuable time would have been wasted in finding relevant information. We are also thankful to him for trusting us to with our work and allowing us to take the seminar in a direction that interested all of us. We would like to thank Prof. Ranjit Sabhiki for gracing our seminar presentation as the chairperson and for providing interesting insights into our topic with his vast experience in organising architectural competitions. Lastly we are grateful to our resource persons as well as our friends and classmates for the narration of their experiences with competitions without which this seminar would be purely a theoretical exercise.

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Works Cited

A.D.Profiles, 2. (1977). Centre Pompidou. London. Cabanieu, J. (2012, May 17). Design Observer - Media. Retrieved from France_--_Comp_217.pdf Council of Architecture. (2008, January 10). Council of Architecture :: Architectural Competition Guidelines. Retrieved from Council of Architecture Web Site: htm Council of Architecture. (2012, July 6). Council of Architecture :: Architectural Competition Guidelines. Retrieved from Council of Architecture Web Site: htm ‘Deconstruction, a student guide’. (1991). Journal of Architectural Theory and Criticism. Eisenman, P. (n.d.). Visions’ Unfolding: Architecture in the Age of Electronic Media. 6. Fils, A. (1980). Das centre Pompidou in Paris. Munich. Gideon, S. (1967). Space, Time and Architecture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Haan, H. d. (1988). Architects in Competition. New York. Hardingham, S., & Rattenbury, K. (2011). Bernard Tschumi: Parc de la Villette: SuperCrit #4. London: Routledge. Hollingsworth, M. (1988). Architecture of the Twentieth Century. New York: Smithmark Publishers. IGNCA. (1986). IGNCA Design Dossier. New Delhi: IGNCA. IGNCA. (1993). Concepts and Responses: International Architectural Competition for the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts. New Delhi; Ahmedabad: IGNCA; Mapin Publishing Pvt Ltd. Katsakou, A. (2002). Collective Housing Competitions. Lausanne: Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne.

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Kreiner, K. (2000). Paradoxes of Architectural Competitions. Centre for Management Studies of the Building Process, 441-450. Kuhn, T. (1962). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Lent, R. v. (2008). Paradigm Shifts in Architecture. Liang, Z. (2012). Bridging the Gaps : A Procedural Analysis on Design Competitions. Helsinki: Aalto University. Linartas, D. (2011). Significance of Creative Competitions to Lithuanian Art and Architecture. Vilnius: Vilnius Gediminas Technical University. Mumford, E. P. (2009). Defining Urban Design: CIAM Architects and the Formation of a Discipline, 1937-69. New Haven: Yale University Press. Murray, P. (2003). The Saga of the Sydney Opera House. London: Routledge. Panicker, S. K. (2008). consolidating a cohesive identity of the ‘Indian architectural community’. Adelaide: University of Adelaide. Ronn, M. (2009). Judgment in the Architectural. Nordic Journal of Architectural Research, 52-67. Ronn, M. (2011). Architectural FORMakademisk, 100-115.




Sanoff, H. (2008). Multiple Views of Participatory Design. ArchnetIJAR, International Journal of Architectural Research, 57-69. Svensson, C. (2009). Speaking of Architecture - A Study of the Jury´s Assessment in an Invited Competition. Nordic Journal of Architectural Research, 94-107. Tafuri, M. F. (1979). Modern Architecture. New York. Taschen, B. (1994). Architectural Competitions 1792-Today. The Netherlands.

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The American Institute of Architects. (1988). The Handbook of Architectural Design Competitions. Washington DC: The American Institute of Architects. Troy, E. B. (1997). Architecture and Cubism. Boston: MIT Press. Tutorgigpedia. (11, December 2012). Tutorgigpedia - Thomas Kuhn. Retrieved from ed/Thomas_Kuhn Volker, L. (2004). Designing a Design Competition : The Client Perspective. Amsterdam: Delft University of Technology. Woodrow Wilson School. (2006). The Politics of Design : Competitions for Public Projects. Princeton: Princeton University School of.

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A.D.Profiles, 2. (1977). Centre Pompidou. London. Cabanieu, J. (2012, May 17). Design Observer - Media. Retrieved from France_--_Comp_217.pdf Council of Architecture. (2008, January 10). Council of Architecture :: Architectural Competition Guidelines. Retrieved from Council of Architecture Web Site: htm Council of Architecture. (2012, July 6). Council of Architecture :: Architectural Competition Guidelines. Retrieved from Council of Architecture Web Site: htm ‘Deconstruction, a student guide’. (1991). Journal of Architectural Theory and Criticism. Eisenman, P. (n.d.). Visions’ Unfolding: Architecture in the Age of Electronic Media. 6. Fils, A. (1980). Das centre Pompidou in Paris. Munich. Gideon, S. (1967). Space, Time and Architecture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Haan, H. d. (1988). Architects in Competition. New York. Hardingham, S., & Rattenbury, K. (2011). Bernard Tschumi: Parc de la Villette: SuperCrit #4. London: Routledge. Hollingsworth, M. (1988). Architecture of the Twentieth Century. New York: Smithmark Publishers. IGNCA. (1986). IGNCA Design Dossier. New Delhi: IGNCA. IGNCA. (1993). Concepts and Responses: International Architectural Competition for the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts. New Delhi; Ahmedabad: IGNCA; Mapin Publishing Pvt Ltd. Katsakou, A. (2002). Collective Housing Competitions. Lausanne: Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne.

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Kreiner, K. (2000). Paradoxes of Architectural Competitions. Centre for Management Studies of the Building Process, 441-450. Kuhn, T. (1962). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Lent, R. v. (2008). Paradigm Shifts in Architecture. Liang, Z. (2012). Bridging the Gaps : A Procedural Analysis on Design Competitions. Helsinki: Aalto University. Linartas, D. (2011). Significance of Creative Competitions to Lithuanian Art and Architecture. Vilnius: Vilnius Gediminas Technical University. Mumford, E. P. (2009). Defining Urban Design: CIAM Architects and the Formation of a Discipline, 1937-69. New Haven: Yale University Press. Murray, P. (2003). The Saga of the Sydney Opera House. London: Routledge. Panicker, S. K. (2008). consolidating a cohesive identity of the ‘Indian architectural community’. Adelaide: University of Adelaide. Ronn, M. (2009). Judgment in the Architectural. Nordic Journal of Architectural Research, 52-67. Ronn, M. (2011). Architectural FORMakademisk, 100-115.




Sanoff, H. (2008). Multiple Views of Participatory Design. ArchnetIJAR, International Journal of Architectural Research, 57-69. Svensson, C. (2009). Speaking of Architecture - A Study of the Jury´s Assessment in an Invited Competition. Nordic Journal of Architectural Research, 94-107. Tafuri, M. F. (1979). Modern Architecture. New York. Taschen, B. (1994). Architectural Competitions 1792-Today. The Netherlands. The American Institute of Architects. (1988). The Handbook of

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Architectural Design Competitions. Washington DC: The American Institute of Architects. Troy, E. B. (1997). Architecture and Cubism. Boston: MIT Press. Tutorgigpedia. (11, December 2012). Tutorgigpedia - Thomas Kuhn. Retrieved from ed/Thomas_Kuhn Volker, L. (2004). Designing a Design Competition : The Client Perspective. Amsterdam: Delft University of Technology. Woodrow Wilson School. (2006). The Politics of Design : Competitions for Public Projects. Princeton: Princeton University School of.

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Adaptive Environments

Presented on 2nd November 2012 presented by Beeravali Chetan Bomching Maio E. Kautilya Shashank Gautam advisor Dr. Shweta Manchanda chairperson Prof. Manoj Mathur Partner, Mathur and Kapre Associates

resource persons Dr. Vinod Gupta Founder, Space Design Consultants

Dr. Satish Kumar Energy Efficiency Ambassador & Vice President, Schneider Electric India

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ith regards to building design, changes in the built environment are often required to meet the varying needs of its occupants and provide comfort. This has given rise to the idea of built environments that are ‘adaptive’ or responsive to the occupants in an intelligent way. The increased sophistication and affordability of microchips and advancement in information technology has made possible intelligent environments that can ‘adapt’ or respond to the needs and demands of the occupants, sensing their requirements and delivering these through a seemingly instinctive process. Facilitating this process, the mechanisms of building controls have acquired special significance and are changing the way buildings are designed and operated. This paper studies the concept of ‘Adaptive Environments’,in view of the comfort and satisfaction of occupants and energy savings for its client, throwing open issues of its effectiveness based on the degree of control with the end user. Finally the paper postulates new ways of thinking about the built environment as a move towards a more human centred design.

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Adaptation and the Environment


daptation’ is the act of making suitable to certain requirements or conditions. It is a common trait of all living organisms; a necessary survival quality that helps it adjust to changing environments. (Heschong, 1979) An ‘Adaptive Environment’ is an architectural system having the ability to change its structure, behaviour or nature according to the needs of the user. An adaptive building provides an environment capable of responding to changes in external conditions and delivers a stable environment for the better comfort of its occupants at all times. In other words, an adaptive environment ‘adapts’ so that the inhabitant would not have to adapt himself. However, as Baker (2000) puts, ‘humans have an instinctive need to be able to adapt and feel in control of their environment. Some common questions surround the topic. Are the uses of sensors and detectors which can lead to such sophisticated intelligent environments really needed when comfort itself is highly subjective? Because the technology is available, does it mean that our living environments should also start being information centric? Or should people manually configure their internal environments for comfort, productivity and energy efficiency? What should be the balance between automation and manual control of such an environment? What should the future approach to building operation design be? Are adaptively responsive environments the answer to climatic, comfort, and energy needs of the future?

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Adaptive Environments Emergence of ‘Adaptive’ buildings

L. Fig.1, Xanadu House (Lamar, 2009) R. Fig.2, Interiors, Xanadu House (Lamar, 2009)


n the 1980s, a series of experimental homes were built to showcase examples of computers and automation in the home in the United States called the ‘Xanadu Houses’. Three houses were built in different parts of the US: one each in Kissimmee, Florida; Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin; and Gatlinburg, Tennessee; among which the Kissimmee house by architect Roy Mason was the most popular. The Xanadu Houses were ergonomically designed, and contained some of the earliest home automation systems. These systems were operated by what were referred to as ‘Commodore microcomputer’ which controlled interior lighting, air-conditioning and shading blinds and minimised energy wastage. The kitchen was automated by ‘auto-chef’, an electronic dietician which planned well-balanced meals and cooked them automatically at a set date and time. The Xanadu homes also suggested a way to do business at home with the office room and the children’s tutoring through the use of interactive electronic media. Today such sophisticated adaptive control systems are becoming the rule rather than the exception, according to a new market research study funded by The Watt Stopper and conducted by Ducker Research. The primary driver for its popularity seems to be the huge savings in energy and customised environment control these systems provide to the occupants. The systems reduce peak demand, prolong the life of the systems and also provide incentives and concessions from

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Environment Control Boards. The energy chart below illustrates why Fig.3, Electricity use breakautomated systems are becoming widely adopted to control lighting down in commercial and resiand air-conditioning. dential building in India. (Dolf Gielen, 2009)

One of the most dramatic examples of energy saving through use of lighting control systems can be found in The New York Times building located in Manhattan, New York. The recently built 52 storey building designed by Renzo Piano uses a computer controlled, Lutron Quantum® light management system that automatically dims or switches all lighting according to use. The building uses light level “tuning” (setting target light levels for every workspace) and occupancy sensors to turn lights off when spaces are vacant.It also takes advantage of daylight harvesting, automatically dimming lights when enough daylight is present. Daylight is controlled using automated window shades, with the system adjusting electrical light levels so the right amount of light is always present. (Lutron, 2012) The system saves The New York Times Building 72% of electricity, resulting in energy savings of $600,000 annually. (Lutron, 2012) “We designed our building to use 1.28 watts per square foot of lighting power. With Quantum, it’s only using 0.396 — that’s about 70% less.” - Glenn Hughes, (Director of Construction for The New York Times Company) But energy savings are not the only objectives of adaptive environments. They are specially designed to adapt to their inhabitants manually or automatically, sensing their requirements and delivering these through a seemingly instinctive process. The system may change its physical structure; alter environment conditions such as lighting or climate or its appearance such as colour and texture. Through these, adaptive environments aim to create more customizable spaces, increase comfort and productivity besides being easy to monitor and control.

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Fig.4, New York Times Building (Lutron, 2012)

An important point to be noted is that the environment should be able to achieve the above mentioned qualities in an intelligent way by analysing current conditions and delivering the required conditions as demanded. For that matter, adaptive environments are sometimes associated with approaches labelled as interactive, responsive, smart or intelligent environments. Adaptive Systems employed by buildings

L, Fig.5, The Stratus Project, a project investigation the potential for kinetic, sensing and environment-responsive interior envelope systems. (RVTR, 2010) R, Fig.6, The Stratus Project v1.0 prototype installed, lights responding to occupancy. (RVTR, 2010)

Buildings may use one or a combination of more systems to intelligently control them. The major systems widely used today are: 1. Lighting/Shading adaptation 2. Heating/Cooling adaptation 3. Spatial adaptation

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The study focused on three types of automation control methods: 1. Scheduling 2. Occupancy 3. Daylighting Occupancy sensors are, according to a study, the most popular automated lighting control solution for all major building types and are adopted by both large and small buildings. Scheduling systems, such as building energy management systems, time clocks and automation panels, are also somewhat popular, followed by daylighting systems, which are used much less frequently. The systems may either be wired or wireless.

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Adaptive Lighting and Shading


enestration systems are the most critical components of building facades with respect to energy performance and indoor environmental conditions. The balance between daylight provision and reduction in energy consumption or demand through appropriate control of solar gains is the main question that has been addressed in a few previous studies.(Athanasios Tzempelikos, 2011) Kiefer Technic Showroom

The Kiefer Technic Showroom, designed by Ernst Giselbrechet and Partners is an office building and exhibition space with a dynamic facade that responds to outdoor conditions, optimizing internal climate, while allowing users to personalize their own spaces with user controls. The facade consists of aluminium posts and transoms with protruding bridges for maintenance, with an EIFS (Exterior Insulation and Finishing System) -facade in white plaster. The sun screen operates on electronic shutters of perforated aluminium panels. The Fig.7, Kiefer Technic Show- faรงade changes as the day progresses, defining it as a dynamic sculproom, Gleichenberg (Austria) ture that regulates the internal environment of the building.(Vinnit(Vinnitskaya, 2010) skaya, 2010)

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Arab World Institute A more complex example is the active façade at Jean Nouvel’s L’Insti- Fig.8, Arab World Institute, tut du Monde Arabe in Paris. Behind the glass wall is a metallic screen Paris (Enaldo em Paris, 2011) which unfolds with moving geometric motifs. The motifs are actually 240 photo-sensitive motor-controlled apertures, or shutters, which act as a sophisticated brise soleil that automatically opens and closes to control the amount of light and heat entering the building from the sun according to the weather conditions and season of the year.. (Enaldo em Paris, 2011) Shapes such as squares, circles and octagons are produced fluidly during the various phases of the lensmodulating the light in parallel. Interior spaces are dramatically modified, along with the exterior appearance. In spite of their functionality and striking design, these façade panels are noisy, tend to break easily and do not provide a very scalable solution that can be easily integrated into other buildings or easily replaceable when they fail. Most importantly, they are fully automated, not allowing residents in the building to have a high granularity of control over their own space.(Marcello Coelho, 2009)

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Adaptive Air-conditioning


hermal qualities â&#x20AC;&#x201C; warm, cool, humid, airy, radiant, cozy â&#x20AC;&#x201C; are an important part of our experience of a space; they not only influence what we choose to do there but also how we feel about the space. Thermal qualities are thus an important factor that should be kept in mind by architects. It is generally accepted that citizens spend almost 80% of their lives in buildings. Besides a holiday in the rural district, the destination of most citizens travelling outside a building is another building. We live, work and entertain ourselves inside buildings. Therefore, a comfortable, healthy, and work-effective environment inside buildings is critical for ensuring efficiency and quality in our daily activities.(Albert, 1999) Centre for Mathematical Sciences, (Cambridge)

Fig.9, Centre for Mathematical Sciences(CMS, 2010)

The Centre for Mathematical Sciences, University of Cambridge is a naturally ventilated building employing advanced semi-automated ventilation controls.Outside air is let in through low level inlets on the basement and ground floor. It is then exhausted via windows on the upper levels.The low-level air inlets (usually insulated panels) and high-level outlets are motorized and controlled by a building

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management system, although manual override is possible. Each of- Fig.10, CMS typical section fice also has one or more central, manually operable window, which (CMS, 2010) opens out, and can be controlled by special poles provided to give the long reach required.(CMS, 2010)

L, Fig.11, Interior view of a typical CMS Office. R, Fig.12, CMS office ventilation system schematic. (CMS, 2010)

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BP Building A, Sunbury, U.K. Fig.13, Exterior view of the BP Sunbury, Building A. (Malcolm Barrie, 2006)

The BP Building, located in the London outskirts of Sunbury, was designed and built as a low energy building in the year 2000.It is designed as a rectangular glass box with a central atrium, and has 3 levels of open plan offices distributed over ground, first and second floors. The open plan spaces are air-conditioned on the principle of displacement ventilation, with the air supplied by floor diffusers and extracted near the ceiling lights (Fig.16). The temperature of the supply air is maintained at 18Ë&#x161;C through the year, with additional heating supplied by trench radiant heaters, and cooling by chilled ceilings, when required. There are no operable windows, and all ventilation and conditioning is provided by mechanical means with no manual controls. (Olsen, 2002).

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Fig.14, BP Sunbury building typical floor plan. (Malcolm Barrie, 2006)

Fig.15,Interior office layout at BP Sunbury

Fig.16, BP Sunbury building ventilation system schematic. (Malcolm Barrie, 2006)

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Adaptive Spaces


patial Adaptation’ is the ability of the space to vary itself according to demand through physical transformation or through computer generated ‘mixed reality’. These systems are in its infancy compared to the already established above systems. Spatial adaptation can be responsive to the user inputs or environmental inputs outside the control of the user. This adaptable nature may be achieved in physical or virtual worlds. The adaptive quality of virtual spaces when combined with the real physical world is what is called virtual reality where we are currently progressing towards. The adaptability in the physical realm today is mainly through altering the structural systems which involves mainly the mechanical and electronic equipment. Prairie House, Illinois (USA)

Fig.17, Prairie House (Sterk, 2010)

The Prairie House by ORAMBRA (The Office for Robotic Architectural Media & Bureau for Responsive Architecture) is a house by Tristan Sterk in Northfield, Illinois. It is a residential project for a fashion artist that would provide the house with the ability to change its shape and volume. The house will use actuated tensegrity systems with new cladding systems giving the house the ability to increase volume in summer to reduce the impact of internal heat loads and shrink in winter to reduce heating requirements. In addition, the house will use a façade with the ability to change colour via thermo or photo-chromatic inks, becoming lighter on hotter days and darker in winter.

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Fig.18, Front, Prairie House (Sterk, 2010)

Spatial Adaptation through Mixed Reality Systems Another approach to such an adaptive system is the much more complex use of computer generated 3D world through mixed reality. The approach is much more complex to achieve than the physical manifestation of adaptability. Users wear glasses or lens which overlays

Fig.19, Lens prototype. (University of Washington)

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Fig.20, Adaptive environments through mixed reality. (Sterk, 2010)

pictures or video onto what is already being seen. Through the glasses, spaces can be customized in endless ways. Imaginary spaces can be created for pleasant psychological effects. Spaces can be made to appear small or large, high or low. Colour and texture of materials can be changed as one pleased, beautiful-view balconies can be made to appear anywhere, narrow corridors can be widened; the possibilities are endless.

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Adaptation: Humans or Buildings?


he above mentioned examples clearly show how the use of technology will shape our habitats in the foreseeable future. However, there have been disagreements over whether technology improves the human condition or worsens it. Many technological processes produce unwanted by-products, known as pollution, and deplete natural resources, to the detriment of the Earth and its environment. The society is going towards a trend popularised by the ‘leisure class’ who are responsible for the most wastage and degradation of the environment. Are We Getting Too Dependent On Technology?

The use of air conditioners these days is becoming more of a necessity than an option; especially as cost of such products make them easily affordable. Many critics believe that technological societies are inherently flawed; suggesting that the inevitable result of such a society is to become ever more technological at the cost of freedom and psychological health. Our societies are moving towards a culture of living in comfort environments where the inhabitants don’t have to adapt at all. Moreover, too much technology increases chances of faults, the solution to which is often yet more technology, leading to a vicious cycle where the system can fail as a whole. In reference, Leaman (1992) states - ‘To most people (because they are led to think so) technology is usually perceived as a solution, not a problem. However, as technology increases in complexity, especially in the number of ways in which different technologies interact, there is a greater chance that they will collectively fail in one way or another. The normal approach to this conundrum is to integrate these systems through yet more technology - building energy management systems, for instance. The chances are that the cure is worse than the disease’. Are We Moving Away From Nature? Although an average person spends most of his time indoors, the way of man has always been to be with nature. Our ancestors spent most of their time outdoors, while buildings would primarily provide only shelter and security during the hours of darkness. Even today our attraction to bright light and indoor potted plants mean that man has little changed in his comfort psychology. (Baker, 2000)We

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crave for environments that provide for maximum natural light and vegetation. The breeze from an air-conditioner may not be the same as breeze from a window. (Heschong, 1979) Built spaces these days, however; seem to be looking the other way. Because technology has solved the various issues of proper ventilation, air-conditioning and lighting, building designs have abandoned the idea of building with the environment. Climatic and other environmental conditions specific to a region no longer play an important role in the decision making of a building to be constructed. The rise of the International Style of architecture means that architecture today look and function the same irrespective of climatic region or construction material constraints. Are We Developing Helplessness And Habituation? When the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami knocked out a big chunk of the countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s nuclear power by damaging the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in 2011, Japan mandated vastly reduced energy consumption. Lights were dimmed and usage of air-conditioners was reduced so that offices complied with the government-prescribed indoor summer temperature of 28 degrees Celsius from 25 degrees. A study found that the rise in temperature hampered their productivity.(Cox, 2012) Doctors have concluded that this was because the workers had got used to such constant low temperatures reducing their abilities to adapt to higher temperatures. Doctors have also found that reduction in variability of ambient temperature can also have adverse health consequences. As homes and offices are kept at a relatively constant temperature year-round, it causes the body to expend less energy, because it does not have to work to warm up or cool down, potentially leading to increased fat stores.(Phillips, 2005)

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The Role of Control


ontrol may be one of the most important issues in automated environments. Adaptive environments call for control of lighting and air conditioning to be taken by machines such as occupancy and daylight sensors while giving a manual override in case the occupant wants to take direct control of his environment. Criticisms have been raised on the response of adaptive systems controlled by sensors in that they cannot predict the exact needs and demands of the occupant. A perceived freedom to make adjustments leads to significant levels of satisfaction to the inhabitants. It was previously assumed that people turned on an air conditioner when they feel hot and set it to a temperature at which they will be comfortable. It was thought that most people limited their use primarily because of cost, and thus in a study building where electricity is not billed, it was expected that people would operate their air conditioners whenever

Fig.21, Baker & Standeven: Response in relation to time and adaptive opportunity. (Baker, 2000)

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the weather was hot. Instead it was found that operation was rarely thermostatic, and that use was governed by household schedules and by multiple overlapping systems of belief and preferences concerning health, thermal comfort, alternative cooling strategies, folk theories about how air conditioners function, and general strategies for dealing with machines. (Kempton, 1992) The provision of an indoor quality that can achieve total comfort for the occupant, in a healthy environment as perceived by his sensory capabilities, is and has been a central objective of building design Fig.22, Baker & Standeven: Re- and its energy use. sponse in relation to time and adaptive opportunity. (Baker, 2000)

However, if all stimuli are removed, for example when temperatures are maintained constant to achieve neutrality, occupants would de-

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velop sensitivity to other stimuli such as light or sound. If these are also invariant, the urge for stimuli would continue and insensitivity could develop, maybe to the colour of the carpet etc. Eventually, however, if the stimulus is understood and results in habituation, tolerance can be increased and the adaptive opportunity can be extended, helping the occupant to exercise his adaptive capacity. Thus while an ideal environment may not be one where the occupant cannot do anything, or even does not have to do anything; it is also not one where he has to do everything. As suggested by Baker (2003), the level of control needs to be such that it does not deter the task at hand. While adaptive environments may answer our comfort needs in the present world because of the change in lifestyle and widespread use of technology,is total automation in our interests?The adaptation by the building and by the user has to be in balance. We need to determine to what extent we want our environments to be automated.

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Future directions


n the intelligent age the adaptation of the systems are more focussed on the individual than the adaptation to the spaces; yet the path that these deliverables reach the user is through the spaces. This has resulted in infrastructure that targets the space rather than the people directly. Maybe, the dynamism in the space created by adaptive technologies is not the best way to provide the needed comfort in an efficient and recognizable way. New innovations show us new ways in which technology can solve our present problems created by technology itself. For example, air conditioned clothes (Fig. 23) designed by the Japanese manufacturer Kuchofuku have become very popular since the Fukushima nuclear issue forced people in Japan to reduce power consumption. These clothes consume a fraction of the power compared to air-conditioners.

Fig.23, Kuchofuku air-conditioned clothes. (Quick, 2012)

The office for UBEST, a new software development company with a totally non-hierarchical structure was designed as a garden with real plants and artificial flowers that double as fans and task lamps so as to let its occupants have direct control of desk layout as well as environment control.

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Wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t advancement in such a technology have answered problems of high energy consumption, customized individual comfort and simplified control?

We as architects may need to immerseourselves in the product de- Fig.23, UBEST Office, Kolkata sign to effectively and efficiently provide comfort to the occupants in (Spacedesign-Consultants, an environment. Ethical issues are always existent and a fine balance 2008) between the comfort levels and larger issues have to be achieved with the help of other disciplines such as neurology, behavioural science, robotics, information technology, physiology, and psychology. A typical office space fitted with air conditioners has the goal of providing maximum comfort to the workers in that space. This can be achieved by simply setting the required temperature on the control panel. Sometimes these controls and systems may not be able to provide all the workers their individual desired comfort levels. In this case we are trying to cool the office space which in turn cools the body temperature of the workers. Theoreticallya lower body temperature can be achieved by wearing an air conditioned garment, working on the principle of evaporative cooling. This approach gives the individual maximum comfort along with huge savings in utility costs. This garment typically comes with manual controls, but automation can be added to it easily with a few

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sensors and a toggle switch which gives the individual the freedom to move from totally automatic to fully manual control depending on his preferences. Though the air conditioned garment is a bit fluffy to wear it is not uncomfortable.These garments are now commonly used in spaces where air conditioningis not feasible such as mines, large garages etc. to increase the productivity of the workers. In effect the focus of the adaptive environment may not always be the user but that he/she is involved in the process and the ultimate goal (heating/cooling/lighting etc.).A balance between efficiency and level of automation would may only be reached if the user is targeted rather than the architectural medium. This approach challenges the architect, expands current development practices by looking toward product design, science fiction or other cultural inputs as possible laboratories for future designs.

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Excerpts of our interview with Dr. Satish Kumar, Vice President â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Energy Management Services, Schneider Electric, Power Asia Pacific and Dr. Vinod Gupta, Space Design Consultants. Is technology/adaptive environments harmful to humans in the long run? Technology is beneficial to us. Our quest for hunger satisfaction and security was answered only because we embraced the technological path. Human life-span has increased; life has become much more comfortable than our ancestors who had to worry about food, security, health and shelter. These problems have today been answered. However, our quest to ever more luxury cannot be answered for all. The earth cannot sustain such demand. Besides technology has produced such unwanted by-products such as pollution that actually threaten our current environment. We need to relook at our quest for better lives. Technology is the only answer, but all parameters that affect the goal should be carefully weighed. If advanced active environmental systems may decrease our adaptive ability, why is it that passive systems are not popular? Passive systems are in wide use today although very marginal compared to the wide popularity of active systems especially in air conditioning. There is limit to what passive systems can achieve. Air-conditioners can give to your temperature and humidity demands in any weather. The downside is it affects you overall environment in a huge way. The more affordable they get, the larger their use and the larger their effect on the planet. This is an unsustainable model. Passive systems on the other hand do not affect the environment in any way because they utilize the earthâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s energies that are available freely to anyone. Can passive systems compete with active systems? Absolutely. People know the pros and cons of passive systems. While there are people who do not care how a machine affects the planet, there are others who are very conscious and are willing to actively participate in its welfare. They know the limitations of the systems but are nevertheless comparatively satisfied. Will adaptive environments play a greater role in environment control in the coming days? Adaptive systems are already widely adopted today. The trend is most visible in commercial and institutional projects. A recent study

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showed that more than 60% of new constructions in this sector in the west employ some form of automated system in lighting, shading or air conditioning. The control of such systems is the most crucial to their success and it is in this area that the system lacks maturity. A lot of work needs to be done before we have a system that is easy to use, maintain and above all does not cost a lot.

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We have taken efforts in this project. However, it would not have been possible without the kind support and help of many individuals and organisations. We would like to extend our sincere thanks to all of them. We are highly indebted to Dr. Shweta Manchanda for her guidance and constant supervision as well as for providing necessary information regarding the seminar. We would like to express our gratitude towards our seminar coordinators Dr. Ranjana Mittal and Prof. Jaya Kumar for their kind co-operation and steady encouragement which helped us in completion of this seminar report. Our thanks and appreciations also go to our pals in developing the project and people who have willingly helped us out with their abilities.

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Works Cited

Baker, N. (2000). Designing For Comfort: Recognising the Adaptive Urge. In N. Baker, Designing For Comfort: Recognising the Adaptive Urge. Cambridge: University of Cambridge. CMS. (2010, April 27). Environmental Design. Retrieved November 22, 2012, from history/what.environment.html Cox, S. (2012, July 10). Cooling a Warming Planet: A Global Air Conditioning Surge. Retrieved October 26, 2012, from air_conditioning_surge/2550/ Dolf Gielen, N. T. (2009). Technology Development Prospects for the Indian Power Sector: The Impact of the Spatial Resource Distribution. Paris: International Energy Agency. Doyle, B. (2010). An Investigation into why Lighting Controls Fail in Buildings . Dublin: Dublin Institute of Technology. Heschong, L. (1979). Thermal Delight in Architecture. Massachusetts: The Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Kempton, W. (1992). A Special Issue devoted to Air-conditioning. Elsevier Sequoia. Lamar, C. (2009). Xanadu: The Retro Foam House of the Future. Retrieved November 22, 2012, from http://www.environmentalgraffiti. com/news-80s-foam-house-future-xanadu Leaman, A. (1992). Open Plan Offices: Kill or Cure? London: Building Use Studies. Lutron. (2012). Save Energy. Retrieved September 10, 2012, from Lutron/Pages/SaveEnergy.aspx Phillips, R. D. (2005). Does My Air Conditioner Make Me Fat? Retrieved October 29, 2012, from Quick, D. (2012, July 16). Keep cool downstairs with Kuchofukuâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s air-conditioned pants. Retrieved October 29, 2012, from www.

Seminar 08 : Adaptive Environments 267 Sterk, T. (2010). Prairie House. Retrieved November 02, 2012, from Vinnitskaya, I. (2010, November 17). Kiefer Technic Showroom/Ernst Giselbrecht+Partner. Retrieved July 02, 2012, from www.archdaily. com:

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Albert, T. P. (1999). Automation and Control of HVAC Systems. Hong Kong: University of Hong Kong. Athanasios Tzempelikos, H. S. (2011). Energy Analysis of Offices with Automated Shading Devices. West Lafayette: Purdue University. B. Roisin, M. B. (2008). Lighting Energy Savings in Offices using Different Control Systems and their Real Consumption. Energy and Buildings. Baker, N. (2000). Designing For Comfort: Recognising the Adaptive Urge. In N. Baker, Designing For Comfort: Recognising the Adaptive Urge. Cambridge: University of Cambridge. Bill Bordass, K. B. (1993). User and Occupant Controls in Office Buildings. Brussels: Building Services. CMS. (2010, April 27). Environmental Design. Retrieved November 22, 2012, from history/what.environment.html Cox, S. (2012, July 10). Cooling a Warming Planet: A Global Air Conditioning Surge. Retrieved October 26, 2012, from air_conditioning_surge/2550/ DiLouie, C. (2006). Lighting Controls: Current Use, Major Trends and Future Direction. In C. DiLouie, Lighting Controls: Current Use, Major Trends and Future Direction. Lighting Controls Association. Dolf Gielen, N. T. (2009). Technology Development Prospects for the Indian Power Sector: The Impact of the Spatial Resource Distribution. Paris: International Energy Agency. Dolla, S. (2009). Energy Efficient Lighting. Bombay: IIT Bombay. Doyle, B. (2010). An Investigation into why Lighting Controls Fail in Buildings . Dublin: Dublin Institute of Technology. Fergus, N. (1995). Standards for Thermal Comfort: Indoor Air Temperature Standards for the 21st Century. Cornwall: T.J. Press. Heschong, L. (1979). Thermal Delight in Architecture. Massachusetts: The Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Kempton, W. (1992). A Special Issue devoted to Air-conditioning. Elsevier Sequoia. Lamar, C. (2009). Xanadu: The Retro Foam House of the Future. Retrieved November 22, 2012, from http://www.environmentalgraffiti. com/news-80s-foam-house-future-xanadu Leaman, A. (1992). Open Plan Offices: Kill or Cure? London: Building Use Studies. Lutron. (2012). Save Energy. Retrieved September 10, 2012, from Lutron/Pages/SaveEnergy.aspx Malcolm Barrie, M. C. (2006). BP Sunbury: The 20% cost challenge. The Arup Journal, 32-39. Marcello Coelho, P. M. (2009). Shutters: A Permeable Surface for Environmental Control and Communication. Massachushetts: Massachushetts Institute of Technology. Phillips, R. D. (2005). Does My Air Conditioner Make Me Fat? Retrieved October 29, 2012, from Quick, D. (2012, July 16). Keep cool downstairs with Kuchofukuâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s air-conditioned pants. Retrieved October 29, 2012, from www. RVTR. (2010). The Stratus Project. Retrieved November 22, 2012, from Spacedesign-Consultants. (2008). UBEST, Kolkata. Retrieved November 20, 2012, from Sterk, T. (2010). Prairie House. Retrieved November 02, 2012, from Vinnitskaya, I. (2010, November 17). Kiefer Technic Showroom/Ernst Giselbrecht+Partner. Retrieved July 02, 2012, from www.archdaily. com:

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B. Arch. Fifth Year academic session 2012-13

standing, row 1: Amri Chadha, Rohit Pratik, Tripti Mahaseth, Wate Zhiemi, Bomching Maio, Shashank Gautam, E. Kautilya,

Akhil Kumar, Nitesh Kumar, Ishwar Chandra Vidya Sagar, Aman Jain, Varun Dheora, Animesh Behera, Jyotirmoy Pathak, Harsidh Sonara, K. Aditya P. Madhav, Shashank Goyal, Alok Vats, Varun Bajaj, Manik Gupta, Rohan Patankar, Anuj Mittal, Kabilan S., Shruti Jalodia, Navaneethakrishnan, Balaram Munda, Divya Bansal, Garima Mendiratta, Mohd. Rashideen Saifi, Swati Rastogi, Bawesh Pradhan, Ugyen

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standing, row 2: V. Ratnakiran, Beeravelli Chetan, Ankur Yadav, Sushant Jain, Artika Aggarwal, Utkarsh Prakash, Varun Seth,

Nishant Gautam, Swati Goel, Tshering Denka, Ojaswini Singh, Ammani Nair, Bhavika Aggarwal, Vani Sood, Aishwaraya Bharatkumar, Shobitha Jacob, Ankit Sampatram, Nikit Deshlahra, Shila C. Abdula, Dyutisree Halder, Debashish Biswas, Ranvir Kumar, Tshering Penjor sitting: Priyanshi Shukla, Abhimanyu Mittal, Sumati Mattoo, Prof. Jaya Kumar, Prof. Dr. Ranjana Mital, Sandeep Ahuja, Saurabh Gupta

Department Of Architecture School Of Planning And Architecture 6-Block-B, Indraprastha Estate, New Delhi 110002

Seminars 2012: Architecture and Beyond  

A collection of seminars on architecture presented by the graduating class of the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, in October...

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