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` 150 JUL 2011 VOL 24 (11)


Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown by Charles Correa Architects


Water and Architecture

18 IA&B - JUL 2011


Architecture Transformation Mark Wigley, Dean, GSAPP, Colombia University, talks about the past, present and future of architecture and experimentation in conversation with IA&B. Photograph: courtesy Studio-X

An accomplished scholar and design teacher, Mark Wigley has written extensively on the theory and practice of architecture and is the author of Constant’s New Babylon: The Hyper-Architecture of Desire (1998); White Walls, Designer Dresses: The Fashioning of Modern Architecture (1995); and The Architecture of Deconstruction: Derrida’s Haunt (1993). He co-edited The Activist Drawing: Retracing Situationalist Architectures from Constant’s New Babylon to Beyond (2001). Wigley has served as curator for widely attended exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Drawing Center, New York; Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal; and Witte de With Museum, Rotterdam. He received both his Bachelor of Architecture (1979) and his Ph.D. (1987) from the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Mark Wigley is presently the Dean of Colombia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. IA&B. As the Dean of an institute like Columbia, how important do you think is it for students to interact with the realities in the field; to go out there and practice architecture, rather than in the confines of a studio? MW. The traditional power of the school is actually to pull oneself away from reality. That is the traditional strength; but you jump back in with more ideas and strength. So, the best schools are the ones where students work in the field and then in the lab, and keep passing backwards and forwards. In the field, you obtain a different kind of knowledge and in the laboratory you have a different experience, but what we have to do today is combine both. There has been a huge change in the last ten years. Maybe ten years back the most radical experiments happened inside the schools and the field would wait for the good news. But now, the real experiments are happening in real time and real situations, so the schools now have an entirely different function. So, my long answer to your question is yes, you’ve got to be in the field. In the field, you have to find sort of a micro-retreat. In the past, we would retreat to the university, or the Association of Architects or our books. Now you have to create, in the field, small spaces to think because sometimes in the real world, it is hard to think. IA&B. Based on your experience with various architectural styles over the period of time; from Philip Johnson to Frank O. Gehry to Daniel Libeskind, to the exhibitions that you have curated and the shifts that have you have witnessed architecture go through, do you think experimental architecture today has the same relevance as it had during the time of say, Philip Johnson or Frank Gehry? MW. The world is changing so fast these days that being a professional in today’s times simply means to be experimental. So, even the most boring architect has to have a research division. If you are making a skyscraper in say, Mumbai or Dubai or Africa or Latin America, each situation is radically different. So I would say that today there isn’t much difference between the experimental

let’s partner aesthetics of one architect as compared to the conservative aesthetics of another. But then you can make very radical architecture and still be a conservative architect. Now what we are really interested in is what would be the species of an experimental architect. And I think the new generation of architects is more radical than ever before. We now have a new generation that is multitasking and going global. They don’t like to buy an album, they like to mix. So you have a new species of architects, and this species, I think, will make all of the work of the likes of Gehry, Libeskind and Johnson almost irrelevant. IA&B. There is a divide in ideology; on one hand, you have celebrity architects making trophy buildings all over the world while on the other, you have this newly developing ideology of architecture which is primarily public-interest. This is a seemingly small change, but is big in terms of its relevance. So as a Dean of a school, you must have students inclined towards both these ideologies. How do you strike a balance in terms of academics and in terms of practice between both the ideologies? MW. Columbia is a laboratory, and the interest of Columbia is directed at questioning what species of architects will there in the field 10 years from now; not what kind of buildings, but what kind of architects. And about the division between celebrity architecture and micro architecture, I don’t think our students wish to make this decision. I think celebrity architecture is a very traditional idea about branding; these are architects being used to help turn a city into a commodity, a marketplace. So it doesn’t really represent any evolution of the architectural discipline, which most Columbia students are interested in. So they are more interested in the micro, but this certainly does not mean that they want to be micro people. They want to make micro adjustment in a new kind of social optimism. They are also very arrogant, strong and could be celebrities themselves. Also, I think I have never really met an architecture student who wants to be a celebrity; that somehow seems to be a horrible fate. The best architects, irrespective of them being celebrities or not, always think that their next project is going to be the best one. And then if you are a student, this is especially true because you don’t even have a project yet. So, I think in a school like ours, which is interested in the future, none of the celebrity architecture has any real, strong relevance. IA&B. To conclude with one last question, the time when you did the Deconstructivist exhibition, architecture was perceived as a function of form. And since then architecture slowly changed its role and is now perceived as a function of purpose. So do you see the transition in students of Columbia, who come from across the world? MW. Architects today are not very interested in form; perhaps they are more interested in organisation. They are interested in

the pattern of things. In other words, architecture is no longer simply physical. It is no longer simply the shape of an object; it is also the shape of social life, of finance, of political decisions, of human relationships. So I think, in my imagination, there is a new generation that thinks that they do not have to choose between form, image and function. They go in the middle, to the area of organisation. So these are architects who do not want to be naïve about money; it used to be a great honour for architects to be stupid about money but now architects want to be intelligent about it. They want to know about infrastructure, technology transfer, time, decision-making, democracy, and communication with clients. So you have a more multi-dimensional architect. This, however, is not a new idea. Vitruvius had said that an architect should know a little bit about history, mathematics, astronomy etc. So, a little bit about everything and not a lot about just one thing. What is it that the architect has to offer society? It is the ability to combine various forms of knowledge that don’t belong together. Now that architects are accepting that the real architecture of a city is multi-dimensional, the traditional ability of the architect to put many different forms of information together has become his strength. To think what is happening with cities, you have to think of 200 dimensions. Only the architect sees 200 dimensions and says, ‘Okay, let me see what I can do’, while every other field says ‘Oh, no no, I do the internet or I do banking’. Everybody else is very, very specialised. So now we see the return of the architect as the person who provides an organisation. This is a really interesting experiment. If I am from a generation where I can be talking to three different people at the same time on my phone, while searching the internet and reading a research report, while also watching the TV with my teacher in a different country, and I am now speaking a different language; this is definitely new species of an architect. So I am all enthusiastic and let’s see what happens. This is especially true here in India. If you are not multi-dimensional here in India, you are nothing. Mumbai is the only city in the world which, when I go back to New York, makes me think, ‘What happened? There is nobody here. Was there some kind of a bombing?’ It all seems very white and quiet. Where is all the traffic? I really think Mumbai is the future. And it is the future that needs a new kind of brain – the multi-dimensional architect. The architect is an intellectual; not a very practical person.

Studio-X - Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation’s global network of laboratories launched its Mumbai centre to the public on February 10, 2011. Studio-X labs function in New York City, Beijing and Amman to engage in cross-cultural, interdisciplinary, and cross-continental exchange of knowledge and information.


LET’S PARTNER Architecture and Transformation In conversation with Indian Architect & Builder, Mark Wigley, Dean, GSAPP, Colombia University, talks about the past, present and future of architecture and experimentation in design.

26 Chairman: Jasu Shah Publisher: Maulik Jasubhai Chief Executive Officer: Hemant Shetty


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Events, competitions and news from around the world.




Ahmedabad: Hitesh Parmar 64/A, Phase I, GIDC Industrial Estate, Vatva, Ahmedabad – 382 445, Tel: 079 2583 1042 Fax: 91-079-25831825, Mob: 09725877660, E-mail: Baroda 202 Concorde Bldg, Above Times of India Office, R C Dutt Road, Alkapuri, Baroda 390 007 Telefax: 91-0265-2337189, Mobile: 09725877660, E-mail: Bengaluru: Viresh Pandey Mobile: 09833747615, E-mail:

Combining hi-tech sustainable and green technologies with creative design, the NYBILLBOARD by Prachteck aims to revolutionise Manhattan’s skyline.


features to the heart of Mumbai, with twin commercial towers, O2.



ATS Golf Meadows Designed by Oru Bose, ATS Golf Meadows recreates the best of Chandigarh in a self-contained, plush golf-centred township.


yoopune yoo launches its first project in India ‘yoo inspired by Starck’ in Pune, embedding luxury, style and class into every unique, designer chic home.


TECHNOLOGY Energy Icon Taichung Echo Wind Tower is an exemplar of experiential architecture by a collaborative of Paris-based firm OFF Architecture, Philippe Rizzotti Architectes, and Samuel Nageotte.


ARCHITECTURE The Enigma of Space The Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown by Charles Correa Associates in Lisbon, Portugal, is an expression of architecture that is contemporary yet intrinsic to the place and the purpose for which it stands.

Secunderabad: JMPL, Cabin No 37, Reliance Business Centre, 303, Swapna Lok Complex, 92, Sarojini Devi Road, Secunderabad – 500 003, Tel: 040 5522 1050

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3Beirut Foster + Partners’ 3Beirut provides exclusive living spaces across three towers, establishing Lebanon as an internationally celebrated destination.

Hyderabad: N.Sri Narayana Chowdary Mob: 094944 85789, E-mail:

Kolkata: Epsita Mitra Mob: 096991 94200, E-mail:

O2 Happy Home brings international workspaces, modern technology and lifestyle

Chennai / Coimbatore: K Anil Kumar “Saena Circle“ No: 31/6, Ist Floor, Duraiswamy Road, T-Nagar, Chennai 600 017 Tel: 91-044-42123936, Mobile: 09962044460, E-mail: Delhi: Suman Kumar, Priyaranjan Singh, Rohit Chhajer, Preeti Singh Mudra E-mail:,,, 803, Chiranjeev Tower, No 43, Nehru Place, New Delhi – 110 019. Tel: 011 2623 5332, Fax: 011 2642 7404


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PRODUCTS Objects designed to substantiate architectural space.

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INTERNATIONAL A place for God Memorial 9, an expressive modern structure in Chile, is a chapel designed by Gonzalos Mardones Viviani Architects.

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FOCUS - Water & Architecture River & the city – A Continuum A riverfront development that carries the legacy of human beliefs, rituals and city culture - Pradeep Sachdeva Design Associates translates the mysticism of the banks of the river Godavari along Nanded.


Interventions on the Edge Architect Hafeez Contractor drafts an ambitious plan to connect and conciliate the broken waterfront coastline of western Mumbai.


Harnessing Raindrops Shama Dalvi designs a gated community in Yelagiri, Tamil Nadu, with a new perspective on rain water harvesting.


Re-Imagining Urban Infrastructure P. K. Das & Associates and the research cell at KRVIA propose to develop the Irla Nala in Juhu as a vibrant public space, as a part of a larger scheme titled ‘Vision Juhu-Expanding Public Spaces’.



COMMENT Sustainability: Global Concepts, Local Solutions Jyoti Hosagrahar, Director, Sustainable Urbanism, talks about exploring the multi-dimensional meaning of the term ‘sustainability’.



Chetana B.M tries to capture the essence of Gandhiji’s Hridaykunj through an intuitive photographic documentation in this edition of ‘space frames’ curated by Dr. Deepak J Mathew.

BOOK REVIEW Museum Design – The Future George Jacob, through this book, presents the myriad possibilities and points of view towards museum design, through a spectrum of chronicled works.


ART Addressing Space Architects Lijo Jos and Reny Lijo design space-specific installations in Laurie Baker’s Kerala Lalithakala Akademi Art Gallery in Thrissur to understand and interpret the space better.


DELHI DIALOGUES “Shaping Delhi” Tanvi Maheshwari of arch i writes on the four scenarios for Delhi forty years in the future, as a study in alternative imaginations of the city.

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current Citizen Media: A Global Innovation Competition Category Type Deadline

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International Open to all September 14, 2011

Ashoka Changemakers®, with the support of Google, seeks innovation in citizen media; innovations that have helped tranform the way people communicate or access news and information. The competition aims to honour innovations that allow easier communication, giving global citizens a voice. However, they should not be bound to the internet as a medium; any innovation in any form of communication of information technology is welcomed. Also, solutions would be accepted in a variety of international languages. Four entries stand to wish cash prizes, while the most competitive entry would be considered for an Ashoka Fellowship, which includes a three-year living stipend, international recognition and access to a network of systems-changing social entrepreneurs. For further information, log on to: Web:

The Dow Chemical Company Solar Design Competition 2011 Category Type Deadline

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International Open to students September 25, 2011

The Dow Chemical Company Solar Design Competition seeks to find new discoveries that would eventually lead to economical, energy sustainable homes that are not only viable, but also can adapt culturally to multiple regions. The competition specifically seeks designs for a building that comprises of three connected dwellings, which utilise active and solar technologies, in addition to other innovative and sustainable energy solutions to achieve almost-zero consumption of energy. The competition will allow participants to interact and peer review entries via competition websites and social media. Winners, too, will be detereminded via a peer-based evaluation process. For further information, log on to: Web:


Alternative Car Park Tower Category Type Deadline

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International Open to all October 15, 2011

WAN Interiors and Design Award 2011 Category Type Deadline

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International Open to all interior design projects October 31, 2011

The WAN Interiors and Design Award is a key international competition that celebrates and promotes the best talent in interior design, encouraging sustainability in architecture. It attracts entries from across the world and provides an excellent global platform for participants to showcase their designs. All interior design projects, for all building types, are eligible for the award. The WAN Award is known to pull together an unprecedented number of participants, who shall be judged by an internationally-acclaimed panel of judges for maximum exposure with possibly the smallest carbon footprint. For further information, log on to: Web:

D.Prize Exposynergy 2011 PBA Awards Design Category Type Deadline

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International Open to all October 31, 2011

The competition’s theme this year is ‘designing hospitality’ and focuses on welcoming visitors to large exhibitions, and cultural and sports events and in turn giving them an opportunity to visit the cities that host these events. The competition thus seeks entries from international designers to propose products and solutions that would enable tourists to feel ‘at home’ and fully enjoy the emotions of travel and discovery. These products and solutions should have the potential to maximise the comfort and enjoyment of the tourists. Also, participants are expected to consider that their designs should be easily accessible and provide for use by people with disabilities, temporary or permanent, as per the UN Convention on the rights of disabled people. For further information, log on to: Web:

Fentress Global Challenge 2011: Airport of the Future Category Type Deadline

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International Open to students October 31, 2011

The competition hunts for innovative car park designs for Hong Kong, to change the way users percieve car parks, with added emphasis on sustainabilty in design and architecture. The parking structure has captured the imagination of a variety of people, but often comes across as silent and imposing. The competition aims to generate designs for an iconic alternative car park tower in the heart of Hong Kong, which will also house opportunities for social gatherings like fashion shows, ceremonial dinners, art exhibitions, concerts etc. The design for the tower should not only be unique as a car park, but also reflect contemporary design tendencies of Hong Kong and blend in the urban fabric and skyline.

The competition encourages and engages students worldwide to explore the future of design possibilities in public architecture. The theme this year is the ‘airport of the future’ and students from across the globe are invited to participate in the competition. Winners shall receive cash prizes in addition to vast international exposure. Competitive concepts shall also feature online and in the Airport of the Future section of the touring international exhibition, Now Boarding: Fentress Airports and the Architecture of Flight, a multi-media engagement of the past, present and future of airport design. The exhibition shall travel internationally from 2012 to 2015. The aim of the competition is to envision what the future of airports could be; limitless possibilities are expected to be imagined. Participants are encouraged to explore the topic entirely, taking into consideration all aspects of traveller experience, aesthetics, security, sustainability, adaptibility, globalisation, urbanisation and innovation in materials.

For further information, log on to: Web:

For further information, log on to: Web:

IA&B - JUL 2011



current Eames Designs: The Guest-Host Relationship Date Venue

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October 01, 2011 - January 16, 2012 Los Angeles, CA

“The role of the designer,” said Charles Eames, “is that of a very good, thoughtful host, all of whose energy goes into trying to anticipate the needs of his guests.” On the lines of his famous statement, this iconic exhibition featuring the historic designs of Charles + Ray Eames from 1939 to 1982 examines their work from this key perspective. The theme will be investigated on the basis of explorations through a display of 80 pieces of vintage furniture, 21 screams streaming Eames film and slide shows as well as a variety of quotes from Charles + Ray Eames, an approach which is inspired by Eames’ landmark exhibitions of the 1950s, 60s and 70s. For further information, log on to: Web:

YAF 2011 Conference on Contemporary Architecture: Beyond Corbusierism Date Venue

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October 14 - 16, 2011 Chandigarh, India

The Young Architects’ Festival (YAF) 2011, organised by the Indian Institute of Architects (IIA) in Chandigarh is a celebration of Le Corbusier’s architectural works in India that added a new dimension to architecture in India. The Conference on Contemporary Architecture – Beyond Corbusierism is an excellent international platform for the exchange of ideas and experiences between experts from multiple disciplines. The conference would discuss the architectural profession on the basis of Le Corbusier’s work in India, which left an indelible mark on the footprints of modern India’s design sensibilities. The envisaged interaction would stimulate ideas and lead to better understanding of modern architecture and urbanisation on local, regional, and global levels. The conference would bring architects, planners, engineers and academicians on a common platform to discuss emerging trends, analyse threats and challenges and deliberate on the future of architecture in a global perspective. For further information, log on to: Web:

Urban Waterfronts 2011: 30 Years and Counting


Date Venue

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October 27 - 29, 2011 New York, US

The conference marks the Waterfront Centre’s 30th anniversary in 2011, as well as the approximate date when the waterfront redevelopment phenomenon took hold in the US and abroad. The conference will have announce the winner of the Centre’s annual awards programme and formulate a dialogue on urban waterfronts and their development and conservation. The conference topics shall range from tracking economic development over the period of 30 years, historic harbours as economic generators, building and maintaining mixed-use projects, tracking changes in policy, discussions on design issues and the role of public arts and artists, opportunities and problems in developing urban islands, and the potential of citizen and student initiatives. For further information, log on to: Web:

Inside - World Festival of Interiors Date Venue

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November 02 - 04, 2011 Barcelona, Spain

A brand-new festival, Inside celebrates the finest interiors and honours their creators in the picturesque backdrop of Barcelona, Spain. The festival captures the design zeitgeist in style through a series of curated events, talks, installations and a prestigious awards programme. The awards for interiors would be presented for various categories such as bars and restaurants, creative re-use, culture and civic, display, education, health, hotels, offices, residential, retail and transport. The awards would pitch the most exciting designers against each other to uncover the finest interior spaces across the above mentioned categories. The festival is expected to be a vibrant platform for creative thought, mutual inspiration and idea exchange. The festival also features a talk by Dezeen. For further information, log on to: Web:

India International Furniture Fair (IIFF) Date Venue

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November 16 - 18, 2011 Bombay Convention & Exhibition Centre, India

As one of the fastest growing emerging markets in the world, India presents huge opportunities for almost every sector. With buying powers increasing substantially, this especially holds true for the furniture and interior market. The India International Furniture Fair seeks to bring all the latest industry trends, trade statistics as well as the latest innovations and designs in innovative furniture under one roof. The comprehensive exhibition would be a one-stop premiere furniture marketplace for buyer and designers alike; an ideal location for international furniture makers, importers, retailers, designers and manufacturers to network. A wide range of exhibits will be on display, ranging from residential to commercial furniture. Also on display will be occasional and innovative furniture, which will be designed creatively and uniquely. Besides extensive promotions in the Indian subcontinent, attractive show highlights have also been planned to include a new-to-market product showcase and industry seminars on design trends and new product innovations. For further information, log on to: Web:

RIBA conference on Low Carbon Design Date Venue

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November 22, 2011 Watershed Media Centre, Bristol

Part of the RIBA conferences 2011 across five cities on five topics, the conference on low carbon design would discuss how the latest thinking on sustainability, retrofit and low carbon technology in design and architecture can be put into actual practice. It would also examine the role of architects and professionals in shaping the policy framework. The conference, with key speakers from RIBA, shall unlock the potential and power to deliver change. The conference will also hold workshops on strategies in non-domestic retrofit, achieving Passivhaus in retrofit, and design matters. For further information, log on to: Web:

30 IA&B - JUL 2011

current OMA to Design Parc des Expositions in Toulouse, France OMA has won the competition to design the new Parc des Expositions (PEX) in the innovation zone of Toulouse, southern France. PEX is conceived as a new gateway to the city and will host exhibitions, conferences, and concerts. The 338,000sqm project is designed to be a compact mini-city – an antidote to the sprawl of a standard exposition park, and a means to preserve the surrounding French countryside. Surpassing three submissions by internationally-renowned competitors, the project, led by OMA’s Director of French projects Clément Blanchet, will be completed by 2016. Blanchet commented, “This project is not only about architecture, but rather infrastructure. It’s a condenser for diversity, a machine that can promote an infinite amount of possibilities.” Rather than spreading across the entire available site, a patchwork of open fields and sporadic developments, OMA chose to designate a strip 2.8km long and 320m wide, crossed by the RD902 highway. The strip will act as a zone for future developments and link the river Garonne at one extreme and the Airbus A380 factory on the other.

Polish Architect Designs World’s Narrowest House in Warsaw A Polish architect has come up with a design for the world’s narrowest house, which will measure just 60 inches wide and fit between two tower blocks in Warsaw. The house will include one bedroom, a kitchen, bathroom and lounge over four floors. The design utilises the length of the tiny gap between the buildings, with each floor going back almost 40ft. Commenting on his design, architect Jakub Szczesny said, “I saw the gap and just thought it needed filling. It will be used by artists.” At present the world’s narrowest house is located on Great Cumbrae, off Scotland’s North Ayrshire coast, but while measuring 47inches at the front, ‘The Wedge’ stretches to 22ft at the back. Explaining the difference between the two buildings, a member of Szczesny’s team said, “Ours is the same all the way through, so we are narrower for longer.”


Cooper-Hewitt Closing its Doors for Two Years Primarily housed in the historic Andrew Carnegie Mansion on 5 th Avenue along New York City’s Museum Mile, the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum is closed for complete renovation until 2013. Cooper-Hewitt will continue to host exhibitions and education programmes at various off-site locations throughout the city until it reopens. New York–based firm Gluckman Mayner designed the new spaces, while Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners is the executive architect overseeing the historic restoration. Main goals for the project include expanded exhibition spaces within the building’s existing square footage and improved visitor experiences with better circulation and lighting. During the process, the museum’s first floor will be meticulously restored to its 19 th -century condition, with a new integrated lighting design to showcase the mansion’s original features. In addition to highlighting the building, first floor spaces will house a new textiles conservation lab and be home to This Is Design, a permanent exhibition detailing the museum’s mission.

Giant 600-Pipe Wind Chime Hangs under Bridge in Denmark Artist Mark Nixon has created the Chimecco - a 600-pipe wind chime that hangs from the belly of a bridge. The interactive sculpture turns an already gorgeous natural space into something quite a bit more musical. The sculpture is part of the 3 rd annual Sculpture by the Sea exhibition in Aarhus, Denmark. Nixon states, “Chimecco hides silently beneath the bridge in the forest until activated by human movements or the wind causing it to sing, dance and play with the senses.” The chime plays as people pass over the bridge or the wind blows under it; it is intended to be “hidden,” and would be discovered only by the whim of the breeze. But the beauty of the chime itself, let alone its sound, certainly draws the attention of the curious.

September 11 Memorial Plaza Set to Open This Year More than 24,000 visitor passes to the new September 11 memorial are gone; distributed in just the first hours after the ticket website went live. The memorial plaza opens to the public on September 12, a day after the 10 th anniversary. Families of those who died in the terror attacks will have special reservations to the memorial that bears the names of the 2,983 victims, including those who died at the Pentagon in Washington and aboard United Flight 93 that went down in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, as well as the six who perished in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. The names are inscribed on massive, waterfall-graced reflecting pools, ringed by hundreds of white oak trees. Officials have a dedicated telephone line for those who lost loved ones and want to visit. Planning for the eight-acre tribute started more than eight years ago. Approximately 600 people have worked to complete the memorial in time for this year’s 10 th anniversary. The harmonious result does not reflect the painful tussles and disagreements that accompanied the memorial, among families, officials, politicians, architects and the public. The current design emerged from a 2003 international competition launched by the Lower Manhattan Development Corp, a non-profit formed to plan the reconstruction of the area.

Tata Housing Plans Affordable Homes in Four Cities Tata Housing Development Company has announced it would develop its low-cost housing project ‘Subh Griha’ in at least four cities, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai and Mumbai, in the current fiscal to meet the growing demand for low-cost housing. The company is also looking at entering international markets through the public-private partnership (PPP) model. So far, the low-cost housing projects from Tata have been immensely successful. The company is now looking at metro and state capitals to meet housing demands, in partnership with the government. “Last year, we did around 9,000 homes while this fiscal we plan to double this,” Tata Housing Managing Director and CEO Brotin Banerjee said. Tata Housing has been growing at an-over 100 per cent CAGR (compound annual growth rate) for the last three years.

IA&B - JUL 2011


products BPL Study Lite BPL Study Lite, winner of the coveted Red Dot Award for product design, Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen, Germany, is a rechargeable study light. Arching with a graceful form, it aims to provide an idealised setting for light. Mainly focused for studious activities, it uses a high performance LED light that is ideal for human eyes. Besides the main benefits like being child-safe, operational at 12 volts, minimal heat radiation and no ultraviolet or infrared ray emission, it also embraces aesthetic qualities. The commitment to take lighting design to higher levels has been undertaken by the designer Abhijit Bansod of Studio ABD in collaboration with the BPL team. He found the inspiration in “the ring of halo that hovers above the head of the wise and saintly.� He envisioned the same enlightening over a studying child. The diversified simplicity is elaborated in the compact, portable and lightweight framework of the design. The whole ensemble is all the more impactful, with its eco-friendliness stated in solar charging capability and low power consumption. A deviant product, BPL Study Lite emerges as an ergonomic sensibility in lighting design. Designer: Abhijit Bansod Contact: Studio ABD Lakeview Farm, Near Shell Petrol Pump, Whitefield - Old Airport Road, Ramagondana Halli, Bengaluru - 560066, India Tel: +91 80 32471481 Email: / Web:



Based on the concept of capturing ambient light, Hydralamp functions on cooling systems. The cooling extends to the LED, to guarantee a lifetime lasting 50 hours. The whimsical threads of light create an unusual lighting experience, in addition to being an energy saver. On a comparative note, the designers say that it produces the same luminous power as a 20W halogen bulb, but consumes only 4W. Available in warm white or neutral colour, the lamp improvises technicality in form of the highest quality of LEDs, which are available in 400 or 800lm and a shell of anodised aluminium and tempered glass. The luminaire is 900mm high and the diameter of the stand is 280mm. Designer: Balint Tamasi Contact: Mangrove Creations Tel: +36202205705 Email: Web:

IA&B - JUL 2011


products Gio Minimal and impactful – the concept of Gio, hanging lamp has been delineated on the advantages of dematerialisation. The designers have portrayed the holistic semblance and essence of a source, encircled in the form of a bright light. The surface possesses a sensual quality in its simple expressions. As the designers put it, “The technology is at the service of emotions, light and powerful, like the drawing of a child.” Gio illustrates light in a different form – as intense, subtle and a powerful oxymoron. Smooth and supple, the light uses a polycarbonate diffuser, effective both for umbilical cord power and support. Gio harmonises a sleek form in contrast to the conventional types, yet celebrates functionality and eco-friendliness.

Designer: Enrico Martellucci Contact: angeletti ruzza design vicolo tosti 1a, 02100 rieti Tel: 0746.296920 Email: Web:



Devising creativity out of unexplored flexibility of banana fibre, Jenny Pinto uses the fibre’s luster and malleability to fashion the lamp – Spider. A translucent texture is composed from the banana fibre, which lends a suffused lighting to the ambience. The distinguished feature of the material is that it can be sculpted to any sensibility and form. In this particular lamp, Jenny Pinto has combined natural forms and colours by using hand-cut granite base and banyan tree aerial roots to embellish the tones of the hand-sculpted paper. Measuring 9x9x16inch in size, it conforms to the usage of 25watt candle bulb or 11watt CFL. An extra dimension to handmade paper, the design appreciates a heightened sensibility in natural materials.

Designer: Jenny Pinto Contact: COSMOPOLIS 255, 10 th Main 1 st cross, Indiranagar II nd Stage, Bengaluru - 560 038 Tel: +91 80 65590399 Email: Web:

IA&B - JUL 2011


products The Glass Chair The Glass Chair is a take on progressive modernism, synonymous to the designer’s own ideology of work; replete with incisive detailing in use of glass and wood. It is shaped to stretch glass to its physical limits, enclosed within a complementing frame of locally grown Indian Teak. The glass insert is composed of individual panes of glass that sit lightly in the strong curves of the wood. The form is reminiscent of the fluidity of billowing sails tethered to a teak mast, which recalls the strong appeal that oceans held for the designer as a child. It also facilitates the structural strength, as the designer says, “By placing the outer surface of the glass in tension, the seat and the backrest can hold an occupants weight without breaking.” The texture and transparency elevates The Glass Chair as an experimentative and elegant alternative for domestic surroundings. Designer: Asad Firdosy Contact: asad firdosy design Firdos Furnishers, 4 Farmland Layout, Pt. J.N.Marg, Ramdaspeth, Nagpur - 440012 Tel: +91 9822642288 Email: Web:

Dining chair in bamboo


The antiquated use of wood in furniture design works against the resource reserves that people are striving to work for in the present day. A step in this direction, designer Prajakta Bamanikar has applied a thoughtful use of bamboo to meet the demands of sustainability. The robust joinery has been refined by use of wrought iron. The design implements a stackable form, and vibrancy has been introduced by the colourful earthy dyes. For deeper shades, bamboo was kept in the smoke chambers to induce more colour durability. The advantageous aspects are engraved in smaller detailing, like removable mats for customising and ease of transport. The ease of comfort is expressed in fluid form, sculpted in form of curves at hip level for a relaxed sitting feel. The front two legs are curved to afford no noise while dragging. Overall, the chair was developed under the guidance of A.G. Rao – a proposal to use industrial material to effect a change in upcoming design process. Designer: Prajakta Bamanikar Contact: 101, Green Park Apartment, Near Hotel Leeshan, Ghatage colony, Kolhapur - 416003 Maharashtra. India Tel: 0 993 007 5551 Email:

IA&B - JUL 2011


products Bunny Designed on a symbolism of happiness and fun that bunny ears represent, Bunny enhances the ambience of interactive zones. As the designer says, “It’s for the grown-up kid in all of us.” The chair is materialised of basic components crafted from steel base pipe, acrylic seat and backrest. The form flows freely, continuing as a base pipe to seat and backrest. The acrylic sheet refines a qualitative low-maintenance usage. Handy to use, the chair also can be hung on a table while cleaning. A classic interpretation of a simple concept defined in a contemporary guise brings about an intriguing combination of geometrics and casualness.

Designer: Anindya Das Gupta Contact: Tel: (0) 9353110703 Email:



Seeming to be a carved form a singular sheet of metal, the contemporaneous form of Glide traces the trajectory flight of a bird for whom the sky is the limit. The chair’s purpose and form existence are delineated in the designers’ own words, “Man always created things for his survival, then he innovated and improvised things for his comfort; to lead a better life. Today, man has become so busy chasing his goals that he has forgotten to live. Glide is for such people who always push their limits and exhaust themselves in the process.” The curvilinear form invigorates peace and serenity and refreshes the user. Aluminium and lacquered fibreglass form the shell of the chair, which is also available in black and white. The end result is a chair that offers flexibility in function and materiality.

Designer: Kedar Naik Contact: 704 SilverBell, Mulund (west), Mumbai - 400080 India Tel: +91 9320562263 Email: Web:

40 IA&B - JUL 2011

IN-PARADISE Bringing together a combination of sustainability and new technology, the designer’s inspiration lies in the idea to design avante-garde sustainable products. The versatile material explores a contemporary design of banana fibres with an inbuilt LED system. Apart from the renewability of banana, it lends inspiration to the name and asymmetrical form – derived from “the bird of paradise” flower, one of the exotic varieties found amidst the banana family. Banana stem extracts are woven together to form a textural fabric, enhanced with the same natural hue and patterns. An elaborative manufacturing process is used, wherein the banana fabric is inlaid on an inner framework. Tailored to provide a varietal usage to the user, the product unfolds into a side or end-table or just a conversational art piece. The design integrates the lighting as both ambient and reading light with a flexible arm adjustment for the user. As the designer puts it, “The main principle that the design advocates is of simplicity, sleekness and sustainability.”

Designer: Sangeetha Balakrishnan Contact: “Visvaas” New No 19, Old no 9 Singari street, Mylapore, Chennai - 600004 Tel: 09840070935 Email:

Stand Up Collection


Innovativeness rises in many forms – an example of which is illustrated in the multifunctionality of Stand Up Collection designed by Phillip Don. The clutter of a workplace is an unwelcome aspect, which accumulates in form of heaps. As an easy option to afford comfort and effortless cleaning, the Stand Up Collection is a desk created as a block, which can also be used as a bookshelf. It expands to provide various forms like a stool, chair, hanger and many more that the imagination can stretch to incorporate. The desk is composed of MDF, Duralumin and steel, whereas the chair is of MDF and Duralumin. Bracketed in an affordable range, the desk is priced at $5500 and the chair, at $650.

Designer: Phillip Don Contact: 256-38, Sangbong1-dong, Jungrang-gu, Seoul, Korea Tel: +82.10.2578.2411 Email: Web:

IA&B - JUL 2011


construction brief

View of the NYBILLBOARD at night, the proposed addition to Manhattan’s skyline.

The NYBILLBOARD Combining hi-tech sustainable and green technologies with creative design, the NYBILLBOARD by Prechteck aims to revolutionise Manhattan’s skyline. Text compiled by: Sharmila Chakravorty


he NYBILLBOARD proposal by Prechteck addresses the development of sustainable strategies for the future. With more and more people thronging to cities, Prechteck believes that the city’s fabric has no option but to grow vertically. This design aims to add a new dimension to the vertical fabric of the city of Manhattan. The proposal is an elevated link between the towers, with abundant public functions, bicycle lanes and walkways. The roofs are integrated to the grid, giving the ground area back to the public, introducing public life into the skyline of Manhattan. That, in essence, is the unique aspect of the design. The NYBILLBOARD will act as the latest attraction for Manhattan, elevating the public to a new urban level. The design also accommodates green and sustainable technologies. Solar and photovoltaic panels on the 14,000sqm surface of the towers will produce around 7,200,000KW hours/year. It will also employ helical wind turbine technology with the 60m gap between the main functions of the structure. The west side of the tower will have 110 turbines attached to it, with a

The diamond-shaped NYBILLBOARD structure.

potential to generate 13 per cent of the total energy needs of NYBILLBOARD. There are also facilities to harvest rainwater on the 7300sqm roof, which will be subsequently channelled into tanks, collecting more water than the tower can utilise. The ingenious diamond shape of the façade requires fewer steel beams, also allowing for maximum sunlight to enter the tower, minimising costs. The tower also has an algae cultivation system on its façade that sucks up CO 2 from the surrounding as the algae grow. The bio-diesel consequently produced by the algae is non-toxic and can be utilised as biodegradable fuel, making the NYBILLBOARD extremely efficient as well as green.

FACT FILE: Project Location Architect Status


: : : :

The NYBILLBOARD Manhattan, USA Prechteck Proposal

46 IA&B - JUL 2011 View of Happy Home’s O2 at night.

O2 Happy Home brings international workspaces, modern technology and lifestyle features to the heart of Mumbai, with twin commercial towers, O2.


esigned by Jayendra Patel, O2 by Happy Home aims to craft workspaces integrated with nature, creating the perfect synergy for an ideal work environment. With 15 stories of varied office spaces ranging from 1200sqft to 12,000sqft, O2 will rise taller than usual 15-storey buildings given its generous 14ft floor-to-ceiling height. Located off the LBS Marg, Mulund, Happy Home’s twin commercial complex promises to be the new landmark in Mumbai’s suburban skyline, fulfilling Happy Home’s vision of commercial and creative excellence. Sprawled over 200,000sqft and complete with international workspaces, modern lifestyle features and technology, O2 offers a calm and serene ambience of greenery and unrestricted space. The material palette and design aesthetics clearly indicate efforts by Happy Home to offer the best-in-class experience to O2’s occupants. Offices at the 15 th level would have the provision of sky gardens. O2 not only offers the basic provisions of storage in each office unit, but also provides

state-of-the-art fire-fighting devices and hi-tech security systems. The project also includes a high-end gymnasium, spa and cafeteria for relaxation and entertainment. O2’s glass façade allows adequate sunlight to permeate into the tower, while overlooking the 20,000sqft podium garden and Yeoor Hills. The wide frontage would help create retail spaces for showrooms as well as provide for ample parking spaces. Targeted at the SME segment, O2’s favourable location will significantly cut down on travelling time for suburban professionals.

FACT FILE: Project Location Architect Client

: : : :

O2 Off LBS Marg, Mulund Jayendra Patel Happy Home

48 IA&B - JUL 2011 Towers at the ATS Golf Meadows.

ATS Golf Meadows Designed by Oru Bose, ATS Golf Meadows recreates the best of Chandigarh in a self-contained and plush golf-centred township.


ited 12kms from Chandigarh airport, at Dera Bassi, ATS Golf Meadows borrows the best aspects of Chandigarh and recreates them in a grand township that is beautifully laid out around a golf facility. Designed by world renowned Oru Bose of Bose International, Florida, ATS Golf Meadows is touted to be a large self-contained development. The 300acre township offers its residents a variety of housing options, ranging from luxurious, spacious villas and independent floors, to modern, Mediterranean-style apartments. The two-storied independent villas at ATS Golf Meadows are either 3150sqft or 4500sqft in size. These villas are extremely plush, spacious and functional, with a separate guest room, servant quarter, car parking, and balconies in every bedroom. Also available are independent floors of 3000sqft and 4000sqft that create a perfect balance between independent villas and apartments. They are equipped with all modern facilities like modular kitchens, marble flooring, well-furnished interiors etc to name a few. Apartments of 3 and 4BHK are spaciously sized between 1800sqft to 2200sqft. The landscaped gardens offer delightful views, brilliantly combining form, function, design and aesthetics. The township has a school, hospital, 5-star hotel with large banquet halls, shopping mall, retail park, luxurious club house, a golf drive-up and sports facilities in close vicinity. The township also has office complexes to cater to professional and business needs. With elaborate use of rustic stones, texture paints, wooden flooring, Italian marble and vertical

landscaping, amongst other things, ATS Golf Meadows’ swish style would certainly appeal to one and all.

FACT FILE: Project Location Architect Client Project Area Project Estimate

: : : : : :

ATS Golf Meadows Dera Bassi, near Chandigarh Oru Bose of Bose International, Florida ATS Group 300acres `1800 crores

construction brief

Interiors by yoo, at yoopune.

yoopune yoo launches its first project in India ‘yoo inspired by Starck’ in Pune, embedding luxury, style and class into every unique, designer chic home.


spiring to redefine the way India looks at living, world-leading design company yoo has launched its first project in India ‘yoo inspired by Starck’, at Pune for Panchshil Realty. The yoopune project, designed by Phillipe Starck, comprises of six towers that will house 228 ultra luxurious and swish designer homes, overlooking 5 acres of lush, historic rainforest, with trees as old as 100 years. Sited near Hadapsar, next to Magarpatta, the development is spread over 17 acres and includes exclusive amenities like the world renowned Six Senses spa, swimming pools for adults and kids, basketball and tennis courts, a tea lounge and a cigar room, round-the-clock concierge, library, cinema halls, cabanas, fitness centre, sauna, yoga centre, and juice bar, amongst others. Bill Bensley, award winning international landscape architect, has been roped in to create the exotic rainforest-like natural environment that would surround the homes. The yoopune homes will have the best of European designer fixtures and finishes, including exquisite Italian marble, German designer modular kitchens from Poggenpohl with Siemens appliances, etc. Targeted at upmarket audiences, yoopune presents a classy lifestyle with luxury and style embedded in every aspect. The look and design aesthetic of yoopune spells understated luxury; luxury that is clean, modern and definitely not ostentatious. The interior design, ‘Interiors by yoo’, is simple, sophisticated and understated. One can choose from Nature or Classic, depending on one’s preferences and design sensibilities. Natural light, warmth and inclination towards the colour green mark the Nature-based

style of interior design, while urban sophistication, traditional character and craftsmanship define the Classic style of Interiors by yoo. Pune, too, presents itself as a perfect setting for yoo’s first project in India, given the vibrant multicultural fabric that the city has to offer. The yoopune project would not only establish Pune’s significance in the real estate sector in India, but also place Pune on the realty map of the world. yoo’s commitment to building and nurturing a world-class environment with iconic, international standard and quality in design and construction makes yoopune one of the most desirable addresses across the world, bringing otherwise unreachable designs of celebrated designers to opulent homes in Pune.

FACT FILE: Project : Location : Designer : Landscape Architect : Client : Design Team : Interiors :

yoopune Pune Phillipe Starck Bill Bensley Panchshil Realty Philippe Starck, Marcel Wanders, Jade Jagger, Anouska Hempel, Kelly Hoppen Interiors by yoo

IA&B - JUL 2011



xpressive lements

With a sculptural form and expressive skin that manipulates wind, displays and connects as a technological interface, Taichung Echo Wind Tower is an exemplar of experiential architecture in collaboration by Philippe Rizzotti Architectes, OFF Architecture and Samuel Nageotte. Text: Maanasi Hattangadi Photographs: courtesy Philippe Rizzotti Architectes, OFF Architecture and Samuel Nageotte

The Tower rises over 350m as a sculpturesque form.



he divisive form of wind energy has been explored and exploited to advocate various forms of sustainable design. An innovative step further in this direction is the conformity of wind to characterise the building itself. Philippe Rizzotti Architectes, OFF Architecture and Samuel Nageotte lay an extra emphasis on ‘building-wind-sustainability’ balance in their design of Taichung Echo Wind Tower. Striking and voluminous in its making, Taichung Echo Wind Tower has been designed as an observatory of the central Taiwan ecosystem, ranging from the Central Mountain Range to the South China Sea. Positioned along the Taichung basin, the Tower will rise upto 350m as a singular element, marking the city skyline. The outer shell of the building will be composed of two million suspended thin metal leaves which, combined with a two degree inclination, another

signature feature of the building, will reflect the various hues nearby to form a visual reference in the landscape. The mirror effect will escalate the sense of being of the visitors as they approach the tower, enhanced by the contrasting backgrounds and viewpoints. Apart from serving an aesthetic outlook, the architects have reframed the usage as an urban design response to sustainability. In the architect’s words, “The façades shows patterns of air flows that are derived as monumental flows of expressions of the natural context and its immediate climatic conditions. Its skin symbolises the cohesion of the surrounding habitat, while the evolving winds provide transformations of its form.” The façade has been used as a transformative element that strengthens the underlying character of the technological impact that the building betrays. The metal leaves are formulated to tilt up against wind, which operate 64 internal helicoidal wind turbines, generating enough energy to make the building fully sustainable. The


The Tower is a dynamic entity against the night skyline of the city.


“Its skin symbolises the cohesion of the surrounding habitat, while the evolving winds provide transformations of its form”



mode of expression is of a dynamic tool that interacts with the surroundings, the people, with wind and lastly, as a visual graphic element that lights up the night landscape. As the day fades, the Tower converts into a two million pixel LED vertical display that digitises a variety of images on the facade. A spacious forecourt is delineated as an isostatic tripod on which the Tower is retrofitted. The flexibility in the spatial volume is manifested as a block space consisting of a lobby, office block and singular mirrored shape. The floating structure – the tower anchored to the tripod, is extended under the tripod as the Museum of Taichung City Development that exhibits a model of the Taichung metropolis, comprised of key historical urban fragments, architectural landmarks and views of the cityscape. Its accomplishments inclusive of educational programmes are broadcast on the ‘sky scraping screen’. The oeuvre is an agenda for both cultural and democratic propaganda. The structural conditions of such sculpteresque avenue are not only complex but also flexible. The architects have described the robust structural details as, “The mast is formed out of a tubular open steel structure and suspended at approximately half the height. A series of internal ribs stabilises the structure around its slender axis and, together with the cables, allows a reduction of the structural depth to a minimum.” Further to this, a multi-disciplinary structural framework has been established. Rectangular tubular members constitute the formation of trusses that in turn form walls and ribs. The design finds innovative approaches on multiple levels; inclination of cables at 60 degrees as an exemplar. The base structure is made of concrete. The entire volume gives clarity to strategic thinking of wind load and seismic load controls. The endeavour enhances a logic of structural and sustainable opportunity, stripping away the conventional method of architecture and technology. Created on a contemporary note, the Tower addresses broader definitions of architecture. “The archetypal perspective is flipped into a new contemporary

The building façade is composed of metal leaves that reflect the landscape and approaching visitors, enhancing a whole new experience.











view of space organisation, illustrated by the array of a visitor’s viewpoints. The tower strongly displays, in its design, the vibrance of the Taiwanese democratic identity and echoes the technological proficiency that supports the conscious and sustainable urban development of the central metropolis, within the central Taiwanese ecosystem,” explain the architects. The Tower’s iconic strength will reciprocate the identity and culture of Taiwan city. It defines infinite possibilities in sustainability and the shape of things to come.



Project : Location : Architects :

Taichung Echo Wind Tower Taichung City, Taiwan Philippe Rizzotti Architectes, OFF Architecture and Samuel Nageotte

54 IA&B - JUL 2011


Enigma of Space The Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown by Charles Correa Associates in Lisbon, Portugal, is a manifestation of meaning through architecture that is contemporary, yet intrinsic to the place and the purpose for which it stands. Text: Ruturaj Parikh Essays: Charles Correa and Sankalp Meshram Photographs: Jose Campos; arqf architectural photography, Colin Mosher, Rosa Reis, Sachin Agshikar; courtesy Charles Correa Associates

The Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown by Charles Correa Architects in Lisbon, Portugal.



What makes me most proud about this project is that it is not a Museum of Modern Art. On the contrary, it uses the highest levels of contemporary science and medicine to help people grappling with real problems; cancer, brain damage, going blind. And to house these cutting-edge activities, we tried to create a piece of architecture. Architecture as sculpture. Architecture as beauty. Beauty as therapy.



In Search of the Unknown


eldom do we come across a building or a built environment that translates into architecture. On the terminal end of a promenade that runs diagonally through Charles Correa’s Champalimaud Centre in Lisbon, is an elusive object; a hemispherical shell that emerges from a surface of a waterbody from in between two concrete monoliths to reflect the sky. The waterbody seamlessly merges with the water of the confluence between river Tagus and the Atlantic Ocean; a bend in the feature that took sailors of the likes of Vasco da Gama on a voyage in search of the unknown.

What makes this site very special is that it is the place from which five hundred years ago Vasco da Gama and the other great navigators went forth on their voyages of discovery - a perfect metaphor for the discoveries of contemporary science today. This is why more than 50% of the site has been given back to the city of Lisbon, for its citizens to celebrate that history - without, in anyway, compromising the privacy of the medical activities, and vice versa. The site plan is a yin-yang pattern of interlocking spaces.

On this unique site opposite the historic Tower of Belem, the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown is designed as a composition of three structures: a state-of-the-art research facility, a composite building housing conference centre and offices, and an amphitheatre connected cohesively by a promenade with unrestricted public access. There is a conscious attempt to return half of the significant site to the city of Lisbon in the form of public space. Architecture of this Champalimaud Centre resists description. An understated attempt is made to give form to the metaphors linked with the site as Charles Correa’s architecture belongs to the realm of the metaphysical as much as it deals with the physical; an expression of Christian Norbert-Schulz’s Genius Loci – an endeavour to render form to the unknown.


The built form of the research wing by twilight.

Sun sets beyond the raised public space with two concrete columns at the terminal end of the public spine.



And we have also attempted to use nature as therapy; the water around us, the sky above, the healing presence of rain forests. All these are therapies for the patients.

The research and administrative buildings connected by the bridge.

Comprehensive formal articulations of the built form.



The administrative and convention block in the foreground connects to the research facility by a steel and glass bridge.

The amphitheater overlooks the confluence of the Tagus and the Atlantic Ocean.


Gandhi Smarak, Ahmedabad.

Snail’s Trail by Charles Correa Like the trail that a snail leaves in its wake as it inches forward, over the years an architect leaves behind a body of work, generated by the attitudes he gradually accumulates towards the agenda he deals with: climate, building materials, structural systems, functional requirements, and so forth. Here in India, the extraordinary inventiveness with which this agenda has been addressed in some of our traditional architecture (both vernacular as well as formal), has always impressed me greatly - e.g. the incomparable Red Fort in Agra with its ingenious use of sunken courtyards for daytime living, and terrace gardens and pavilions for evenings and early mornings. And the poly-centric mud houses of Banni in Kutch. And also the old colonial bungalows, the ingenious principle of the protective verandah around the main living areas - and the hierarchal pattern this produces. These principles helped generate many of my projects, like the Tube House, the Ramakrishna House, Kanchanjunga apartments, and so forth. To me, these factors of

Handloom Pavilion for 1958 fair.

61 climate, materials, etc. were – and continue to be – of decisive importance. But there are other concerns that start to accumulate in your mind (and in your drawing hand) as you go through life. And they also contribute to the trail you leave behind. Thus from my earliest work, creating open-to-sky spaces - and the conviction that enlightenment was far less likely to come from the Little Red School House than from the guru sitting under a tree - was decisive.

Koramangla House, Bengaluru.

Then again from my earliest work, I found myself creating a pathway through the project - which I did instinctively, like a ritualistic pathway. I think this pathway is a universal impulse, in all human beings, and in all cultures and religions - and you find it in the pradakshina that encircles the Buddhist stupa and defines the garbha griha in Hinduism, and that makes the processional around the Kaba in Mecca, and the Novenas circumambulating the great cathedrals and churches of Italy and Spain. It seems to be basic to all humankind. People who feel this compulsion but who are not particularly religious might, like Corbusier, call it ‘the Architectural Promenade” - but this is just a ‘secular’ phrase to express what is, in reality, a deeply human and sacred instinct. In my case, it occurred right from my initial projects, like the Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya at the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad. This small meandering complex is experienced, not as an object, but as a pathway - sometimes covered, sometimes enclosed, sometimes open-to-sky - that one moves along. The same is true of an even earlier project, the Handloom Pavilion for the 1958 Fair in Delhi - which was designed, built and commissioned within three months! So there was no time to ponder and re-think and start again - one just was propelled onward by one’s instincts.

Jawahar Kala Kendra, Jaipur.

IUCAA, Pune.

Another principle which concerns me more and more as the years go by is the power of the empty centre - and the way it has occurred and continues to re-occur down the centuries. It has many expressions - we’ll examine just three. For instance, the empty centre of a house around a courtyard is really shunya, i.e. nothingness - but because of its repeated viewings as one moves around the house, in our minds, it metamorphises into bindu, the source of all energy. And this is what also happens in the Vedic manadala - the center is both shunya as well as the brahman, the all-pervading principle of the universe. And then in modern times, it re-surfaces again in contemporary science - where a Black Hole is perceived by physicists as a vortex of energy, devouring itself. It is a pattern that occurs again and occurs throughout history - like a paradigm that has been hard-wired into our brains. Looking back over my own work, I see several examples - most obviously, the Koramangla House in Bengaluru, the Jawahar Kala Kendra in Jaipur, and the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics in Pune. The third concern (obsession!) that has grown through the years, is the non-building. This involves experiencing architecture not as an object one looks at, but as an energy field one moves through. As I have written

62 elsewhere, almost all western architecture, from the Greeks down through Palladio to Corbusier and the modern day conceives of architecture as an autonomous and palpably man-made object that does not imitate nature, but exists in dialogue with it. Hence, the Parthenon in Athens. But the ancient traditions of Asia - Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism - seem to have come down quite a different pathway. Their roots cannot be defined by the simplistic dichotomy of nature versus man - no, the relationship of humans to nature, of building to hill, is far more complex, pluralistic and ambiguous.

Bharat Bhavan, Bhopal.

And so the possibilities of the non-building have always interested me - thus in Bharat Bhavan in Bhopal, one moves through a series of spaces which are more landscape than building - and one does not ascend to the top of the hill where the gods live, but instead descends gradually down to level of the water in Bhopal Lake. Other examples would include the Indian Pavilion (which sadly was never built) at EXPO-1970 in Osaka. All these concerns underlie and reinforce a fundamental belief of mine, viz, that architecture is a metaphor, and that since the beginning of time, we have always used the most inert materials, like stone and brick and wood, to express the invisibilia that move us. And in this process, I see Champalimaud as a culmination of the many vectors that have absorbed my imagination. It is first of all about open-to-sky space and the metaphysical enlightenment this can evoke. Then it is about the ritualistic pathway leading diagonally across the site to the Atlantic Ocean. Then it is about the empty centre - and the energy that emptiness can epitomise. And it is also a recall of the non-building - those three long curved walls that define the walkway are gestures that belong more to landscaping, than to building. And lastly, this Champalimaud Centre, built for cutting-edge research in science and medicine, is also an example of architecture as metaphor, as a journey into the unknown, evoking those incredible voyages undertaken by the great navigators more than 500 years ago.

Proposal for India Pavilion, Osaka, 1970.

Champalimaud centre for the Unknown, Lisbon, Portugal.


“A piece of engineering jewellery� - the bridge designed by Joerg Schlaich.


A Gesture of Place Architecture of the Champalimaud Centre does not resemble a building. Executed with the meticulous discipline of modernism, the design is read as an environment, rather than an object. As we try to comprehend the spatial impact of the design, we can feel the intuitive connection it had to the site on which it stands, the water around it and the sky above – forces that have always influenced the ideas of Charles Correa. The rigour of formal austerity and control is read in the impeccable lines of the Lioz stone of the walls, the lightness of the glass bridge, and detail of the transparent aperture in the auditorium that frames the Tower of Belem.

The plaza level would be imperceptibly sloped upward, so that as one moves towards the ocean, all one really sees ahead is the sky: the vast enigmatic sky. Two huge monolith columns would announce the presence of the infinite unknown that lies beyond. And as one finally reaches those monoliths, one sees not the river, nor the ocean, but a pool of water in which there is a mysterious object. What is it? The back of a turtle? A malevolent jellyfish? An exotic island? It is what you have set out to discover. And when you reach this high point. . .magically the water of the pond seems to merge with the river beneath it. . .and thence with the vast Atlantic Ocean beyond. Connections between the built forms and elements of the brilliant Portuguese sky, the confluence of the Tagus with the Atlantic Ocean, and the landscape of the site develop from an intangible relation that the building establishes with its context, while trying to frame the meaning of the site. The forces of nature and their beauty in all their brilliance become an inherent part of the architecture as an expression of the idea of beauty as therapy. The landscape within the court is envisioned to develop into a rainforest ecosystem to aid healing through the environment. Architecture is revealed in gestures, rather than statements.

Conceptual sketch - the idea behind the genesis.

Schematic diagram of the evolved design.





14 6




4 3

17 8 11


2 16

3 4 7 3 3

10 3 4

Legend: 1. Reception 2. Waiting 3. Treatment 4. Doctors 5. Vivarium 6. Administration 7. Library 8. Sunken Garden 9. Infusion Garden 10. Ambulance Entry

11. Service Yard 12. Auditorium Foyer 13. Restaurant 14. Kitchen 15. Exhibition Area 16. Amphitheatre 17. Bar 18. Plaza 19. To Basement





The Elusive Non-building by Sankalp Meshram As a film maker, I always look at the character of a space. That is what decides for me how I will shoot it. Things like colors, textures, pathways etc. all contribute to the character of the space. But even more importantly, I try to feel the intention behind the built forms I see. That feeling is as much a real thing as the other physical things that constitute my vision. My job as a film maker is to try and share the interiority of my experience through a careful choice of images, their order and duration. It is no doubt a subjective view of space but funnily, the more truthful you are to your subjectivity, the more universal you become. So each architectural space is represented differently, because the experience of different spaces is never the same. Now when I look at the images of Charles Correa’s Champalimaud Center for the unknown, I first ask myself - what is the character of this space? First and foremost is, of course, the sheer beauty of the forms you see. It is modernism at its best. You can see that the lines have been made in a moment of sheer creative epiphany. But it’s not just a mad, trance-like moment; instead, there is reason and control even as the architect’s hand makes those bold strokes. It’s a moment you can have only when your mind has prepared for years to ‘let go’. And beyond the formal beauty, you also sense that there is a deeper idea submerged in the forms. You are moved by it, even if you don’t quite know what it is. The whole place is like a beautiful and enigmatic sculpture. You might think that ordinary buildings too can be made to look good by some skillful photography. But in this case you can be sure that the beauty of the images is not in the skill of the photographer but in the enigma of the forms that he is shooting. The Champalimaud building is truly the most enigmatic of all Correa’s creations because even if you plainly see what is in front of you, your mind cannot fully comprehend it. The logic of the lines is quite mysterious...And so you look at them again and again till you give up on winning the game intellectually. Once you surrender, the phenomenon takes over...making it a perfect non-building...a non-revealed object...even if it is in plain sight!! The enigmatic and mysterious character of the space is carefully created to give you a psychological experience of the building which is beyond simple label judgments. Once you stop judging and trying to consume the buildings through nomenclature and recognition - the amazing journey of the place begins, where each image becomes an event in your mind and you stop seeing the building and begin to experience it as a place and not as a thing... That is the secret of the non-building - a building that you cannot see even if it is in plain sight. And as a film maker I would strive to share this with my viewers.

Sankalp Meshram is a Law Graduate from Mumbai, with a diploma in Film Editing from Film and Television Institute of India, Pune. He is working as a Film Editor and Director in the Mumbai film and television industry since 1994, having directed and edited many prestigious projects in both film and television. He has won two National Awards, one as an Editor in 2001 for ‘Lok Priya’ in the non-feature film category and one as a Feature Film Director for ‘Chhutkan Ki Mahabharat‘ in the Best Children’s Film category, 2005. He has also won an IDPA Award for Best Editing for the documentary - ‘Riding Solo to the Top of the World’ in 2007. Sankalp Meshram co-directed ‘Volume Zero’, a film on the architecture of Charles Correa.


Two concrete monoliths frame the brilliant Portuguese sky.

Hemispherical sculpture in the waterbody reflects the sky.

Formal austerity of the concrete columns.


Internal courtyard of the research facility is landscaped to develop into a rainforest ecosystem.

Terminal landscape of the administrative building - “Beauty as therapy�.


Oval aperture in the auditorium frames the Tower of Belem.

Stark interior space of the centre.



We had chosen Lioz stone and prepared drawings showing the exact dimensions of every stone on every surface - beautifully done. Then finally the glass. Last of all the overhead bridge: which must be a gossamer thing of glass and steel tension wires. What we got was perfect: a superbly engineered and fabricated piece of engineering jewellery. The elegant way it connects the two stone walls on either side is unforgettable.



The poetics of place - an ascetic presence of the steel and glass bridge as it hovers silently above the promenade.


Meaning 500 years ago, Portuguese sailors left in search of the unknown, taking the bend at the confluence of the Tagus and the Atlantic, where the Champalimaud Centre stands today. The design reserves half of the site for a public pathway which gradually rises and obscures a view of the ocean till one reaches the end. This centre, meant for cutting-edge scientific research is a composition of three curves. The distinct separations between the public and the private realms also aid segregation of activities within and around the complex. The main research wing of the building is connected to the administrative and conference centre through a “piece of engineering jewellery” in the form of a steel and glass bridge. A seemingly weightless structure, this bridge designed by Joerg Schlaich floats effortlessly above the pathway that leads to the ocean. The areas for the patients overlook a courtyard encompassed by the sweeping curve of the Lioz wall with a large elliptical aperture and pergolas framing the sky and permeating light within.

Lastly, I am proud that this project tries to express the essential nature, the Genius Loci, of this site without resorting to ersatz versions of traditional architecture. No, we have used throughout a contemporary voice to express not only the truth about this site - but also to celebrate a very crucial moment (arguably the defining moment) in the history of this nation.

To perceive a space, one must have a clear idea of what has to be perceived and what has to be left out. Architecture of meaning thus becomes an art of elimination, dealing only with the essential. Like all of Charles Correa’s work, with great patience and stillness, the Champalimaud Centre frames the intangible connection architecture has with the site on which it stands. A potential space thus develops, as architecture represents one of the only arts anchored to the place both physically and metaphorically. As various forces of nature interact with various realms of architecture, the built form is frozen at the moment, all chaos is resolved making way for order; order that releases the true meaning of architecture.


Light filters through an elliptical aperture on the wall that envelops the research centre.


Lioz stonework with miraculous lines compose the architecture of the building.


FACT FILE: Project Location Design Architect Design Team Client Purpose Laboratory and Clinical design Architect of Record Services Structure Bridge design Lighting Landscape Signage Area Budget Photo Credits

: : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : :

Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown Portugal, Lisbon Charles Correa Associates Charles Correa, Sachin Agshikar, Manas Vanwari, Dhaval Malesha The Champalimaud Foundation Translational Centre for Brain, Eye-sight and Cancer research RMJM Glintt Vanderwell LNM Joerg Schlaich DPA PROAP Studio Dambar 50,000sqm 100 million Euros Rosa Reis, Colin Mosher, Sachin Agshikar, Jose Campos

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place for god

The concrete disc roof and the ramp entrance are the two things that stand out in the natural surroundings.

Memorial 9, an expressive modern structure in Chile is a chapel designed by Gonzalos Mardones Viviani Architects. Text: Hina Nitesh Images: Nicolás Saieh; courtesy Gonzalos Mardones Viviani Architects


esigned by Gonzalos Mardones Viviani, Memorial 9 is a chapel located in the lush green surroundings of the Manquehue hill in Chile. Dedicated to 9 girls, the memorial’s natural backdrop contrasts with its concrete structure. The chapel is designed as an inward-looking structure with the statue of the ‘Madonna of the Park’ placed at one end. Most of the structure is hidden by the earth berm and it is only the concrete disc roof and the ramp which are visible from the outside. The seemingly simple form of the chapel attracts curiosity and leads the visitor inside. The access to the chapel is through a 16m long ramp, which becomes a spiritual act in itself. According to the architects, the geometry of the form, alongwith the descending ramp, signifies a connection between spirit and human reincarnation, between the sacred divine and reason. The number 9 has played a significant role in the design. The Magnolia tree, placed at the geometric centre has been chosen for it is the only tree in nature that has 9 leaves on each of its flowers. The chapel has a disc-shaped roof which opens to the sky. It is constructed through a concrete cone 9m in diameter and has 9 modules which house 9 lanterns. Once inside the chapel, one is aware of

The inward looking chapel highlights the dimension of the sky.


The 16m long ramp which leads down to the chapel, signifies a spiritual journey.

‘Vision Juhu’ masterplan proposes in the The flooring is done with pavingmultiple stones ininterventions a circular pattern. Juhu district.



the presence of a divine light. This light is a result of the contours of the concrete form, which highlight the apparent dimension of the sky. In this inward looking structure, there are no windows and hence the sky is the only natural element visible from inside. Inside the chapel, the flooring is done with paving stones in a circular pattern. The oratory has been made with concrete, incorporating titanium dioxide and a system of phenolic molds. A tempered glass guard rail is inserted in the concrete as a protection system. The folds of concrete contribute to softening of the space. The lighting system is placed within these folds, which add an ambient glow to the interior. Also, cavities are inserted in these folds to hold 9 big and 27 small candles. A ribbon of concrete levitates above the surface, to create a seating against the walls of the chapel. The chapel has been designed as a meditative place and its architecture silently dictates its role as a gathering place; a place of refuge, a meeting place within the park.

According to the architects, the geometry of the form alongwith the descending ramp signifies a connection between spirit and human reincarnation, between the sacred divine and reason. FACT FILE: Project : Location : Architect : Contractor : Lighting : Photographer : Area :

Memorial 9 Parque Bicentenario, Vitacura, Santiago de Chile Gonzalo Mardones Viviani COVALCO Paulina Sir Nicolรกs Saieh 160sqm

Acceso Al Memorial

Patio De Luz


Lighting is all ambient, hidden within the folds of the concrete.


A concrete band placed along the walls acts as a seating.

Tempered glass guard rails over the oratory.

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River & the city – a Continuum Delhi-based Pradeep Sachdeva Design Associates translates the mysticism of the banks of the river Godavari along Nanded, Maharashtra, into a riverfront development that carries the legacy of human beliefs, rituals and city culture. Text: Maanasi Hattangadi Photographs: courtesy Pradeep Sachdeva Design Associates

focus The designers say that the intent of the project was not only to develop the riverfront to support the needs of pilgrims and visitors, but also to serve as a valuable public space for the city.


Godavari Riverfront Development was designed along a stretch of 1.6km as a spatial confluence representing the city culture and existing ritual observances.

ural India has its own distinct pedagogies of spaces. Some of India’s archetypal built forms lie far inland; at their simplest, with idyllic routes across the heart of the peninsula. One amongst many encounters, it speaks of places like Nanded, in Maharashtra, wherein you can glimpse the continuing practice of India’s most ancient traditions on the banks of the river Godavari. The holistic city denotes a longstanding connection with the Sikh religion, since Guru Gobind Singh Ji installed the Guru Granth Sahib, as the perpetual Guru of Sikhs shortly before his death at Nanded in 1708. Millions of pilgrims follow the well-trodden route along its banks to visit the city and bathe in the river. The cultural framing of such a valued tradition was rediscovered by Delhi-based Pradeep Sachdeva Design Associates in form of the Godavari Riverfront Development under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). The spiritual and cultural association is symbolised by ghats, centres of ritual activities and public promenades.



Space, culture, context and association - these threads bind the diversity of the architectural profession. River Godavari bisected the city into the northern part, comprising an established city inclusive of various gurudwaras associated with Guru Gobind Singh Ji and his disciples; and the southern part, which is a regenerative and comparatively newer section of the city. A varied and rich cultural representation emerged from the intersection of two planes, which the Master Plan embraced in segments; the architects divided the plans into smaller zones for implementation purposes. The design engaged in connections – to the existing, to the rituals and with a contemporary outlook, to the city. The potential revelation was a variety of responses that worked towards a possibility of a refreshing outcome. With an exploratory stretch of land of 1.6km and across a marked area of 60 acres (Zone III), the initiation dawned at the stretch between Govardhan Ghat and the Latur Bridge on the northern bank. It intimately ideated on conserving the hallowed places of ritual bathing like Gurudwaras Banda Ghat and Nagina Ghat.



Open spaces and winding ghats lead down to the river in the completed redesign of the area.

The project, in its entirety, is developed as a series of spaces that both reveal and conceal the deeper essence attached to the evocative rituals. The designers say that the intent of the project was not only to develop the riverfront to support the needs of pilgrims and visitors, but also to serve as a valuable public space for the city. The experience begins at a nodal point and branches out to establish a blended continuum of culture and urbanisation. The project, charted from blueprints to completion, took into consideration important observances like ‘Gur-ta-gaddi’, commemorating the installation of the Guru Granth Sahib as the perpetual Guru of the Sikhs, during which over 2.5 million pilgrims were expected to visit Nanded and bathe in the river. Monumentality was replaced with singular aspirations and simplified concepts. The mode of expression was to rise above the mundane and recreate an energised feel. To achieve this, detail and consistency overrode any programmatic amenity or spatial complexity. The method relates


The banks of the river before development.

The ghat steps were integrated, keeping in mind the historical context of gurudwaras.

The promenade breaks out into vantage points further into the river.


Sketch showing the proposed developed space.

View of Banda Ghat.

Apart from the religious significance, Banda Ghat plays host to a variety of activities.


Steps leading down to the ghats.

Ramps have been facilitated in the new development for easy access of physically challenged and senior citizens.

Envelopes of activity plazas compose the inner part of the riverfront development.

89 to a pedestrian scale for the whole project. A submersible pedestrian promenade was conceived as an accessible gradient that descends across all ghats. While the promenade is immersed during the monsoon season, it remains active in the dry season to support the peak pilgrim season crowds in November. The edges are contoured to soften the form as it disappears into the flowing river. The steps cascade downwards to form a shallow submerged bathing platform for the pilgrims to bathe. Synonymous to the historic character of the ghats, new ramps for barrier-free access to the river for the physically challenged and senior citizens provided a more integrated edge. The riverfront allows a tantalising glimpse of city life; landscape escarpments envelop plazas and open spaces for recreation and amenities. To match its scope of influence, continuity is achieved by blurring the spaces well with only the vantage points highlighted. The engagement and participation keeps in mind the suburban surrounds. Aesthetic outcomes were past the natural constraints and vice versa. The underlying idea was minimal interventions, even to the most unprepossessing of areas. The design masterfully manipulated a sculptural cohesion with the natural banks where utmost care was taken to ensure that the carrying capacity and flow of the river was not reduced. The effect of all of this is that the relationship of the ‘old’ and ‘new’ parts of the banks are immediately visible, bound together in a single, arresting form. A deliberate change of pace away from urban centres, the riverfront reels along undeniable energy. The recall of ghats meanders along a maze of alleys leading to waterfront ghats. But in the long run, it makes sense to pause and upgrade, while retaining the same spiritual drift. The gesture transforms this utilitarian structure into a landscape element that delivers an opportunity to view water from a different perspective. The dynamic interaction is with a non-tangible aesthetic that is both poetic and emotive, all the while constantly changing in a kaleidoscope of people, religion and the spirit of water.

FACT FILE: Project Location Design Consultant Design Team

View along the ghat road.

: : : : Client : Project Management : Structural Consultant : Public Health Consultant : River Hydrology Consultant : Year of Completion :

Godavari Riverfront Development Nanded, Maharashtra Pradeep Sachdeva Design Associates, New Delhi Pradeep Sachdeva, Shweta Gupta, Vidya Tongbram, Tarun Jayram Nanded Waghala City Municipal Corporation IL&FS Arvind Gupta Consultants, New Delhi, L.R.Kadiyali & Associates, New Delhi Krim Engineering Services Pvt. Ltd, New Delhi, Kanwar Krishen & Associates, New Delhi Prof. A.K.Gossain, IIT Delhi INRM Consultants Pvt. Ltd, New Delhi 2008

90 IA&B - JUL 2011 Rendering showing the desired image of the urban waterfront.

interventions on the


Architect Hafeez Contractor drafts an ambitious plan to connect and conciliate the broken waterfront coastline of western Mumbai, imagining a vital public domain stretching from Bandra to Wakleshwar. Text: Ruturaj Parikh Photographs: courtesy Architect Hafeez Contractor


The idea appeals, primarily because the proposal takes into account various monuments and places of religious and cultural interest along the western coast.

Westside Waterfront Development Proposal – the 17.5km stretch in question.


Sketch showing proposed development around the Bandra Fort.


s a country with knee-jerk responses to urban planning, Indian cities seldom capitalise on their natural and geographical contexts. Any New Yorker will swear by the Central Park, but the citizens of Mumbai rarely pay heed to the diverse and monumental Sanjay Gandhi National Park or the beautiful and versatile coastline that we share with the Arabian Sea. The discussion is about an 11.5km coast from Bandra to Girgaon, accessible through multiple gaps in the broken development along the coastline. Moreover, the presently accessible western coastline does not have the infrastructure required to support a vibrant public life. Architect Hafeez Contractor presents us with an opportunity to rethink this unique feature of Mumbai and to discuss an alternate possibility – that of a continuous, versatile, green, safe and pedestrian environment along a 17km continuous stretch from Bandra Fort to Chowpatty Beach. The proposal focuses primarily on the experiential aspect of the public space. The design departs from a simple idea of capitalising on the

exquisite sea-facing stretch that the city has an advantage of. Conceptual ideas on connecting and forming nodes around places of interest along the sea-facing stretch are developed to render detailed visual projections of how the nodes will look and feel when built. The idea appeals, primarily because the proposal takes into account various monuments and places of religious and cultural interest along the western coast. The design also makes the most obscure places of our past focuses of activity - thus rejuvenating their image in our collective memory. Places like the Bandra Fort, the Worli Fort Precinct, Khan Abdul Gapharkhan, Nehru Centre, Haji Ali Creek, Mahalakshmi Temple, Priyadarshini Park and Banganga Tank are integral elements of the proposal. It is also interesting to note that very minimal intervention in terms of land reclamation and infrastructure can create an iconic addition to the fabric of the city. The forces that make a public space possible are already present in the form of a continuous sequence of landmarks and the edge of the Arabian Sea. The proposal understands and builds upon their latent significance. An urban design addition like this can also add significantly to the real estate


The scheme and a conceptual rendering of the Khan Abdul Gapharkhan. (Top and Bottom)


Conceptual sketch and rendering portraying proposed developments around the Mahalakshmi Temple.


Sequential overlays showing the landmarks, movements, hierarchical open spaces, movement segregations and design ideas along the stretch.

Although a huge investment is required to mobilise a project like this, the project will greatly add to the real and speculative value of the city.

Conceptual sketch and rendering portraying proposed developments around the Mahalakshmi Temple.

Sketch showing a projected public space within the development.

value of the surrounding areas and the city as a whole, over and above its contribution as a significant recreational belt. Although the amount of land to be reclaimed depends on the environmental impact of such a scheme, what appeals is the fact that not much reclamation is required to add a significant 480 acres of planned and maintained green space to an openness-starved metropolis. Such a space can also contribute greatly to the sanity and wellbeing of a citizen. The otherwise fragmented and neglected historic spaces of the likes of Bandra Fort get a renewed identity and get physically as well as cognitively integrated within the present landscape of Mumbai. There are multiple and real advantages of a scheme of this scale and magnitude. Although a huge investment is required to mobilise a project like this, the project will greatly add to the real and speculative value of the city. Think what the Juhu Beach does to Juhu or what a Marine Drive does to South Mumbai. The Mumbai Waterfront Proposal has the potential to transform the otherwise neglected western edge of the city. Significant developments have shaped the sea-face of this historic city. Private land-grabs, real estate developments and insensitive urban schemes have left a magnificent coastline fractured, abused and inaccessible. This scheme might change the reality of Mumbai’s waterfront, providing the city with an accessible and a picturesque promenade along it western edge. If implemented pragmatically, this scheme has a potential to give Mumbai its most iconic image; if ever implemented.

96 IA&B - JUL 2011

Harnessing Raindrops

The 12 independent cottages are strung around a central spine which is the symbolic rivulet running through the site.

Designed by Shama Dalvi, a gated community of 12 holiday homes in Yelagiri, Tamil Nadu adopts rain water harvesting system in a cost effective fashion, reflecting sensitivity towards the environment. Text: Hina Nitesh Photographs: courtesy Shama Dalvi

he general consensus on eco friendly practices is that they are financially at a disadvantage, since the benefits are evident only in the long run. Architect Shama Dalvi has designed 12 cottages in Yelagiri, a hill station in Tamil Nadu, as part of Amaidhi holiday homes. The project incorporates rainwater harvesting system to reduce its ecological footprint.


design of the cottages. They have an open plan with a compact design and minimum footprint. The structural system is based on a grid of 375 x 375cm, which reduces spans within the rooms. The three-bedroom cottages are placed on undivided land, along with amenities including a swimming pool, a barbeque area, caretakers’ area and services.

The 2.6 acres of the allocated site is a rocky terrain with large outcrop of boulders. The north-west half of the site has large rock formations, while the other half looks relatively rock-free. However, there is a layer of weathered rock at a depth of 2m onwards. On three sides, the site is abutted by steep slopes forming valleys. The design evolves around the rocky terrain and the architect, displaying a great deal of sensitivity, has left it undisturbed.

Simple detailing of elements is translated into ease and speed of construction. The top soil was removed at the beginning of the construction process and reused at the end of it. The foundation is made of random rubblework, which is made with the stone that was removed while digging up the foundations. The cottages have load-bearing exposed brickwork walls. The bricks for the construction were procured from local kilns. Instead of RCC slabs for flat roofs, the architect has used pre-cast beams and stones, while the sloping roofs are constructed with understructures of wood. The minimal use of RCC reduces heat gain within the rooms. Lintels, sill slabs, window overhangs,

This gated community is targeted as holiday homes for individuals residing nearby. The environmentally sensitive aspect of the project is reflected in the


The driveway has intermediate channels at regular intervals to channelise the runoff water.

The design leaves the natural terrain of the site untouched.



staircase steps, coping blocks and beams were pre-cast in RCC to reduce both the time and cost of construction. Pre-cast Atthangudi tiles, which are available locally, have been used for flooring. Aiming to create a sustainable environment that would be in harmony with its surroundings, the project was detailed such that it would need minimal external resources like water and electricity. The existing rainwater flow pattern became the basis on which the land was developed. The natural slope of the site, towards the valley, was respected with the 12 houses placed along the central spine of a pervious road depicting a rivulet. This ‘rivulet’-inspired road culminates towards the valley end of the site in an area designated for the swimming pool – symbolically opening out onto a larger water body. Rainwater harvesting has been integral to the project and all steps are taken to minimise wastage of water. Drainage of water was an essential part right from the conceptual stage. The system that was developed maximises infiltration, provides retention and slows down the runoffs. The wastewater treatment system recycles water from kitchens, bathrooms and toilets and makes it ready for reuse in the gardens, through an irrigation system. The rainwater from the roof is collected and diverted through roof gutters and downspouts to the ground level. Chain clusters in the downspouts slow down the water and prevent erosion where the water falls. Irregular

linear depressions or channels made in the ground known as swales receive the runoff water and slowly move it to the percolation ponds. Grass and other cover were grown around and within these swales to filter out the pollutants and increase rainwater infiltration. In areas where there was a sharp drop or a steep slope, the swales were lined with stones to prevent erosion. In keeping with the theory of reducing runoff, prefabricated cement paving blocks are used for the roads. These allow percolation within the road surface area. Also, the sidewalks and driveways slope towards the landscaped areas. There are intermediate channels at regular intervals on the driveway to intercept excess runoffs. Furthermore, there is a system of interconnected percolation ponds to retain the water. There is a pond at each terrace level, which is connected to the adjacent one at the lower level with shallow swales. This interconnection marks a path for the water to flow during heavy rains and prevents erosion. The depth of the ponds also varies from 90cms to 2m. With a total capacity of 1260cbm, these ponds are capable of controlling the runoffs during monsoon from the roofs, road, rocks, paved areas and garden areas. The vegetation on the site also supports the rainwater harvesting system. Grass, shrubs and small trees are planted along the swales while hardy grasses are planted within and around the ponds. The smaller water catchment depressions are made around larger plants and trees. The entire landscape consists of indigenous and hardy vegetation


The downspouts have chains clusters to slow down the speed of water and prevent soil erosion where the water falls.


Interconnected percolation ponds control runoff water and help in rainwater harvesting.

The environmentally sensitive aspect of the project is reflected in the design of the cottages. for fast and easy establishment of plant cover and to reduce the necessity for supplementary garden watering. The rainwater harvesting system here not only takes care of the massive runoffs from the roofs and ground, but prevents erosion of the slopes, creates a beautiful landscape on an earlier empty lot and allows groundwater recharge in the most cost-effective way possible. Resorts and vacation homes the synonymous with luxury, but are considered to be at loggerheads with environment. With the Amaidhi project, the architects have reiterated that luxury and environmental sensitiveness can go hand-in-hand and that too, in cost-effective ways. Project Location Architect Client Consultants Completion of Project

: : : : : :

Amaidhi Yelagiri Shama Dalvi Architects, Auroville Ketty’s Vacation Homes Dirk Nagelschmidt, Paul Blanchflower May 2010

Indigenous vegetation aids in collection of rain water.


Swales are designed in the landscape to channelise wastewater towards the percolation ponds.

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re-imagining urban infrastructure

The iconic Juhu Beach.

Some time ago, a collaboration between P.K. Das & Associates and the research cell at KRVIA presented us with an alternative vision for Juhu; a Juhu with vivid public spaces and safe pedestrian zones. We revisit the proposal to focus on a specific point of discussion – the Irla Nala, and find that even if we start now, we might still be late in saving this crucial geographical feature from abuse. Text: Ruturaj Parikh Drawings, Data and Images: from the book ‘Vision Juhu – Expanding Public Spaces’ ; courtesy P.K. Das & Associates


uhu is probably the most known district of Mumbai. Made famous by the residences of film-stars and industrialists, the popularity of Juhu also comes from its iconic Juhu Beach, its permeability and public access to most of its places. The presence of recreational places and institutions also makes the district bustle with life most of the time. Over the period of time, the Juhu area has seen a surge in development and reclamation, putting adverse pressures on the land and its resources, resulting in a haphazard development and neglect of the neighbourhood’s open spaces. The architects

at P.K. Das & Associates, in collaboration with Kamala Raheja School of Architecture’s research cell, proposed a stakeholder-driven development in the environs of Juhu, making its neglected open spaces more public, more accessible and more vibrant. Martha Schwartz had observed that any investment in the public realm pays back through market appreciation of the private realm around it. The process of identifying and upgrading the infrastructure starts from the idea fundamental to the development of Mumbai – the idea of reclamation.


‘Vision Juhu’ Master Plan proposes multiple interventions in the Juhu district.


Sequential survey drawings - 1921, 1933 and 1969 show a gradual and systemic reclamation of land.

The three historic survey drawings of this area – 1921, 1933 and 1969, show a gradual and systemic reclamation of land and subsequent planning, with the 1969 map showing a distinct organisational grid of the JVPD scheme. Also noticeable in the 1969 plan is an aqueduct originating at the Juhu Aerodrome and terminating in the marshes. This aqueduct is what we know today as the Irla Nala - a filthy, abused and, at times, stinking drain that acts as a storm and wastewater channel for the area. This seven kilometre aqueduct is undergoing a revamp through a BMC-driven project ‘BRIMSTOWAD’ that proposes a 20ft clearance on either side of the Nala to act as carriageway. The alternative to this rather bland proposal is found in ‘Vision Juhu’, wherein the architects at KRVIA and P.K. Das & Associates propose to develop this spine as a refreshing waterfront public space, thereby connecting various public spaces with an open and unrestricted access to the Nala that has a potential to add a significant seven running kilometres of versatile green public space to Juhu. The linear nature of the belt will ensure safety and permeability of the space, thereby making a pedestrian buffer between the traffic-laden

streets and built environments. The Nala is an important flood-drain during monsoon and will be installed with a self-cleaning system. In terms of design, the Irla Nala is envisioned to be a pedestrian spine connecting various institutes along its neighbourhoods. The design also ensures that the stormwater drainage capacity of the Nala is retained, in case of extreme rainfall instances. If the plan is executed to its essence, the design will also ensure that the water level ensures maintenance of groundwater table by enhancing retention and permeability of water. The resultant public realm will be a recreational spine and will add a substantial amount of green to Juhu. Informal encroachments will get legitimacy and thus, an access to services. The public realm thus added will connect other public spaces, or the ‘backyards’ of private and institutional developments along the Irla Nala spine. In whole, the proposal aims to sensitively develop the spine of the Irla Nala in a potentially non-invasive way. The Irla Nala redevelopment will return a significant chunk of 75 per cent of the ‘locked’ open space out of the


Irla Nala Aqueduct – an important geographical feature in the environs of Juhu.

Envisioned environs of the future Irla Nala.


Irla Nala – the present condition.

The abused space of the Nala.

Planned green public space flanking the Nala as proposed in ‘Vision Juhu’ scheme.

The aqueduct is treated as a positive infrastructural element.

The architects at KRVIA and P.K. Das & Associates propose to develop this spine as a refreshing waterfront public space.

The aqueduct connects public and institutional spaces in the environs of Juhu.

107 legally designated public space in Juhu and truly make it ‘public’ in use and accessibility. Moreover, it will save a remarkable geographical feature of the reclaimed land from neglect and abuse. The ‘BRIMSTOWAD’ project by BMC is underway. This scheme will lose out against time soon and will end up being one more in the pile of blueprints that lose their sheen against the aggression of development forces. Thinking about development, analysis of international case studies show that if the private sector, along with the immediate neighbourhoods, invest in the public realm, the investment pays back as an appreciation of the real estate in the surrounding private properties. Thus, the stakeholders of the

scheme become direct beneficiaries of the investment, if they choose to invest. An alternative is, of course, the government initiative - but from the experience of our sluggish five-year plans, it might be interesting if there is a public-private-government partnership working towards such a project. Easier said than done, a development initiative such as ‘Vision Juhu’ not only presents us with a refreshing alternative to the sterile five-year plans, but also encourages our involvement in our surroundings and the policies that shape them. We need more plans like this and more citizens demanding a mandate in the decisions concerning their environs for a future-ready city. Our involvement now will ensure a less–politicised and a truly democratic public space – if at all.

From the experience of our sluggish five-year plans, it might be interesting if there is a public-private-government partnership working towards such a project.

The accessible public spaces of Juhu.

The proposal chronicled herein has been documented and compiled in a report titled ‘Vision Juhu – Expanding Public Spaces’ by P.K. Das & Associates and the research cell at KRVIA.

The proposal

108 IA&B - JUL 2011


Global Concepts, Local Solutions In this column, Jyoti Hosagrahar, Director, Sustainable Urbanism, elaborates on exploring multiple dimensions of sustainability through new means of cultural collaborations, heritage engagement and design outcomes. Photograph: courtesy Jyoti Hosagrahar



ustainability, as a concept, came about in response to the environmental degradation and overconsumption in the highly industrialised economies. At a time when India is rapidly urbanising and the cities are increasingly the engines of its growth, what does sustainability mean in the Indian context and how can architecture and urbanism in India be made sustainable? As India hurtles forward on a path to technological advancement and globalised modernity, cities have rushed to neglect and destroy history and heritage or caricaturise them into exotic theme parks. Token relics that remain are isolated, irrelevant, and obsolete fragments, largely obscured in forests of concrete: lost to the residents of the cities who fly by them everyday. Social responsibility in design addresses the spatial and cultural needs of cities and communities. Architecture, from this perspective, is more than an artistic endeavour, whose aesthetics and construction are driven by movements and technologies originating in the West. An increasingly important dimension of social responsibility in design is enhancing sustainability. Although ‘sustainability’ is a term that is variously interpreted, it has generally become synonymous to green building and energy-efficient technologies. In the context of urban India, sustainability involves the careful management of natural and cultural resources to balance the pressing needs of economic and social development of the present, bearing in mind equity and efficiency considerations, with the protection of resources and ecosystem functions for the future. The reality of Indian cities is complex with a very large proportion of the residents living and working in the non-formal sector. Hence, the management of resources needs to embrace a variety of levels and diverse practices, ranging from the formal private and state sectors to community-managed local systems. While technological innovations and large scale infrastructure are important development efforts, enabling and facilitating the adoption of a diversity of solutions appropriate to the context, and facilitating their seamless integration to enhance the multiple and complex dimensions of sustainability is a critical challenge for Indian cities. The need for an understanding of sustainability in terms of culture is particularly pressing. Beyond monuments and museums, the cultural particularities of places, including local knowledge and practices, have generally been discarded in the rush to modernise. Further, globalisation erodes local knowledge and identities. An expanded view of cultural heritage recognises its role in livelihood creation, practices of land and natural resource care and management, building, land use, institutional mechanisms, markets and infrastructure systems that often call for a judicious and careful use of local resources. Local knowledge and cultural practices also help to establish a continuum between urban and rural areas, as well as formal and informal ways of living and working. From this perspective, heritage becomes a resource for development that is sustainable: the connective tissue that links spatially, as well as temporally connects our past with present aspirations for the future. At SUI (Sustainable Urbanism International is an NGO in Bengaluru and a research unit at the School of Architecture and Planning at Columbia University, New York, both led by the author) we have focused on nurturing positive interrelationships between nature, culture, and the built environment. Rather than a single universal definition of sustainable urbanism, we emphasise culturally embedded processes in diverse settings. While balancing the

sensibilities of a globalised and interconnected world, we recognise the importance of local context and the historicised cultural particularities of a place in achieving sustainability. Conservation of heritage only for its historic value is neither possible nor viable in the numerous living, thriving historic centers of India. Nor are the dominant modes of modernisation sustainable, as they are destructive to locality and identity. Clearly, there is a need to develop integrated approaches where heritage can be made relevant and useful to modern needs and aspirations, while modern technologies and interventions can protect cultural heritage. SUI’s exploration of cultural sustainability has included expanding the notion of heritage far beyond monuments, to look at the intersections of nature, culture, and the built environment. Their integrated view of sustainability has highlighted the ways that local knowledges, building practices, and hydrological systems have been integral to a cultural landscape.

While technological innovations and large scale infrastructure are important development efforts, enabling and facilitating the adoption of a diversity of solutions appropriate to the context, and facilitating their seamless integration to enhance the multiple and complex dimensions of sustainability is a critical challenge for Indian cities. In our work in historic towns, identifying such heritage has been a collaborative effort with local residents that has helped them recognise forms, practices, and skills they have lost or are losing fast and can help generate livelihoods. Reviving and conserving historic lakes and wells, a heritage-sensitive Master Plan for cities to regenerate with built forms and standards derived from historic neighborhoods, and reviving and adapting traditional technologies of earth construction for new structures are some of the many strategies that integrate heritage conservation with design, development planning, and natural resource management. Our effort is to minimise the dislocations caused by the confrontations between traditional knowledge systems and practices and modern technologies. From the perspective that each place needs to find its own version of innovative architecture, our minimalist design and planning interventions have aimed to bring necessary improvements for local economic development. About the author: Jyoti Hosagrahar Jyoti Hosagrahar is faculty at Columbia University, New York, and Director of Sustainable Urbanism International, both at Columbia University and in Bengaluru, India. Architect, planner and historian, her areas of expertise include urban heritage management and sustainable development. Hosagrahar serves as an expert on cultural heritage and urban sustainability with UNESCO. She is the author of Indigenous Modernities: Negotiating Architecture and Urbanism (Architext Series, Routledge, 2005), awarded a 2006 book prize by the International Planning History Society. She has been the recipient of grants from the Graham Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Institute of Indian Studies. She currently serves on the editorial boards of the Journal on Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development, Journal of Planning History, and Buildings and Landscapes. She is also on the board of the Society for American City and Regional Planning History. Since 2006, Hosagrahar has been extensively involved in the conservation and sustainable development of historic cities in India in partnership with UNESCO, as well as the Government of Karnataka.

110 IA&B - JUL 2011

Museums are perhaps the most versatile of buildings. They present architects with immense possibilities of exploration and imagination. George Jacob, through this book, presents the myriad possibilities and points of view towards museum design through a spectrum of works.


mongst the things that we build, museums have the most iconic presence as institutions of cultural significance that have profound relations to our past and our future. Since Frank Gehry designed the Guggenheim Museum in Barcelona, the typology has gained a refined significance in the sphere of culture. Our museums are the living monuments to our heritage, our culture and our collective aspirations. George Jacob, through this book, presents an argument in favour of imagination and inventiveness associated to the otherwise sterile environment that houses the objects of display. In the discourse of architectural dialogue, we have encountered many arguments against the relevance of museums in various contexts and their presence as entities that are entrusted with a herculean task of archiving our history and presenting our endeavours as a collective culture. Over the period of the last two decades, with the likes of Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Norman Foster and Charles Correa designing alternative environments for our museums, the old and faithful sterile box has given way to the expressive,


George, through his expertise on museum design, projects a promising future where museums will not only chronicle our history and culture, but also represent our aspiration for the future.

A double spread from the book.

book review

The book supports its argument with brilliantly rendered images.

progressive and avant-garde typology of the new museum – a cultural institution that tells a story rather than displaying an object. George is strongly of the opinion that the design is an element of the institution of the museum that was previously neglected or undermined by the content. Through vivid examples and studies of design, he presents the way in which new media and global internet bring the object in display on your screen within a fraction of a second. George convincingly presents an alternative type, where the museum focuses on the experience and tells a unique story as an exercise of re-interpreting the object devoid of context and putting it back in the context of its familiar narrative. The book explores some cutting-edge futuristic designs, wherein the multiple innovations, ideas and inventions make the museums to come places that will tell remarkable stories remarkably well; places where instead of people looking at objects of past, people will be made intimate to the past through an experience. Through critical writings and observations, the book introduces us to multi-cultural practices and designers transcending the limitations of region to create global icons and magnets of tourism around the world. At times the process of design and display is architectural and at times it is technology driven, where the lines between the digital and the real are blurred. George, through his expertise on museum design projects a promising future, where museums will not only chronicle our history and culture but will represent our aspiration for the future. The book is an interesting narrative and is rich in its graphical content. Book Authors Publisher Language ISBN Reviewed by

: : : : : :

MUSEUM DESIGN: THE FUTURE George Jacob BookSurge Publishing Co, USA English 1-4392-3574-0 Ruturaj Parikh

George Jacob also delves in the details of the design idea and processes.

George Jacob George is a former Smithsonian intern and received his education from Birla Institute of Technology & Science, University of Toronto and Yale School of Management, specialising in Museum Studies. He has extensive experience working on museum projects spanning many countries. George has served as a Founding Director of two science museums and has been an advocate of reform in this sector. He is at the forefront of ideological change behind cultural institutions.








IA&B - JUL 2011

Ad The hanging humanoid of ‘. ..never knew that he was blessed’ at the entrance.

art ‘Attempt 01’, a cluster of space-specific installations by architects Lijo Jos and Reny Lijo in the Kerala Lalithakala Akademi Art Gallery in Thrissur, interacts with Laurie Baker’s humble space through altering perceptions of volumes and shapes. Text: Ruturaj Parikh Photographs: Ar. Praveen Mohandas; courtesy Lijo Reny Architects

The installation at the entrance.


he Kerala Lalithakala Akademi Art Gallery in Thrissur is a very reclusive space. Designed by the master of grassroots innovation, Laurie Baker, the building is a little-known space for display and dialogue in art. Many artists feel that the gallery space within is unable to act as a neutral or a sterile space to present art. However, architects Lijo Jos and Reny Lijo head a niche architecture and design practice and believe otherwise. As an effort to represent the case of Laurie Baker’s art gallery, ‘Attempt 01’ is the first in a series of site-specific installations that reflect the space and an alternative reading of the same. The installation at the Kerala Lalithakala Akademi Art Gallery initiates at an unconventional point of entrance. By choosing an oblique path to take a visitor through the ensemble, the architects intend to expose a different point of view – the one that Laurie Baker may have expected people to discover by themselves. Two humanoid forms, one on a tetrapod and one hanging from a cable are encountered at the entrance. A thread-like connection anchors

Ropes anchor the two humanoid forms to a fractured plane of the wall.

the figure on the tetrapod to the interior of the gallery like an umbilical cord, inviting an inquisitive mind to explore more. This installation titled ‘...never knew that he was blessed’ also becomes a performance art as the architects rip the foiled pseudo-skin of one of the humanoids to distribute crystals from within. The umbilical cord connects the installation to a fractured plane of the wall as the silver foil gives way to black strands of thick rope, drawing attention towards a vertical barrier of stacked white boxes. The seemingly humble space presents an alternative to the idiom of reading sterile gallery spaces as the ‘non-spaces’ and thinking of them as expressive extensions to the art they showcase. The architecture of the gallery is an art in itself. As you proceed further on the staircase that leads you to the sanctum of the gallery, you encounter an obstacle of a labyrinth of fish-net strings in the form of a geometric cobweb. The idea is to divert a visitor to alternative routes reaching a narrow connective space, where a red satin cloth installation generates interest. But owing to a visual connection to the installation, most of the visitors prefer to surpass the obstacle of this untitled installation in a


A labyrinth of fishing-strings prompt the visitor to take alternative routes to reach ‘Secret’.

The satin cloth and safety pins of the installation ‘Secret’.

The four hollow figures of the set titled ‘Connect’.


Pods capture imagination and hover in the volume of the gallery space.

The seemingly humble space presents an alternative to the idiom of reading sterile gallery spaces as the ‘non-spaces’. performance of original acrobatics. In a narrow passage leading to the central space, a warp of imposing red satin stitched with 5000 safety pins, titled ‘Secret’ compresses the space further by creating a physical barrier. As light filters through the installation, the resultant space alters the perception through a changed ambience, adding to the already uncanny presence of the element of the cloth. Then you see four wireframe humanoid figures, like the two at the entrance; sitting still and hollow on four cubes. This specific arrangement is titled ‘Connect’ and focuses on the self-evident emptiness of the figures and our need to establish contact with the non-responsive, thus establishing the illusory space as a counterpoint to the one at the entrance. Again, the architecture that makes the surprise possible is conspicuous by its absence in the set. A daunting stillness engulfs you when you pass through the next space in the sequence – a cuboidal volume containing cocoon-like pods made from wire and plastic. One of the pods is split open, making you wonder if those figures you passed by came from here. Though the installation is not anchored to the volume of the architectural space, the intrusion by an alien entity makes one think of the familiarity of the space that surrounds it. This set is followed by a linear space that houses suspended, black and faceless human forms titled ‘Crowd’ that exploits the quality of the passage to trap a visitor in a familiar context of being lost in a crowd. The reactions are recorded and their variety revealed. The uneasiness of being in a crowd and the claustrophobia that follows mark a brief segment in your journey through the gallery. As a sudden relief, you enter a room with an atrium-like volume. In the centre of the room is a collection of black threads suspended from the ceiling forming a perceivable cube with varying densities, owing to the arrangement of the threads. Along with this installation is a spire of ropes suspended from a skylight, prompting you to pause and appreciate the volume of space. The experience of the installation is tactile and interactive, re-establishing the potential of the gallery to showcase art and support expression. In conclusion, the idea behind the installation makes sense once you perceive the work in its context. As composed by the architects, “All the works presented in the show


‘Crowd’ – a claustrophobic installation in the narrow gallery space.

The uncanny feeling of presence from within the ‘Crowd’’.


The terminal installation with black threads and a spire of red tangled rope.

Detail of the red spire.

were done based on the possibilities that ‘this building’ offered. None of the work can be redone anywhere else without diluting the essence of the work.” As an attempt to interpret Laurie Baker’s idea of the gallery, the architecture in question is thus presented as an expression in itself that provokes a reaction; a reaction as strong as the art it houses. As far as art is considered, just like architects Lijo and Reny who conceived the project, a lot is left to interpretation. Each reading is a distinct narrative in itself. The final installation from Laurie Baker’s arch.

To watch a film of the original installation, go to the link:

118 IA&B - JUL 2011

“Shaping Delhi” The third installment in this series introduces the four scenarios for Delhi forty years in the future and its reception across the city. Text: Tanvi Maheshwari Photographs: arch i Curated and Edited by: Anne Feenstra and Tanvi Maheshwari


elhi 2050 is a uniquely democratic, participatory and multi-disciplinary approach to look at the long term future of the city, ultimately culminating in four scenarios. Each scenario tells a story, woven from the many thoughts and considerations voiced by the people of Delhi, which rest on a sound base of exhaustive research carried out by the team at the early stages of the process. Reacting to the growing security checks, boundary walls and disparity, the “Life Street” model was made. The discontent with rising food prices, power cuts and water shortages was voiced through the model “Urban Harvest”. The richness of Delhi’s past, its multi-layered history and natural wealth were highlighted in “Culture Loop”. The vital issues of mobility and

density were tackled in “HUB-itat” model, arguing for a denser, more efficient, transit-oriented, but more inclusive Delhi in 2050. The following article presents these four visions, the journey in the making, people’s reaction and interpretation, and the way forward.

The Making The making of the visions was as much an assimilation exercise as a design exercise. Making more than one vision for Delhi in 2050 underlined the fact that there cannot be a single solution to complexities of this multi-polis and also provides

LIFE STREET ‘Public spaces need to be as dynamic as the daily routine of humans in a city’ - Victor Cautereels, Professor, Man+Mobility, Design Academy Eindhoven “Future development is often translated into heavy development while the lightness of the barber on the street is a more sustainable long term solution” - Rianne Makkink, Makkink & Bey Studio, at Delhi 2050 workshop “Studio Chishti”

delhi dialogues an array of options for people to consider, instilling a sense of empowerment and ownership. The India-Dutch team chose purposefully to articulate the scenarios through architectural models on varying scales because of their proximity to reality. Its tangible nature made modifications and adjustments more accessible. The models were made using waste or discarded material, to demonstrate innovative use of waste and in the process, address the importance of recycling and reusing in the building industry. Materials like discarded buttons, x-ray films, fruit covers, waste pipes, jute bags, tetra packs and packaging material were innovatively used to make a physical portrayal of the four visions. The process of model-making was also an important tool to visualise and reassess the design, creating a dynamic process of execution and giving the designs more flexibility and robustness.

Life Street Who do the spaces between buildings belong to? As more and more tarmac is added to accommodate the ever-increasing traffic (1087 cars are added to Delhi roads daily), Life Street gives the streets back to the people. This scenario is a 1:50 scale representation of an intersection in Khirki village, completely reworking a typical street in order to get rid of ‘reserved admission rights’, remove physical boundaries, and create a balanced and friendlier environment with lower crime rates. Instead of making the existing narrow streets completely pedestrian, as is usually argued, a multiple option approach was taken. The streets, while designed for the pedestrians, can also accommodate limited vehicular movement. A ‘live and work’ environment is created, and commercial activity on streets is encouraged to make it active. Inspired by the words of Jane Jacobs, “There must be eyes upon the street, eyes belonging to those we might call the natural proprietors of the street”, the buildings face the streets, and shady back alleyways are eliminated. For Life Street, both day and night models are made. To respond to the changing character of streets during the cycle of the day, dynamic streets are created, its morphology

changing with time and requirement, to enable maximum utilisation as well as safety of residents. During daytime the street has more space to form niches for the informal sector – hawkers and sellers. Conversely, at night, it widens to allow for heavy vehicular movement to service the neighbourhood. Basic public facilities like toilets, drinking water etc. are incorporated in the built environment, and more street furniture and Wi-Fi friendly zones are created. These spaces also become incidental interaction spaces or “social rooms”, where people from all walks of life might run into each other. In Delhi 2050, the spaces between buildings belong to the people!

Urban Harvest Will our resources perish before our dependence on them does? Citizens are increasingly becoming frustrated at losing control over basic necessities and find refuge in blaming the government for their misfortunes. Urban Harvest foresees a future where people have more control over their immediate needs. This scenario depicts a possible future scenario in Mayur Vihar, a residential colony situated on the eastern bank of river Yamuna at a scale of 1:500. An individual demands 225lpcd (litres per capita per day) of water and 1767kWh of power annually in Delhi. At the same time, the tremendous amount of energy that comes into the city for free – solar, wind etc. – is completely unharnessed. Large quantity of water is wasted, and reusable water is mixed with sewage and consumed by the Yamuna. In “Urban Harvest”, Delhi is imagined as a city which harvests its own energy, water and food, to and where the surplus is fed back into the grid. To harness solar energy, the built infrastructure in the neighbourhood is covered with a membrane of titanium dioxide, which is photo-voltaic in nature and captures solar energy. This membrane also harvests rain water by pulling dirt, grease and bacteria out of the air, retaining only oxygen and water. A series of organic cells collect and slowly release rain water into recharge pits. With efficient water usage and reuse mechanisms, the water requirement is brought down significantly from 225lpcd to 90lpcd. Certain foods are harvested locally, in vertical farms

URBAN HARVEST “By the year 2020, solar energy will be cheaper than fossil fuels” - Ton Venhoeven, Advisor for Infrastructure, Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, The Netherlands “One needs to realise and think about the origin and destination of water they just drank and flushed a few hours ago” - Observation at Delhi 2050 walk in Centre for Science and Environment

120 which use hydroponics, a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions in water, without soil, thereby reducing the water intake by 1/20 th of its current demand.

In Delhi 2050,heritage and culture will sit comfortably within the contemporary!

In Delhi 2050, we will produce, use and re-use resources locally!

What is the solution to Delhi’s mobility and density problems?

Culture Loop

As compared to other metropolitans around the world, land utilisation in Delhi has not realised its full potential. To fulfil the growing requirements of living, working and recreation, an obvious solution given by master planners is a horizontal sprawl. This has lead to the creation of many satellite towns like Gurgaon, Greater Noida, Sonepat and so on. The National Capital Territory has almost become an imaginary line valid only on official documents or for administrative purposes.

What will the place of heritage be in our city’s future? The “Culture Loop” model is an amalgamation of the heritage and the contemporary in Delhi, made at a scale of 1:20000. It gives the heart of the city back to the citizens by opening up heritage areas for public cultural purposes and by creating pedestrian-friendly green corridors. On mapping the monuments of the city, young (modern to contemporary), middle-aged (colonial) and old (Mughal and Sultanate), we see Delhi’s unique heritage value. This model shows a total of 284 ‘key monuments’, concentrated in an area of 175sqkm. This mapping reveals a significant concentration in the centre of the city, with very little in the east, north and west. Coupled with the central and southern ridge area, if the existing Indian law of maintaining zerodevelopment on a 100m periphery of a heritage site is enforced, the centre of the city becomes a green, cultural heart. The ring railway line, built in 1982, running at its periphery, but at an abysmal ridership of two per cent today, is revived to create a cultural loop surrounding this heart. Consequently, denser more intensive and new development is moved outside the loop, and the centre becomes a pedestrian/cycle-friendly cultural centre as well as a green lung of this future mega-polis. Larger contemporary cultural activities like performances, dramas, recitals etc. are incorporated within this culture loop, infusing a fresh breath of life in the monuments currently lying in disuse. These buildings when active, will also become easier to maintain and will pay for their own upkeep.

CULTURE LOOP “The possibility of reconnecting and rejuvenating the fragmented ridge area of Delhi to increase the forest cover needs to be explored. A larger green area not only gives health benefits but also plays a role in replenishing the ground water table which is fast depleting in Delhi” - Delhi 2050 workshop “Delhi from the Top” Observation “The idea of a park for Delhi is not vast expanses of grass and manicured lawns, but shady trees to protect against the merciless sun” - Sohail Hashmi, writer at Delhi 2050 workshop “My Delhi”


The third dimension or the verticality in the city still remains an unexplored area with the tallest building in the city taking you only 112m above ground level. A huge amount of public infrastructure lies unutilised due to a preference for private vehicles for daily travelling. More efficient utilisation of land resources and transit network is highlighted in the HUB-itat model at a scale of 1:50000. Reworking the density and the existing urban fabric of Delhi, and taking into the consideration the future demand for employment, living units and services, various nodes were identified in the city. These nodes, located at major traffic intersections or multi-modal hubs, then become the centres for a higher density and more intensive development A multi-modal hub offers choices to commuters, rather than dictating a single mode of transport as the ultimate solution. In Delhi 2050, the solution to travel and living problems will be a wider array of choices.


The Tour The four models were ready to be taken back to the people to garner opinions and critiques on 7 May 2011. To touch base with the largest and most diverse audience, the idea of a touring exhibition was adopted. All four models were loaded on push carts, a common sight on streets, being the vehicle of choice of fruit sellers. The Dutch-Indian team of co-authors then travelled across many locations in the city, sometimes accompanied by distinguished experts. The models were first unveiled at the prestigious Indira Gandhi Centre for the Arts, where the many possibilities of the four directions presented were discussed, like the role of the industrial sector in the future, inequities in distribution within the city and inadequacies of Master Plan Delhi 2021. Next in Khirki, the children, who would essentially be the decision makers in 2050, and other locals shared their insights and reflections on the models. Idea of dynamic streets in Life Street was well picked up and categorised as the need of the hour. An interesting observation was that the dynamism in the built environment will also ease its adaptability over time. Consequently people will change their residences less often, in turn fostering stronger bonds with the local community and a sense of ownership. The push carts parked next at Dilli Haat, one of the busiest shopping destinations of the city. A sea of enthusiastic questions were posed to the team by the motley group of spectators. While some people rigidly opposed allowing migrants from neighbouring states to settle in Delhi, they also admitted that Delhi enjoys a privileged status, with major funds for development diverted to the capital. In Life Street, although the idea of truly public spaces was appreciated, the middle and higher class of Delhi seemed to be less tolerant of it. Travelling across the river the display reached Nangli village on the banks of Yamuna. The Urban Harvest model, in particular, appealed to the locals as they saw an ownership in that future. They were pleased to see farming as an essential and formal part of the city. On 12th May, the exhibition reached India Habitat Centre, one of the premier cultural hubs of the city, where it was parked for the next four days before the end of the tour. The exhibition coincided with the annual lecture series of the Institute

of Urban Designers in India at Habitat Centre, significantly augmenting the level of participation and feedback at the venue.

The Way Forward The models instigated many debates and created a healthy dialogue across the city, about the future of this fast growing multi-polis. Invaluable opinion was gathered, oversights identified and many new ideas emerged out of the tour. Delhi 2050 has always been a process, and has only reached a breather and not the end. A more tangible, calculated and measured vision needs to come out of the exercise, but the essence of the process – public participation from virtual to one on one – needs to be maintained. Although short term planning cannot be replaced, long term visionary planning is essential for a holistic, robust growth of the city, and the lack of it can spell disaster even in the short term. The Dutch have taken the first initiative for the next step in the process, with the involvement of arch i and a yet-to-be selected team of co-authors and stakeholders. Design ateliers will be set up in both India and The Netherlands to facilitate the same. With the support of the government, international contributors, non-government organisations, educational institutes and independent professionals, arch i team hopes to step a little bit closer to a more comprehensive Delhi in 2050 in the coming months. About the author: Tanvi Maheshwari is a graduate of School of Planning and Architecture and is one of the founding members arch i Platform for Design in Delhi. She was deeply involved in all stages of the DELHi 2050 process. She has a wide array of experience in design, restoration, curating exhibitions, film festivals, etc. in India, Afghanistan and Thailand. She has written for various Indian magazines like Landscape Journal, Indian Architect and Builder etc.

HUB-itat “Pedestrian and bicycle lanes, women and children friendly street are indicators of positive development.” -Dinesh Mohan, Coordinator TRIPP, IIT Delhi “The power of a city or urban region is also about the concentration of knowledge, economic power and influential institutions or other important international functions” -Bart Vink, Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment

122 IA&B - JUL 2011

Silens This issue, in ‘space frames’ curated by Dr. Deepak J. Mathew, Chetana. B.M tries to capture the feeling of space at ‘Hridaykunj’ as an exercise to focus on the quality of space in experience rather than the quality of space in perception. Text and Photographs: Chetana. B.M Curated by: Dr. Deepak J. Mathew

space frames urban villages


he focus in this set of photographs is to seek the ideologies of Gandhiji in the Ashram premises, rather than trying to portray the person he was. Though the subject of narrative when one talks about the Ashram is Gandhiji, the focus here is on the ‘Hridaykunj’. Most importantly, it was the ‘tranquil’ aspect of the Sabarmati Ashram that I experienced, and am inclined to portray through these images. During my early visits, I once suddenly saw a man sleeping in the Ashram, which

was a very shocking discovery at first. On my first visit to the Ashram, I saw a man sleeping in the premises. I was intrigued by the revelation that it is a museum where one can sleep, study, relax and contemplate.


The idea is to capture the space based on the way one experiences the place rather than the way one sees it.

While on a shoot in the Ashram, capturing various aspects in many different locations, unknowingly, I would always return to Hridayakunj. Sitting down in Hridayakunj, looking out towards the river Sabarmati and seeing the vast expanse is also a ver y enchanting experience. I was thinking how humble the Ashram is and how monumental the space is. Since the key aspect here is the serenity of the atmosphere and ambience of the place, I tried to capture the essence of this feeling. This brings me to the idea of capturing the space based on the way one experiences the place rather than the way one sees it. The peace and the quiet tranquillity of the place is what these photographs por tray.



Chetana. B.M Chetana. B.M is an emerging photographer with an art background. Hence, her photography projects are mostly inclined towards fine art. Fine art imagery is a result of conscious thought; photography is an extension in media to her artistic expression. She has studied MFA in painting from Chitrakala Parishat Bangalore and PG in Photography from National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. The environment and ambience from one place to another is invariably different. It has an impact on almost anyone who travels to a new place, but this profound impact remains with her. The process of the work is what interests her. The approach to work is a constant contemplative and progressive inward journey. Chetana lives and works in Bengaluru.

I was thinking how humble the Ashram is and how monumental the space is.

‘space frames’ investigates issues related to architecture, space and environment through the medium of photography.

Space Frames July 2011: ‘SILENS’ by Chetana. B.M Indian Architect & Builder Magazine

Chetana. B.M Chetana. B.M is an emerging photographer with an art background. Hence, her photography projects are mostly inclined towards fine art. Fine art imagery is a result of conscious thought; photography is an extension in media to her artistic expression. She has studied MFA in painting from Chitrakala Parishat Bangalore and PG in Photography from National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. The environment and ambience from one place to another is invariably different. It has an impact on almost anyone who travels to a new place, but this profound impact remains with her. The process of the work is what interests her. The approach to work is a constant contemplative and progressive inward journey. Chetana lives and works in Bengaluru.

July 2011  

VOL 24 (11)

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