Portfolio Piyas Choudhuri
Date of Birth
B.ARCH, 2002 - 2007 M.ARCH Urban Design, 2007 - 2009
1 year 7 months
Interested Fields of Working
Master planning , Urban Design, Landscape Architecture, Planning, Policy Making, Large Scale Architecture.
Archicad, Autocad, InDesign, Photo shop, Sketchup, Corel, MS Office
Senior Architect, Vipin Gupta Architects
( as of 20.4.2011 )
Summer Internship, AAArchitects, Rotterdam Urban Design, Senior Architect Vastu Shilpa Consultants Assistant Faculty, Urban Transforma -tion Studio, Masters Program in Urban Design, CEPT University Awards
Deshpande Award for Best Thesis, 2009, CEPT University Winner of Le Atelier Workshop, River : Future of a Territory, Cergy, 2009 Selected for the Global Studio, Johannesburg, 2009 Winner, Landscape Journal Students Competition, 2009 Winner, BLUE Awards 09, TU Vienna 2010 Award Nomination, Archiprix 2011 Result Awaited Honourable Mention, International Prize in Sustainable Architecture, University of Ferrara, 2011
Urban Design Thesis Re-Structuring the Development Along a NonPerennial River
Urban Transformation Ujjain
Urban Extension Mundra and Surroundings
Urban Design Summer Case Study Kop Van Zuid, Rotterdam IJBurg , Amsterdam
Global St Johannes
Le Atelier River : Future of a Territory Cergy
Hanj Kunj Habitat Living within a Bird Sanctuary
Smriti Van A memorial for the 2001 Earthquake Victims
Walkable city A Walkable Vision for Ahmedabad
Urban Design Thesis : Re-Structuring the Devleopment Along a NonPerennial River, Case : Sabarmati , Ahmedabad The natural system of the river and its nature which defined the urbanization, today has gone into a state of degradation. The attitude is more towards adopting mechanical rather than natural solutions, channelizing and controlling the rivers to make way for development irrespective of their nature. The proposal looks at the issue of Re-Structuring the Development along a Non-Perennial river, specifically the Sabarmati River in Ahmedabad, considering the hypothesis that the river is still non-perennial and has not been channelized as being done currently , thus maintaining the nature of the river to be of most importance. The concern expressed is, how this system of a non perennial river can be incorporated into the current milieu of functioning and growing urban systems. Preventing the further encroachment of the flood plain, respecting the riverâ€™s dynamism and at the same time making way for development. Here, one considers the river and the river bed as one of the major open spaces of the city, owing to its nature. The proposal does not look at the river in isolation, considering it to be a vertical element passing through the city but rather as the merging together of the city and the river. The history of the river and the activities it hosted is considered to be of equal importance and also provides a start point to know and realize the way the city uses the river. It attempts to create a riverfront that is for all which means that the slums exist but there is also scope for development and transformation. It also looks towards creating a new|alternate edge towards the river, re-structure the cities connections and accessibility towards the river and also provide a catalyst for re-igniting the association and sense of belonging towards these water bodies. The vision looks at alternate water management techniques (both storm and waste) to connect the city back to water, re-defining the edge, defining accessibility mixed with utilities and to bring about a dynamic landscape, a hard and a softscape which at times would be flooded and some parts retained , thus making one observe an ever changing and dynamic phenomenon. SABARMATI@MACRO SCALE
Sabarmati @MICRO Scale
Sabarmati @MESO Scale
Figure Ground 4
The Shifting River
Peak Monsoon 5
Shifting Water Levels 8
Urban Transformation : Sem III, Ujjain, Its 7 Sacred Lakes and Millions of People Ujjain is believed to the be center of the universe. The Kumbh mela which is a mass hindu pilgrimage, is celebrated in the city every 12 years. The urbanity which thus emerges, gives the city a sponge like character. For 3 months during the Kumbh, the city is thronged by 2 crore people and once the pilgrimage is over, the city gets back to its usual self, thus changing the whole nature and the dynamics of the city. The project looks into the seven sacred lakes of Ujjain, a part of the cities daily life, its daily rituals and a part of the processional routes. But like every other growing city, Ujjain is also growing. Its medieval streets have much more intense commerce now and the lakes and their catchments are slowing going dry. Developmental pressures are changing the nature of the city, the spiritual significance of the lakes have become secondary. The project at the masterplan scale looks at the issue of movement and accessibility as the prime concern. The journey that a pilgrim takes when he comes to the city is stresssed upon. According to the rituals of Ujjain, a pilgrim has to go through all the 7 seven lakes which makes it even more important to revive the lost and the sacred lakes of Ujjain keeping the issues of development and religious urbanity in mind. One attempts to re-make a place for the lakes in the city keeping the urbanity in mind. The design intervention area focuses on the railway station and the bus stand precinct and seeks to look into idea of creating a sense of arrival to the city, facilitating a mix of free movement and pedestrian linkage with value additions which would serve the pilgrim and the city and connecting to the journey which follows suite.
Dilution of Religious Urbanity
The Sacred Lakes
Entry Points to the City
Movement Networks and Anchors 14
Design at the Demonstration Scale 16
Urban Extension : Sem II, The Impact of Mundra SEZ The adani group has planned to setup up their SEZ, the Mundra Port. The impact of the SEZ would be felt on the 236 sq.kms of land which lies between the national highway and the SEZ boundary. 28 villages would be threatened by the development which would soon follow. Agriculture might soon come to a halt and a new city would come up. The studio looks at the process of urban extension and how cities start, grow and emerge. At the masterplan scale, one looked the idea of multiple centers which get defined by the catalyst within the SEZ such as the port, the power plant, the airport and some of the main towns. The agricultural field pattern helped in define the sectors which were envision to smallers sub centers within them around which high density would be proposed. At the city scale, a network of transport was proposed with two parallel metro lines taking the main bulk to load while the middle BRTS line would act as the central connector with smaller feeders. Resource management was greatly looked at with all ravaines being given an additional buffer of 50 mts allowing for the flooding during the rainy season and also providing space for social housing. In the detail scale one look at the old town of Mundra and its interface with the new development.
Non-Polluting Industries Residential Commercial Public Green Retained Multi Cropping Institutions Amenities
Figure ground of the Deatil Demonstration 54
The Interface between the old and the new
Urban Design Case Study, Netherlands Kop Van Zuid and Ijburg
Base Plan : Kop Van Zuid
Urban Design is defined as the process of Urban Extension, be it residential, commercial or purely mized use. The form is derived from the natural factors, limitations present on site and also largely governed by the market forces, leading to a much flexible urban pattern. It is through the process of extension that urban design attempts to create a new urban form on reclaimed or on left over derelict urban spaces, creating a link with the existing city fabric and at the same time acting as a catalyst to trigger of developments around. It is through the designing of the public space and the urban form that urban design attempts to bring about a balance between chaod and order, tradition and modernity, provide flexibility yet boundaries to the designers through the set of guidelines. Hypothesis : Waterfront developments and re-developments are the best examples globally of the resilience of the cities, of their ability to adapt to the changed circumstances and needs, to adjust to new technological impacts, to sieze oppurtunities and to forge new images for themselves as well as to create new or altered neighbourhoods for the inhabitants. It is the idea of place branding wherein a place is treated as an economic generator combined with the idea of place making which becomes the main decisive element governing the design of such urban spaces.
System of Greens
Aims and Objectives: • To understand the meaning of urban design through the process of urban extension. • To study the process of urban renewal ie. the brownfield development of sites and derelict industrial and harbours areas in Europe. • To understand the sopcial needs the framework of the project. • To understand the design principles and guidelines which acted as a catalyst for the development of the areas. • To study the impact on the surroundings.
Figure Ground 23
Wetland System Plan 18
Global Studio, Johanesburg, 2009 Proposal for the Wetland System of Diepsloot Diepsloot is one of the Post-Aparthied slums of South Africa. It is currently in the process of a socioeconomic recovery. At present, investment in physical infrastructure is taking place mostly in the area known as the ‘government node’ in the northern section of the township. Based on community consultation and in depth site observations one realized the need for a physical connector that connects the government node and schools in the north with the highly populated extension 1 (reception area) to the south of the marshland corridor. Working closely with the community, one proposes to create a series of bridges that not only improve social mobility year round, but also creates an identity at specific locations along the riverfront. Equally important, the vision embraces the notion of capacity building within the community for future duplication of the structure in areas with similar conditions. Since, the proposal emphasizes the use of unskilled labor and local materials and construction techniques, it is estimated that the proposed bridge scheme is also a more cost effective solution than the current bridge design. Ultimately, one proposes a series of bridges along the river to link the fragmented areas of the township and catalyze new usage for previously dilapidated areas along the marshland corridor. It is suggested that this corridor is transformed over time from the major physical barrier within Diepsloot, to a social and environmental spine that knits the township together. The bridge proposal is the first step in achieving this vision. Objectives • • • • •
Create multiple ephemeral (seasonal) and a permanent bridge to create diversity of options that connect the formal and informal sides. Create capacity building opportunities using unskilled labour and local materials. Promote safety through design strategy Utilize local artist and craft makers to add aesthetic character to the bridge’ Create a framework for the paths and places along the river that will develop as a result of these new connections.
G B A
Network of Open Spaces
A : Public Building B : Road C : Swales D: Seasonal Bridge
E : Permanent Bridge F : Gabion Terrace G : Public Space 20
River: The Future of a Territory, Cergy, Paris Urban Design Workshop The paris workshop took the Siene as the main topic. Issues such the 100 yr flood which Paris would face in 2011, the system of port and other water infrastructure and the large scale development which the municipalities had planned were some of the key concerns. It was the same year when the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy had ask 10 other professional teams to think of a vision for the Siene. The area one was working in was Cergy, one of the suburbs of Paris and predominantly a university town. The area was also characterised by the Hautil ( a hill ) which had very productive soil and had given the place the name, Bread basket of Paris. Conserving the hill was the first strategy to be adopted. One worked on the idea of natural systems being the structuring elements of the territory. One looked at the valleys which emerge from the hill as corridors along which desification and greenfield projects could occur. The confluence of the Siene and the Oise had been planned as a sustainable port keeping the economic nature of the local municipality in mind. De-channelization of Siene was the main point which the group had stressed on in the proposal. A regional level plan was worked out showing how the system of wetlands and permanent waterbodies along the siene along with the topography could be used to create a series of pedestrian and cycle pathways throughout the city and the suburbs. Urban Agriculture could be introduced, new parks and gardens and even forests could be introduced , maintaining the bio-diversity of the place.
Water and Wetland System of the Siene and the Oise 26
Mobility Plan 27
Valleys as Structuring Elements : Catalysts for Densification 28
Planning the Port at the Confluence 29
Regional Plan 31
Hanj Kunj Habitat, A Weekend Housing Scheme in Nalsarovar Nalsarovar, Asiaâ€™s biggest wetland and Gujaratâ€™s biggest bird sanctuary is everyones dream destination. Nalsarovar is a natural wetland, created at a time when we did not have to think about creating new lakes or reviving water bodies. One would always respect the lay of the land, preserve the catchment and build accordingly. Today when development is starting to boom around Nalsarovar, capitalizing on its proximity to Ahmedabad and the presence of a bird sanctuary, the concern is also about the future of birds and the sanctuary. Are we looking at a future, wherein birds would be confined within the limits of the sanctuary while development takes up every inch of land around ? Will the lay of the land be respected or would we continue developing every available land parcel without any consideration. These issues and contradictions provided us with a unique oppurtunity to define the image and identity of Hanj Kunj Habitat, a weekend housing project. Capitalizing on the fact that 115 species of resident birds travel 40 kms everyday in search of food, the project attempts create a habitat for birds just 2kms from the Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary .It also envisages creating a natural habitat wherein both humans and bird life can co-exist and experience living with nature. Studying different sanctuaries informed us about the importance of wetlands/natural water bodies in ecology and more so for human settlements. The site would become our container and every drop of rain that falls on it would be captured. Working with the natural contours of the land, we are able to create 65 acres of wetland with seasonal water bodies which would change levels with the change in seasons, an ideal habitat to accomodate differents forms of bird, aquatic and human life. The amount of land excavated to form the wetland is balanced by the same amount used to mound the land. What thus emerges is an undulating landscape, a series of mounds and depressions. While the natural system formed the landscape, the sub division of the land into plots provided a habitat for humans. Plotting forms a separate plane floating on top of the natural system, preserving the natural landscape. The house is a personal belonging while the natural system is for all to be a part of and to share and experience. The plots and the houses would float on top of land and water both. One would not only own land like in any other development but also own water, small islands scattered around and also a small permanent water body of his own, a small personal space. 41
Re-Defining the Land The contour analysis shows that the land inspite of being predominantly flat presents a system of high ( dark brown ) and low points/ valleys ( light brown ). The concept was of remoulding the land ( exaggerating the lower and the high points equally ),without any external dependence for earth. This meant that the amount of land excavated for creating the wetland , the same amount is used in forming the roads and mounds on the ground.
Shifting System of Water
Monsoon Water Level
Winter Water Level
Summer Water Level
Extreme Summer Water Level
Layer of the Natural System
Plots as a layer floating on top of the Natural System 44
Hanj Kunj Habitat Masterplan Diversity of plots (over water, over land, over land and water) merged with the undulating landscape, the clustering and the common amenities as excuses for social interaction, bird islands, bird watching towers, hide outs, all coming together to present a holistic image of the development.
PHASE 1 : TOTAL AREA : 44.8 ACRES AREA OF PERMANENT WETLAND : 3.9 ACRES (8.7% ) AREA OF ROADS : 7.3 ACRES (16.3% ) AREA OF PEDESTRIAN BRIDGES : 0.7 ACRES (1.5% ) AREA FOR COMMON AMENITIES, UTILITIES/ CLUB HOUSE: 0.9 ACRES ( 2 % ) SALEABLE AREA FOR FARMHOUSES : 31.5 ACRES ( 70.4% ) REMAINING AREA FOR SECURITY/ ROADSIDE VERGES AND SERVICES CONSERVED : 0.5 ACRES (1.1%) OVERALL SITE : TOTAL AREA : 143 ACRES AREA OF PERMANENT WETLAND : 15.3 ACRES (10.7% ) AREA OF ROADS : 20.6 ACRES (14.4% ) AREA OF PEDESTRIAN BRIDGES : 1.94 ACRES (1.4% ) AREA FOR COMMON AMENITIES : 4.2 ACRES ( 2.9 % ) SALEABLE AREA FOR FARMHOUSES : 99.6 ACRES ( 69.6 % ) REMAINING AREA FOR ROAD SIDE VERGES, SECURITY AND SERVICES : 1.4 ACRES (1%) TOTAL NUMBER OF PLOTS : 238
TOTAL NUMBER OF PLOTS : 75 PLOTS COMMON AMENITIES AREA FOR SECURITY/ SEVICES/ ROADSIDE VERGES CANAL ROAD PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE, ALL BRIDGES ARE 2.42 MT WIDE 45
View of the Development in the Monsoon
View of the Development in the Summer 46
View Along the Deepest Water Body : Monsoon
View Along the Deepest Water Body : Summer 47
Smriti Van Earthquake Memorial Bhuj On 26th Jan,2001 Gujarat was hit with an earthquake which resulted in the death of 13805 people. Apart from the large amount of lives lost there was also a huge destruction of property but what remained was the memory of the quake. The Government of Gujarat wanted to create a memorial for the victims and what better place to build one, in Kutch : the heart of Gujarat. The only breif provided was to plant one tree per victim. With this started our journey, we started to question our self with the most basic fact : where does the water to sustain these trees come from. Our studies told us that even thought Kutch gets 300mm of rainfall and that too with only 40% of surity, there still existed 150 yr old checkdams which till date are filled with water. Water management thus became the manifesto of the project. Valleys were mapped and small earthen checkdams were placed along them which would then water the trees through the gravitational drip system.The checkdams were now the actual memorials instead of the trees. It is along the checkdams were the victims names would be engraved. The site being on top of hill and of 406 acres in area meant that one had to phase it out thus breaking the site into 6 different and smaller parts. A generic module was worked out with the journey to each sector starting with an orientation center. Pedestrian pathways were then worked out which would form a network, all interwoven with the landscape. It was along these pedestrian pathways that one would encounter different pause points, reach the checkdams and finally culminate into the sectorial museums. Community participation further informed us about the different programs which the city wished for and thus came the arts and crafts center, the convention facilities, the sunset point and the SETU headquaters. The landscape which thus emerged shows a forest in the middle of a dry, almost barren city with the checkdams and smaller buildings at times jutting out of the landscape, trying to break the silhouette and touching the sky at times.
Smriti Van Check Dams
Walkable City A Proposal for the City of Ahmedabad In an era of mega-projects, can we look at our cities with the mind and skill of the traditional miniature artists? Can we look at ‘walk-able cities’, where most of our life can be met through short, healthy walks though green environs and public transport? Can we simply focus on the needs of different pockets of people rather than on large scale public interventions?Can our present system of governance help see this through? Ahmedabad can be a demonstrative example. Governments are just beginning to put an economic ‘price’ to resources, as they realize that economic growth is directly proportional to the quality of life and its ecological resources. There is a related aspect that many city governments are spending heavily in, and that is, infrastructure for public transport. But even the best designed public transport system needs feeder networks that link it at both ends to the final destinations of users. Without these, one would not have effectively eliminated private transport. 31% of people walk to work in Indian cities, says a 2008 study by the Ministry of Urban Development. A comparable population in our cities still use bicycles. This gives us our idea of ‘linking the greens’, which can address all the above issues. Let us start thinking of “walk-able cities”, where all the essential aspects of one’s life, from living to working to access to basic amenities for daily needs, health, education & recreation, can be covered through a half-hour walk. This can be achieved by linking these ‘walking routes’ along the network of existing green areas, to the public transport routes and nodes. So, within a 1 km (15 minute) walk, one should be able to find amenities and also connect to a public transport point, for access to the rest of the city. But one also has the option of walking further along the ‘greens’ or cycling longer, to reach the same amenities or places of work. The routes can then be planted more intensively to increase the overall green cover.If we start thinking like this, we can start planning, and taking the necessary decisions to make it happen.
The Figure Ground shows us the presence of ample amounts of open land
3.6 km 34
Rivers and Lakes
The Green Belt in the West, Mill Lands in the East, The Cantonement and Institutional Greens forming a continuous link
Parks and Gardens
Natural & Heritage Precincts and open lands adding to the linkage.
The Private Periphery (Dotted with Farmhouses) of Ahmedabad
The BRTS and MRTS System
Pedestrian Pathways as shortcuts in the City
The Green Network as a Resource for the Slums 36
20 Min Walking Distances from the BRTS Stops and the Pedestrian Routes 37
Portfolio of the Academic works done during the Masters Program in Urban Design 2007-2009, International Workshops attended in 2009 and Prof...