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Architecture and Urban Design- Work Samples

Samarth Das

Samarth Das

Date of Birth: Sep 24, 1988 Tel. No: 917.573.4523 Email:


2012 - Present : Masters of Science in Architecture and Urban Design, GSAPP, Columbia University, New York 2006 - 08 : Bachelors of Architecture, K.R.V.I.A, Mumbai University

Work Experience 2013

: Urban Design Lab- The Earth Institute, Columbia University, New York Position

Design / Research Assistant

2011 - 12 : P.K.Das & Associates | Architects and Planners, Mumbai Position Projects


Open Mumbai : Lets Expand Public Spaces, Exhibition Nariman Point Central Business District Redevelopment Scheme, Mumbai Vision Juhu : Neighbourhood Networking Plan, Mumbai B-Ward Cluster Re-development Plans, Proposal, Mumbai Life Insurance Corporation OďŹƒce Complex, Lucknow + Chennai, Competition

2010 - 11 : HCP Design and Project Management Pvt. Ltd., Ahmedabad Position Projects

Design Intern, Urban Design studio

Central Vista Landscape Development Gandhinagar Indian Institute of Technology Gn, Gandhinagar Panchamrut Bhavan museum , Gandhinagar Sachivalaya - Parliament Complex , Gandhinagar

Administrative / Teaching 2010

: Conductor, Foundation Workshop - 1st year architecture students

2009 - 10 : General Secretary, Student Council - K.R.V.I.A

Organizer, Inter-college reviews + exhibitions + sports 2009 : Conductor, Building Technology Workshop 2008 - 10 : Organizer, Annual Exhibition of Student Work, Council of Architecture inspection exhibition 2

Curriculum Vitae

Awards / Academic Achievments

2012 - 13 : Honor Award for Excellence in Design, GSAPP

Lucille Smyser Lowenfish Memorial Award- Best final semester studio project, Kumasi, GSAPP 2010 - 11 : 3rd - Overall Academics - 5th year, K.R.V.I.A 2009 - 10 : Late S.L. Gokhale Memorial Award for Overall Performance - Indian Institute of Architects 2nd - Dr. Baliramji Hiray Trophy Intercollegiate Competition - 4th year 1st - Overall Academics - 4th year, K.R.V.I.A 1st - Technical Subjects (Building Construction + Working Drawings) - 4th year, K.R.V.I.A 2008 - 09 : 2nd - Overall Academics - 3rd year, K.R.V.I.A 1st - Technical Subjects (Building Construction, Services + Working Drawings) - 3rd year, K.R.V.I.A

International Exchange Programs

2010 - 11 : Bern School of Applied Sciences - Architecture, Wood and Civil Engineering, Switzerland Theme : ‘IN:CH - Health and the City’, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Bangalore and Bern 2008 - 09 : Bergen Architect School, Norway Theme : Re-envisioning Dresden National Theatre, Bergen

Software Proficiency

Autodesk : Autocad, Revit, Maya ArcMap + ArcGIS Adobe : Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, AfterEffects Google Sketchup Microsoft Office : Word, Excel, Powerpoint

Travels and places visited

Countries : Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, France, Italy, Austria, Czech- Republic, Greece, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Netherlands, Germany, Egypt, United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada and Ghana

India :

Kolkata, Lakshadweep Islands, Sikkim, Leh- Ladakh, Delhi, Lucknow, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Kerela, Orissa, Assam, Rajasthan. 3

Growing Canopies : Kumasi Metropolitan Area, Ghana Spring Semester Semester: :2013, 2013GSAPP, Columbia University Team : Scott Archer, Samarth Das, Vanessa Espaillat, Sagi Golan The fast growing population of Kumasi is putting immense pressure on several key infrastructures, natural ecology and most importantly the health of the city. This project focuses on the concept of ‘holistic health’ in the development of the city of Kumasi. The strategy is tested within two sites — a pilot project in waste management within a new peri-urban municipality of Asokore Mampong; and a rural site that encompasses the design of a specialist hospital. The comprehensive system comprises various elements of holistic health, such as the healthcare system, traditional herbal medicines, aspects of eco-therapy, allopathic pharmaceutical industry as well as waste management. Our project aims to evolve a strategy that synthesizes these elements in order to have a meaningful impact on the overall health of the city of Kumasi. Kumasi’s landscape consists of a series of ecological corridors that transverse the city, creating green spinal connections through its fabric. These lands are presently threatened by sprawl and encroachment of housing, informal commerce, agriculture, and industry. These corridors can become key areas where development of productive canopies and sustainable harvesting safeguard the same while contributing to the region’s economy.


Overall strategy plan for the Kumasi region


The pharmaceutical industry has been noted as an essential area of investment for the city of Kumasi. Favorable political policies coupled with an immense human knowledge capital emerging from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology provide the city with competitive advantages in developing this industry locally. The increase in demands for traditional herbal medicines suggest cultivation of an industry focused on the production and distribution of these herbs — 85% of which grow within the region’s semi-deciduous climate. A formal distribution corridor along the Tamale-Accra road, along with the upgrading of the airport and a new ring road proposal, places Kumasi strategically within the nation as well as the sub-Saharan region. Severe environmental degradation and frequent epidemics give the city the urgency to develop new treatments and drugs. The eco-corridors are also threatened by poor waste management. Providing a new system of collection as well as co-composting household and human wastes can begin to reduce the contamination of the city’s waterways. Currently filled with various types of waste, these waterways are distributing water-borne disease through direct human contact, dispersed agriculture irrigation and fostered mosquito proliferation.


Kumasi – once known as the Garden City of West Africa - faces a great challenge to preserve and utilize their lush protected lands along its waterways, which have become the city’s key environmental infrastructure. The rapidly increasing population and the informal encroachment of extensive agricultural production has inflicted immense pressure on the quality of the waterways and urban productive lands. The cleaner irrigation water and newly produced compost would create higher yields for farmers as well as diminishing the spread of these diseases. Bottom-up cooperative models of development play an important role in improving the socio-economic conditions of their members and local communities. The organizational system provides both economic and social benefits, strengthening community networks and reinforcing the importance of cooperation and education through waste management and medicinal plant production strategies. In the dual political system, traditional authorities have complete ownership of the land and therefore play an important role in the land provision. Meanwhile, the modern government will continue to have a managerial role within the strategy.


Asokore Mampong, the first municipality outside of Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) boundaries, currently faces complex land tenure ship, environmental degradation, together with poor systems of service management and provision. Asokore Mampong needs to implement collaborative governance structures that bring together partners from all sectors of society. The eco-corridor strategy is based on an environmental remediation plan, which restores the important natural canopy, replenishes the eroded soil with co-composting process of human and organic waste, collects and cleans the rainwater runoff and sets up an economy of medicinal herbal production. This system is devised through a series of wet-bottom ponds and terraced bio-swales that slow down rainwater runoff flow and naturally cleanse it before releasing it to the waterway. After the water and waste system has been put in place, the medicinal plant cooperatives begin the process of selective harvest of medicinal plants, completely transforming the waterways into productive eco-corridors for the municipality.





Organic Household Waste

Composted Human Waste


With extremely high maternal and child mortality in Ghana and a severe brain drain in Kumasi’s health system, WAHF hospital has an opportunity to become a leading hospital in Kumasi locally, and internationally in the sub-Saharan region. By focusing on these health issues and providing specialty care, while retaining and training skilled doctors. WAHF creates a holistic approach to the role of the hospital. This holistic approach is not only programmatic but also uses herbal medicine as part of the healing process by developing codes of dosage and usage in the research and development center within the hospital. The hospital plays an important role in its relationship to the town of Juaben, where women from the town will be employed in the herbal and therapeutic center. The town itself will cater to visitors that come to the hospital by providing lodging and dining facilities. The hospital’s economic model provides health care for high income patients, who in turn will subsidize lower income patients and providing funding for the upgrade of the existing district hospital.



Comprehensive understanding of the functioning of a hospital through various case studies led us to evolve a plan that deals effectively with issues of efficiency, adjacency of programs, privacy and security. The plan organizes the most public elements of the hospital— primarily the diagnostic and consultation centers, to be accessible easily to the majority of visitors. This initial out-patient department leads into a more private and secured in-patient facility with operation theaters, single patient rooms and wards for men, women and children. Stressing on the importance of herbal medicine, a therapeutic healing center is located towards the end of the site, along with short-term hotel rooms for patients’ families. Through each stage of its development, this plan has constantly aimed at integrating the formal programs of the hospital with the healing aspect of natural landscapes. The courtyard becomes a formal element of organization and orientation for users, setting up a rhythm of movement through the hospital. It allows natural light to flood the corridors and rooms while facilitating cross ventilation of air.




The entrance facade of the hospital is key in asserting the presence and identity of the hospital on the main Ejisu-Juaben road. The image of the hospital as a leading center for training as well as research and development is asserted by locating these programs on this edge. In the design of the hospital, we use the concept of an architectural canopy that integrates the building with the ecological canopy, which provides shade, facilitates ventilation, collects rainwater and hosts solar panels oriented for capturing maximum sunlight. It becomes the visual identity of the hospital and is an element that unifies the various parts of the building. The project also capitalizes on the heavy rainfall and strong sunlight by collection in storage tanks for irrigation purposes as well as storing solar energy. Other systems in the building include a passive cooling mechanism. In conclusion, the design of the hospital aims to promote the well-being of its patients through the overall values of holistic health that it embodies.












Open Mumbai - Let’s Expand Open Spaces P.K.Das & Associates | Architects and Planners Publication + Exhibition, 2012

As Mumbai expands, its open spaces are shrinking. The democratic ‘space’ that ensures accountability and enables dissent is also shrinking, very subtly but surely. Unfortunately, over the years, open spaces have become ‘leftovers’ or residual spaces, after construction potential has been exploited. Comprehensive mapping of the city's open spaces done by the firm, have led to the evolution of a 'People's Plan' for Mumbai city. It aims at redefining land use and development, placing people and community life at the centre of planning, not real estate and building potential. It redefines the ‘notion’ of open spaces to go beyond gardens and recreational grounds; to include the vast, diverse natural assets of the city, including rivers, creeks, mangroves & wetlands. The plan also aims to create non-barricaded, non-elitist spaces that provide access to all our citizens for leisure, relaxation, art and cultural life. A plan that ensures open spaces are not only available but are geographically and culturally integral to neighbourhoods and a participatory community life. This plan along with its elements were displayed in a public exhbition for a period of two months at the highly reputed National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) in Mumbai.



Beach Conservation and Nourishment

Like most of our coastline, beaches too have been neglected, abused and misused. There is no plan for their conservation and protection either. In this plan we connect the various beaches with other open spaces and their neighborhoods to prevent their isolation while achieving the integration and expansion of open spaces in the city.

River Re-vitilization




As with every other natural asset, these rivers too have been continuously neglected and abused with the dumping of solid waste and debris, releasing sewage into them and land filling. The proposed development of riverfronts as open public spaces establish a much needed buffer zone with vegetation and an opportunity for walking, cycling, and leisure.




Nullahs are drains for storm water. But in Mumbai, due to lack of planning and shortage of sewage networks, nullahs are used for sewage. Through this plan we propose walking and cycling tracks along with plantations on both sides along the nullahs to network and integrate these with open spaces and neighbourhoods.

Irla nullah masterplan

Right top : Existing; Centre : Vision


Railway Stations

Trains are the lifeline of Mumbai and almost 7 million Mumbaikars use them every day to travel to work. The city has 51 stations, covering 155 acres. These ‘Roof Plazas’ with extensive landscaping and public facilities would not only provide substantial open space, but also enable easy access to and from platforms, help commuter dispersal and contribute substantially to the idea of expanding public open spaces in our city.


Creeks and Mangroves

Creeks are a distinct geographic feature of Mumbai. Along with the creeks a rich variety of mangroves characterise the ecological and environmental landscape. We propose ways by which the continuing abuse can be arrested and the edges of the creeks and mangrove areas developed as public open spaces,providing a much-needed barrier or buffer zone.


Wetland Conservation

In urban planning and development terms, wetlands including saltpans are commonly understood as wastelands and therefore considered under-utilized. In this plan we propose the creation of planned public spaces along the wetlands edges as a part of a larger conservation plan. Boardwalks, promenades and gardens along their edges will allow us to enjoy the rich natural treasures that we have in the city. Before



Juhu Vision Plan : Area Networking P.K.Das & Associates | Architects and Planners 2012

Mumbai is a city of constant evolution. Each neighbourhood has its own unique set of strengths, weaknesses and opportunities, best understood by the people who live and have an interest in it. Vision Juhu is a pilot project that demonstrates a direction that could become a role model for neighbourhood planning. By involving members of every section of society, government organizations and experts from the urban planning sector, the aims to re-envisage how the neighbourhood ofJuhu can be alternatively planned.

Exsiting conditions of public spaces in Juhu


Exsiting conditions of public spaces in Juhu

View of Juhu neighbourhood looking south

In terms of physical planning, the aim is to develop contiguous open spaces by interconnecting various areas open to the public. This would develop a green spine through the city and its different localities – nourishing community life, neighbourhood engagement and public participation. With public space being the main planning criteria, the hope is to promote a more collective culture and resist alienation of individuals or groups. Exsiting conditions of public spaces in Juhu


Revelation, Transparency and Integration : Civic Amenities and Infrastructure Design Dissertation, K.R.V.I.A., Mumbai 5th year: 2010-11

My keen interest in the relationships that governments share with the common people of the city culminated in my thesis, which was essentially aimed at dealing with the government bodies and citizens, to evolve a new language for participatory planning. The project was developed to promote the ideas of Revelation, Transparency and Integration of public amenities , administration and related setups with the city and its people. The masterplan aims at promoting transparency of government amenities through active interaction and vigilance of citizens and integrating them into the area. The programs included in the civic centre are designed to supplement the existing amenities in the ward. Buildings should provide easily accessible built up spaces and also a smooth transition into open spaces. The final vision importantly focuses on the revitalization of the storm drain.

Site Conditions


Masterplan at +2.5m

Evolution of masterplan for the Juhu neighbourhood nullah

The site chosen was a part of a storm water drain (Nullah) adjoining the longest stretch of public land in the ward on either side. Locating this project on public land was most appropriate instead of getting private developers involved. The drain is currently misused as an open sewer and hence is filthy and neglected. The project aims at cleansing the water system, while integrating the public spaces within the neighbourhood. Layered analysis of masterplan


Plan of Municipal Administrative Outpost at +2.5m

Plan of Municipal Administrative Outpost at +5.5m


Administrative structure of Mumbai’s local government

Section A-A’

Section B-B’

Section D-D’

Section C-C’

Located south of the municipal market and directly across existing housing for government officials, this Municipal Administrative Outpost abuts the biggest road of the area. The building houses the most public elements of the local government, i.e. junior officials of each of the 13 departments of the ward office in an effort to decentralize interaction centres for citizens. The citizens’ facilitation center is a key addition. Architecturally, volumes appear to be coming out from under the roof which is a metaphor for a cloth, thereby ‘revealing’ the government setup to the public.

Architectural explorations of the concept of transparency - with volumes punctured by accentuated circulation


View of feature wall with circulation puncturing the building

View of reception


Overhead view of the citizen’s facilitation center with the main block in the background


Plan of Municipal Market at +2.5m


Plan of Municipal Market at +5.5m

Section A-A’

Section B-B’

Section C-C’

Section D-D’

Located at the north end of the site, this municipal market’s free and open nature promotes easy access and movement to those walking through the site. Strategically located across from the primary bus depot of the area, the market allows itself to plug in to the daily activities of the public. The administrative body is located above the market symbolises transparency and approachability to the government agency in charge of the maintanence and safekeeping of the market. The market steps down to the water giving rise to a public plaza that can become an informal performance or exhibition space.

Section E-E’


View of entrance to market with administrative block above


View from a pedestirian bridge crossing over towards market


Samarth Das: Work Samples- Architecture and Urban Design  

Work samples that include four specific projects that exemplify my design ideologies

Samarth Das: Work Samples- Architecture and Urban Design  

Work samples that include four specific projects that exemplify my design ideologies