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FACULTY OF ARCHITECTURE, CEPT UNIVERSITY

Houses of traditional Kolkata Understanding adaptability of a type in context of Urban transformations

Saptarshi Mitra UA 3407 Guide : Jigna Desai

The dissertation examines the old core of the city as an entity changing with time, at the same time having continuity in terms of adaptations of existing buildings. An enquiry is made at the nature of adaptability of types, and the nature of the changing fabric under pressures of urbanity.


index 0.

INTRODUCTION

0.4.

0.1. Introduction 0.2. Aim: 0.3. Methodology of Research Chapter Overview

1.

PREMISE _ CONCEPTS 1.1. 1.2.

2.

2.2.

The Place 2.1.1. Location, Topography 2.1.2. Climate Events that shape the Place

20 20 21 22

THE GRAIN _ PATTERNS OF CHANGE _ CONTINUITY 3.1. 3.2. 3.3.

4.

8 9 9 11 14 14

KOLKATA _ THE CITY _ THE PLACE 2.1.

3.

Premise Concepts 1.2.1. Buildings in place and time. 1.2.2. Typology as history – Built-form as a physical document of change 1.2.3. The plan of the dissertation 1.2.4. Methods of analysis

2 3 5 6

The Area of Study 3.1.1. The process of Selection 3.1.2. Backdrop of the Place Character of the Place 3.2.1. Thematic Maps 3.2.2. Documentation of Major Streets The Built Fabric 3.3.1. The Patterns in the Fabric 3.3.2. Parallel Processes of Change

39 39 41 49 49 57 60 60 69

THE INDIVIDUALS _ ADAPTATIONS_ VARIATIONS 4.1. 4.2.

Selection of Case Studies 4.1.1. The process of Selection 4.1.2. The Selected CASE STUDIES 4.2.1. Case Study 1 68/1 Durga Charan Mitra Street 4.2.2. Case Study 2 30A and 30B Durga Charan Mitra Street 4.2.3. Case Study 3 70 Durga Charan Mitra Street

72 72 75 79 79 93 109


4.3. 5.

4.2.4. Case Study 4 8 Beadon Row Correlating findings across case studies

125 141

INFERENCES 5.1. 5.1.1. Inferences from the neighbourhood studied 5.1.2. Inferences from the buildings studied 5.2. Test Case 5.3. Adaptability of the traditional type 5.3.1. Defining the aspects of the type: 5.3.2. Limits and Potentials of adaptability of the type 5.4. Endnote:

ILLUSTRATION CREDITS BIBLIOGRAPHY ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

146 147 149 154 155 157 161 162 164 165


Chapter 0

0. 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4

INTRODUCTION Introduction Aim, Objectives, Scope and Limitations Methodology Chapter Overview


2

0.1. Introduction The essence of a city manifests itself in the old parts of that city. The ‘pols’ of Ahmedabad, ‘Chandni Chowk’ in Delhi, ‘Fort’ in Mumbai; these are places that bring out the true character of the city. These old cores have a very high density of Built. Over time, these places experience a plethora of changes that in luence the fabric, and those result in a multitude of varying responses to the in luences. The fabric hence becomes a manifestation of different events through history, and parallel processes of development. “…cities are patterns, imbued with meanings and value systems, as well as indicative of determinants that shaped it.” (Kostof, 1991, p. 5)

What is the future of the old core of a city? How does one intervene in these kinds of settings? In order to develop an approach to the existing, one must understand the value of the existing. Hence, the dissertation looks at an old core of a city, and tries to trace transformations in the Urban Fabric. The patterns of transformations can lead to valuable insight into the dialogues between culture, society and its manifestations in the built form. The study majorly investigates into the continuity of the traditional types, and the variations it has undergone as responses to changes at the level of the city. Such insight can illuminate on the logic/ concerns involved in the adaptation/ evolution of the type as guidelines of ideas for future development and interventions in the traditional fabric of the city.

introduction


3

Chapter 0

0.2. Aim: The study proposes to understand the process of transformation in the old core of a city, and the nature of adaptations in the traditional type by looking at traditional areas and their transformations in time. Objectives: To inquire into the patterns of change and continuity in the old core of the city. To document differing responses of the built form with reference to the changes in the city/ context/society. To document and understand ‘change’ in buildings with ‘time’, and variations of change with respect to scale and complexity of the built. To examine the potentials of continuity and adaptability in the traditional type by inquiring into the ideas of the type. Scope and Limitations: The study focuses primarily on the north Kolkata traditional area, and looks at unravelling ideas behind its evolution. The scope of this study is to look at existing built form and its response to different situations in the form of adaptation in the old core of the city. It does not focus on the quality of the direct architectural response. The sample neighbourhood taken for study has been chosen as a generic representation of the North Kolkata traditional neighbourhood. The study inferences are basic indicators of the general pattern of its evolution and intrinsic design rationale that are valid for similar areas. Though there is a component of social, cultural inferences drawn in the dissertation, they are drawn on the basis of secondary sources of literature, informal conversations with the residents and the author’s own inferences from being a part of the city. These observations are qualitative in nature.


introduction

4

Plate .I.

FRAMEWORK


5

Chapter 0

0.3. Methodology of Research The study starts off with a description of the main premises from which the ideas in the dissertation are based and explored. It leads on to discussing the main concepts / terminologies used as parts of the arguments, secondary sources and different points of view. An attempt is made to look at literature that relates change and the city at various scales, works on typology, and on building (v.) in existing fabric. It also discusses literature that talks about architecture as manifestation of a larger level of events. Concepts of adaptation and continuity are also looked at. The dissertation positions itself amongst the existing views. Next the city of Kolkata is looked at with a view to understand its origins, and broad physical and historic characteristics. An area in the old core of the city of Kolkata is then taken up for investigation. Reasons for selection of the said area are made clear. A preliminary survey is done in order to understand the composition of built form and types in the area. Secondary sources of literature which talk about the locality are examined, trying to discern the social, economic and cultural backdrop of the place. The major building types and their manifestations are looked at. The fabric is documented in terms of differing expressions and variations; kinds of changes that they have undergone. As a inal step the type is discussed in terms of its key ideas, and how (if at all) these ideas were bene icial to accommodating changes in the type. The intention is to come up with a narrative of the place in time, as a back and forth process of incidents and accommodations. The ideas/ concepts of the types are looked at in relation to change, and causative factors of said changes. These together give an idea of the nature of built-form and its change, with time as a part of the story of the city.


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0.4. Chapter Overview Chapter 1 _ Premise_ Concepts The chapter comprises of an overview of the premises on which the study bases itself. It goes on to discuss certain key concepts that have been used as core ideas. The study positions itself amongst these existing views. The main concepts discussed are about the city as manifestation of history, society and culture, buildings as objects in space and time, typology and its various meanings, concepts of adaptation and continuity. A framework of study and analysis, at both the level of a city and the level of a building are identi ied. Chapter 2 _ Kolkata _The City _ The Place The second chapter looks at the city of Kolkata. Location, topography, climate and key historic markers are discussed, aimed at creating a concise time line of the city through history. Chapter 3 _The Grain _ Patterns Of Change _ Continuity An area for study is selected, and the area is discussed in relation to the city, and to events in history (both at the level of the city and also local history). The neighbourhood is studied in terms of the established framework. Certain patterns of transformation are identi ied and discussed in relation to social, economic and cultural changes in the city. The evolution of the city has been studied for parallel trends of development at a macro level. Chapter 4 _The Individuals _ Adaptations _ Variations The chapter contains the architectural documentation of the selected cases, reasons for selection; and interviews of the present owners. The buildings are analysed in terms of changes and types of changes. An effort is made to view these changes as manifestations of events at a larger scale. The cases are analysed in terms of Adaptations, Ownership and Space Syntax, and their manifestations in a building’s ive layers. Chapter 5 _Inferences This chapter attempts to create an understanding out of the observed patterns, at the scale of both the city and the individual buildings, and elaborates on the ideas of adaptability of the traditional type.


Chapter 1

1. 1.1 1.2

PREMISE _ CONCEPTS Premise Concepts 1.2.1 Buildings in place and time 1.2.2 Typology as history – Built-form as a physical document of change 1.2.3 Plan of the Dissertation 1.2.4 Methods of Analysis


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1.1. Premise 1.1.1. ‘Nothing is experienced in itself, but always in relation to its surroundings, the sequence of events located upto it; the memory of past experiences.’ (Lynch, 1972, p.1)

The city, from its genesis is witness to many events, and these events shape the city in certain directions. The events can be at varying scales, ranging from global events like colonialism to local events like natural disasters. The city can be seen as manifestations of all these events, as an entity that is continuously transforming with time. Kevin Lynch has argued about the pluralist nature of cities, a combination of many sub-cities, with their own patterns of development, yet linked together via a system of dependencies and interrelationships. Hence the city has evidences of many parallel processes of transformations, of change; and continuity. ‘The Architecture governs the genius loci, the spirit and identity of a place. It encompasses the persistent qualities as well as the potential of the built environment.’ (Cramer & Breitling, 2007, p. 18)

The changes in the city, thus, create conditions that inform changes in individual buildings.

1.1.2. The old is viewed in con licting ways, as representative of stagnancy and decay, or conversely as proof of survival and accommodation. The dissertation believes that ‘existing’ has ‘value’. Buildings, speci ically old buildings, have been existing in the fabric for considerable periods of time. This value associated to such buildings has many facets. The irst and most obvious value is value in terms of resources, material, and energy that have gone into it. A lot of technique and craftsmanship is involved in the making of the building. The Architecture of an individual building, in that sense always contributes to collective memory, the culture of building (v.). The buildings also have socio-cultural values. ‘The built environment carry with it important meanings from one generation to the next, and serves as a repository of cultural meanings.’ (Tweed & Sutherland, 2007, p. 4) These

meanings are embedded in the building, in the way people live and interact with them. Changes in the buildings reϐlect changes in society and culture of the place.

premise _ concepts


9

Chapter 1

1.2. Concepts 1.2.1. Buildings in place and time. ‘…the city is a construction in space…a thing perceived only in the course of long spans of time.’ (Lynch, 1972, p. 1)

The same thought can be propounded in the case of the buildings, as buildings are the units that constitute the physicality of the city. The modernist movement sees buildings as objects in space. ‘Modernism blew apart the relationship between the history and the city…’ (Boyer, 1994, p. 4). In such a context, buildings tend to be visualized as

static objects in time. The work of Kenneth Frampton can be referred to for an idea of both positive and negative implications such thought had on architecture (refer Modern Architecture: a Critical History for elaboration on this topic). ‘Being modern in the early part of the twentieth century meant, among other things, being self-consciously new, blowing up the continuum of tradition, and breaking with the past…’ (Boyer, 1994, p. 5)

However, the view this dissertation aligns to is that a building, like society, culture, even technology, is a dynamic object in both time and space. The theories of British theorist Frank Duffy, and later Stewart Brand talk about buildings in relation to time, as a continuous process and not merely a product. This concept of a building as an object in time needs to be discussed in context of two other factors. The irst of these factors looks at building (v.) as a collective process and a building (n.) as manifestation of shared knowledge. The second factor consists of the concept of adaptability. 1.2.1.a. Building as a collective process, as manifestation of shared knowledge A house is essentially a communal production: one man cannot build one house, but a hundred men can easily build a hundred houses (Hasan Fathy as quoted by Petruccioli, 2007, p. 15).

The sentence brings out the essence of the process of building as a process which is inherently collective in nature. Evidences of this process can be seen in vernacular/ traditional architecture. The building becomes a vessel for carrying codi ied information. The concept of type as discussed by Attilio Petruccioli described in the next section elaborates further on this concept. The same phenomenon has been explained in a systems view by Hillier B. and Hanson J. (1984). If the system is viewed as a


premise _ concepts

10

programme, then; ‘The programme does not generate reality. Reality generates a programme, one whose description is retrievable, leading to self-reproduction of the system under reasonably stable conditions. Thus reality is its own programme. The abstract description (of the system) is built into the material organization of reality.’ (Hillier & Hanson, 1984, p. 44)

In other words, buildings are both the product, and the carrier of shared knowledge. 1.2.1.b.

Adaptability

The etymology of the word adapt can be traced to early 14th century Latin, aptus, meaning ‘suited, itted’, to adaptare, meaning ‘to join’, through Middle French as adapter, to its English roots in 1610 to mean ‘to it something for some purpose’. It inherently talks about an existing situation/scenario/building, and its transformation in order to ful il certain purpose. If the dissertation talks about buildings as dynamic objects in time, then an aspect of change is ingrained in the existence of the building. The building adapts to the changes happening around it, to physical factors and non-physical factors. Adaptability in this case can be de ined as the ability of the building to accommodate change and maintain a continuity of its original characters. Hence, adaptability of a building becomes a parameter of importance for a building’s existence in time. 1.2.1.c.

Summary

The dissertation believes buildings are dynamic objects in time. Hence, they have an ability to record shared knowledge of the society. At the same time, they need to change with time, and have an inherent potential for adaptability. All these together result in buildings portraying the character of a particular place, and its evolution through time.


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Chapter 1

1.2.2. Typology as history – Built-form as a physical document of change The etymological roots of the word type can be traced to the Latin word typus which comes from the Greek word typos. Typos means a blow, or an impression, or an image of a igure in the sense of being beaten or struck. According to the dictionary, type can be de ined as a person or a thing that exhibits the characteristic qualities of a class; a representative specimen; a typical example or instance. In other words, a group of objects having same characteristics can be said to belong to a particular type. The process of creating types, is simplifying the variations from a group of objects and classifying them according to their similarities. The inherent nature of types, then focuses not on the uniqueness of a single instance, but the repeatability of the typical characters which according to Moneo is the very essence of architectural objects. Common examples of the inherent use of types can be seen in language, where we often typify things without conscious realization. Words like chair, bed, and vehicle are some examples of a type; where the essential commonalities make sense across the groups of objects that these words refer to, even if there might be large differences between individual objects in the group. There have been many different points of view through history on the idea of the type. Quatremere de Quincy introduced the idea of type to the architecture (1780’s). According to him, type relates to logic of form connected with reason and use, and a strong association with the past. The formal notion of Quincy was discarded by Durand (1800’s), in favour of a functional classi ication and a theory of composition of elements in a grid (Fig 1.2). Saverio Muratori (1950’s) understood the type as a generator of the city, one that over time through history develops and makes systems of different scales. G. C. Argan interpreted Quatremere’s de inition of the type as an inner formal structure of a building or series of buildings. For Aldo Rossi, the logic of architectural form lies in a de inition of type based on the juxtaposition of memory and reason. Robert Venturi interpreted the idea of type as an image. Type can be looked as a formal structure, that of a deeper geometric similarity. This would mean speaking about centrality of linearity, clusters or grids. It can also be grouped according to similarity of function, even similarity of the nature of spatial systems. During rise of modern movement, mass production and the need for repeatability generated from type the term prototype.


12

premise _ concepts

Fig.1.1. Typifying columns

Fig.1.2. Combinations, J. N. L. Durand, 1809.

Fig.1.3. Typological process of the taberna house


13

Chapter 1

Attilio Petruccioli (1990’s) describes the idea of type as follows: ‘…type is not a manipulation of morphology or a banal classiϔication of functions, but a universal concept manifested in built forms that are rooted in the historic process and social behaviour.’ (Petruccioli, 2007, p. 15)

This view talks about the type not as an imagined static set of relationships, but a dynamic, time dependant and ever evolving one. According to him, ‘…typology is history, since types are the projections of society in time.’ (Petruccioli, 2007, p. 19)

The idea of the type, hence, does not refer to a single set of rules, but carries with it all the limitations and contradictions derived from the use of that particular type through history. In that way, it is a part of shared heritage and shared knowledge. How it is used depends on an individual’s interpretation of the shared information, and his personal experiences. The other important concept related to the type is the typological process (Fig.1.3). ‘…idea of type as history cannot be separated from the idea of process. The most relevant concept of typological theory is processuality, which ϔixes the mutations of type in the historic duration.’ (Petruccioli, 2007, pp. 38-39)

The types undergo variations and transformations, mutations over a period of time that can consolidate to create new types. At the same time new types are imported into the fabric, creating further differentiation. This view of the type as suggested by Attilio Petruccioli is in tune with the ideas of buildings as changing objects in time, and concepts of change continuity and adaptability. The dissertation looks at types as history, and the resultant built form as a physical document of change in time.


premise _ concepts

14

1.2.3. The plan of the dissertation The dissertation has two clear parts, the study of the city and the study of the buildings. The study of the city is necessary to create a backdrop of place, society and culture, and how they have evolved over time. Timelines at the end of the chapter on the city and the neighbourhood present various observed parameters in a common framework. The study of the buildings traces their change and continuity within the backdrop of happenings at the level of the city. The events at the level of the city are discussed from the period of its genesis (1690’s) to the present. The timeline of this study at the scale of the neighbourhood and the buildings, however, is focused to the period from the beginning of the 19th century to the present, with emphasis on large scale changes that happened in the selected areas from the beginning of the 20th century. Presence of relevant data was an important parameter in deciding the time frame the dissertation deals with at various scales. An important thing to be kept in mind is that the dissertation has purposely refrained from stating causal connections between happenings at the level of the city, and those of the level of individual buildings. This comes from an understanding that many simultaneous complex factors and their interplay connects happenings at both these levels, and stating a relationship between individual factors at both these scales is an over-simpli ied view of this complex process.

1.2.4. Methods of analysis In the process of this dissertation, several methods of analysis have been used, depending on the nature of the study. The following section gives a short description of each of these methods. 1.2.4.a.

Method of Mapping

The method of mapping has been used extensively for purpose of the analysis at the scale of the neighbourhood. The process involves the superimposition of a certain selected parameter and its check against the existing in the chosen area. The method is very useful to generate certain thematic maps on the area of study, from Ď?irst hand observation and documentation of the place, where the inherent complexity of the place prevents holistic observations.


15

Chapter 1

Detail from the 1784 Nolli map showing: (837) Pantheon, (842) Piazza della Minerva, and the Insula Sapientiae (Island of Wisdom) aka Insula Dominicana including (844) Church and Convent of Santa Maria sopra Minerva and former, College of St. Thomas including (843) Palazzo della Minerva c. 1560 (now Bibliotecca del Senato of the Italian government), Guidetti Cloister c. 1565[1] (nearest to Church), Cisterna Cloister,Sala del Refettorio, Sale dell’Inquisizione, and Sala delle Capriate (former library of the College of St. Thomas)

Fig.1.4. Nolli’s Map of Rome, enlarged detail, 1748.

A historically signi icant map generated as a result of a mapping exercise is the map of Rome by Giambattista Nolli (Fig.1.4) engraved in the year 1748. In this particular map, all open public spaces of the city then have been mapped, while all the built has been represented as masses re lecting their igure ground. Hence, one can say that the Nolli’s Map is a thematic representation of the open public space of the city. After the process of initial mapping, a secondary level of study has been carried out, by the process of superimposition of various thematic maps to understand relationships between the complex parameters that exist in the city, and their relationship with the built fabric. 1.2.4.b.

Layers in a building

There are different ways in which a building type can be deconstructed for the purpose of study. In many cases the building is de-constructed into its elements, and systems (rules) of combinations of said elements. A study of elements and styles are also methods adopted in order to carry out comparative studies of different examples (as adopted by Sir Banister Fletcher in his comparative history of Architecture). A different approach is adopted to study of buildings in this dissertation, appropriate in light of the importance of time, adaptability and continuity discussed as part of the main concepts discussed in the preceding pages. The building consists of six layers (Fig.1.5), each of a different longevity, which are Site, Structure, Skin, Services, Space Plan and Stuff. The longevity of the site is maximum, and that of stuff is minimal (Brand, 1994, pp. 12-13).


premise _ concepts

16

At most times, the slow processes restrict the quick processes. But at times of major changes in the system, the quick processes can in luence the slow. ‘The quick processes provide originality and challenge, the slow processes provide continuity and constraint.’ (Brand, 1994, p. 17)

These six layers have been modiϐied into ϐive layers in which the building is analysed in this dissertation, which are as follows. SITE: This is the geographic setting, the plot boundary, and the public gestures of the building. STRUCTURE: These consist of the foundation and the load- bearing structures of the building. SKIN: These consist of the surfaces, opening styles. SERVICES: These are circulation, water supply, drainage and HVAC systems. SPACE: The spatial organization of the house, spaces and their relationships. The method of analysis is suitable for studying examples across scales and complexities, where elements and styles might even vary. At the same time, studying each layer across examples can also lead to interesting observations on the degree of transformation of each layer. 1.2.4.c.

Space Syntax Analysis

The analysis of change and adaptations at the scale of the building necessitated a method which could be used to study ways in which architectural decisions are by products of social consequences. ‘Buildings are not just objects, but transformations of space through objects. It is the fact that space creates the special relation between function and social meaning in buildings. The ordering of space in buildings is about the ordering of relations between people. Because of this, society enters into the very form and nature of buildings.’ (Hillier & Hanson, 1984, pp. 1-2).

Fig.1.5. (left above) the six layers of a building Fig.1.6. (above) cumulative capital cost of a building after 50 years


17

Chapter 1

Hillier B. and Hanson J. and their method of Space Syntax analysis incorporated social meanings in its way of interpretation. This method of Space Syntax analysis has been adopted for this purpose. This methodology can be applied to any architectural structure and has the potential to highlight spatial characteristics which would otherwise remain less obvious or even hidden. Also, the inherent qualities of this method to highlight space adjacency, and permeability make comparative observations clear. A few key points to be noted are as follows.

Fig.1.7. convex spaces

In this process, house plans are reduced to a series of convex spaces (Hillier & Hanson, 1984, p. 94). These are spaces which can be totally viewed from any vantage point within the space (Fig.1.7). These spaces are arranged according to how they are related to each other through openings, or through other spaces. There are certain parameters which describe the attributes of a certain convex space: 1. Permeability: This parameter determines the degree of control on that space. In other words it determines how accessible that space is in the system. 2. Symmetry or Asymmetry: This de ines relationships between two or more spaces. Two spaces are symmetric if their relationship is the same to a third space, asymmetric if they are not. 3. Distributedness or Non-distributedness: This parameters talk about routes, and multiplicity of choice in going from space a to space b. The plan has been converted into a convex map, and a permeability map is generated from the convex map (Fig. 1.8). In the permeability map, the spaces are shown as circles, and the connections as lines joining them. Added to these are certain demarcations which eases the process of representing observations in this dissertation. The new spaces are marked differently, and so are vertical circulation cores. All services are mapped in colour in the permeability maps, and ownership patterns of the sub-units in a building are indicated.

Fig.1.8. making permeability maps from plans


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Chapter 2

2. 2.1 2.2

KOLKATA _ THE CITY _ THE PLACE The Place 2.1.1 Location, Topography 2.1.2 Climate Events that shape the Place


kolkata _ the city _ the place

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2.1. The Place 2.1.1. Location, Topography Kolkata (Calcutta) is the capital of the state of West Bengal in India. It is the most important centre of trade, education and culture in East India. As of the census of India 2011, the city of Kolkata is home to 45 Lac people, and the Urban agglomeration around the city is home to 1.44 Crore people. At present, the city limits are under the jurisdiction of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) and have an area of 185 square kilometres.

Fig.2.1. (left) Political map of India showing West Bengal Fig.2.2. (right) Map showing districts of West Bengal, and Kolkata

The Geographic region of Kolkata (Calcutta) is dominated by the meandering Hooghly River. The City is located on the east bank of the river, and spreads North-South. The river forms the western most limit of the Gangetic Delta. Kolkata (22o 34’N, 88o 22’ E) is a typical riverine city surrounded by marshes and wetlands. The city’s mean elevation ranges from 1.5 metres to 9 metres above sea level.1 The land is highest on the Western edge, near the River, and slopes gradually towards the wetlands on the east. The wetlands over the years have been reclaimed in parts to house the city’s increasing population. However, the remaining wetlands are now an endangered ecosystem and are protected by the Ramsar convention.

1

from Space Radar Image of Kolkata 1999, as quoted in Wikipedia (accessed on 20.01.2013)

Fig.2.3. (left below) Topographic map of the city, 1951 Fig.2.4. (right below) Google Earth image showing Kolkata and suburbs, dated 05.03.2012


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Chapter 2

2.1.2. Climate Kolkata has a tropical hot-and-humid climate. The annual mean temperature is around 26.8oC. Summers are hot and humid, with maximum temperatures reaching around 40oC, but the humidity rises to around 95% . Winters are short, and moderately cold, with minimum temperatures ranging between 8oC-11oC. Kolkata receives an annual rainfall of 1582mm on account of the South-Western monsoon. It also experiences heavy rainfall and thunderstorms during the months of April-June, and the phenomena is called kalbaishakhi; or the ‘Nor-westers’ in English.


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2.2. Events that shape the Place According to Kevin Lynch, cities are shaped, both as a physical construct and also as an image, by a sequence of events, over a span of time. It is a construct with superimposed layers of complexity, where meaning is created, preserved and even altered by impacts of certain events occurring through a span of time. (Lynch, 1972) The city fabric, its growth, and its transformation records the evidences of such events. Thus it becomes important to understand major events, and developments of a city as a precursor to understanding its transformations. Maps are records of a city, from a particular instance in time. According to renowned cartographer J.B.Harley, maps are important carriers of meaning. In addition to carrying a record of the existing, it has embedded layers of meaning, biases and politics that re lect on the larger socio-political scenarios that exist at that point in time. Various texts which talk about the history of Kolkata are related to these maps, in order to arrive at a broad overview of the way in which the city transformed. The overview is necessary in order to understand the way the traditional area of the city evolved, and major socio-economic events that shaped it.

kolkata _ the city _ the place


Chapter 2

23

Fig.2.5. Beginnings of Kolkata, 1690 (redrawn on the basis of Dutta, Partho; Planning the city, Urbanization and reform in Kolkata)

British Kolkata was found when Job Charnock signed a charter for trade in 1690 (Fig. 2.5). ‘The best money that ever was spent, wrote the agents of the Company in Bengal in 1698, eight years after the foundation of British Kolkata.’ (Sinha, 1978, p. 1)

The place was a low lying marshy landscape. The river Hooghly meandered through, roughly along the North-South direction. The land sloped gently towards the East. There were three villages in the region, Kalikata, Gobindapore, and Sutanutee. ‘In Kalikata, the British found a convenient Site for settlement. Sutanutee to its North, was bounded by the river on the West, and the Chitpur Creek on the North…Kalikata, situated between the two had no native population and was easy for the British to occupy the site…’ (ed. Chaudhuri, Calcutta , The Living City Volume I, 1990, p. 11)

The beginnings of the European settlement were modest, starting as just a trading post. Forti ication work was started by the British under the pretext of security from external threats.


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kolkata _ the city _ the place

Fig.2.6. Map of Kolkata 1742, unknown cartographer.

The yellow areas show the extent of the European town. The location of Old Fort William corresponds to the location of the original trading post of precolonial traditional Indian families.

‘By the middle of the 18th century the settlement around the fort taken the form of a commercial, administrative, and military complex…’ (Sinha, 1978, p. 5)

In the map dated 1742 (Fig.2.6), the European occupied quarters’ of the city are detailed. The Old Fort William is complete and can be clearly seen in the map. The great Baazar (later Burrabazaar) is also detailed in the map. The rest of the city is still primarily agrarian, a mass of farms and narrow winding roads. Though the villages of Gobindapore and Sutanutee existed, there has been no real attempt to distinguish them from the landscape. In the mass of narrow roads, the North South axis that connects Chitpur and Kalighat can be identi ied as an important street, which evolves into becoming a major North-South connector of the city. The ‘Maratha Ditch’, a channel on the East side of the city meant majorly as a protective intervention has been built by this time.


Chapter 2

25

In the map drawn by W.Bailley, 1784-85 (Fig.2.7); its seen that the formless, mostly agrarian fabric and the roads that ran through it have been consolidated. ‘As the Urban area began to grow and spread, the component units tended to coalesce and inter-penetrate, retaining at the elements of segregation and developing new ones.’ (Sinha, 1978, p. 7)

The pattern of the roads, is meandering and incidental, and retains the village like nature. In this map the N-S axis of Chitpur Road is formalized. The map clearly portrays a colonial mind-set, and the ‘white’ and the ‘black’ town are clearly demarcated in terms of representation. The northern part of the city develops as an indigenous town, while the south develops as the European quarters. The market develops between these two poles. The Chitpur Road is highlighted in Black. The red outline indicates the European areas as marked out by the cartographer

Fig.2.7. Plan of Kolkata 178485, William Bailley


26

kolkata _ the city _ the place

Fig.2.8. Map of Kolkata, A Upjohn 1792-93

The New Fort William, located on the site of the traditional town of Govindapore is marked in orange.

In the map engraved by A. Upjohn 1792-93 (Fig. 2.8), the main axes in the North-South direction have been consolidated, and form important arteries of movement in present day Kolkata too. These are the Strand Road, the Chitpur Road and the Circular Road, from the West to the East. A major change seen is the relocation of the old Fort William to further south, on the location of the original village of Gobindapore. This was done after the old Fort William was destroyed by Siraj Ud Daulah during his siege of Kolkata. Many old local families of Kolkata were displaced as a result of this move, and were given land on the Chitpur Road axis. The city limits had grown beyond the Maratha Ditch. The act of making Fort William over an existing indigenous village is also a marker of the extent of the prevailing colonial supremacy at that time. ‘Much ground was cleared to make room for the new fort; many thousands of huts thrown into the holes from whence they had been taken, to form roads and an esplanade...The ousted people were given land in exchange of their own, mainly in the north. ’ (Banerjee, 1989, p. 33)

The major streets of South Kolkata have also been laid down by this


Chapter 2

27

time, and the south of the city has consolidated into the European occupied zone of the city. The following map by an unknown cartographer in the 1830’s (Fig. 2.9) is the irst map of the city that outlines the built as clearly distinguished from the context. Fig.2.9. Map of Kolkata 1830’s, unknown cartographer

The administrative areas of the city are clearly de ined, and are marked in yellow. The half inished Institutional axis of College Street Cornwallis Street is marked in Black.

Fort William, Maidan, Government House, Dalhousie square and its surrounds are clearly de ined, which corroborates the consolidation of colonial rule in the country at this time. South Kolkata has clearly de ined roads. The hierarchy of roads and plots, and the outline of the built in this area can be related to the consolidation of the ‘Bungalow’ type (Fig. 2.10).


28

kolkata _ the city _ the place

Fig.2.10. Map of Kolkata 1830’s, showing North Kolkata, meandering streets, dense fabric

Fig.2.11. Map of Kolkata 1830’s, showing South Kolkata, ‘bungalow’ types

The density of the fabric increases as one goes towards the traditional part of the city (Fig. 2.11). Several large built outlines can be traced on both sides of the Chitpur Road. By this time the Zamindari system had become the standard system of land ownership. ‘A rapid succession of stages of development had transformed the whole northern part of the city, forcing the hamlets on the nearer periphery into the traditional mould of tola, tuli and para. The impulse of the bazar combined with comprador economic and social activity. The compradors, that is, the dewans and banians representing the upper echelons of a large body of intermediaries, lifted a basically baazar town to a further stage of development. The hectic building activity and land purchase in Calcutta from the mid – 18th to the early 19th century must have stemmed from a relatively new notion of real property.’ (Sinha, 1978, p. 16)

This transformation of land as a resource, equitable to a source of direct income reorganized the existing societal organization patterns. From the existing patterns of caste based organizations in rural Bengal, there was a shift towards a pattern of occupation where the land-owner (Zamindar) became the centre around which a group of rental occupants created a neighbourhood. ‘The caste based physical layout of the 18th century was forcibly altered by comprador intervention…the comprador played a key role in the emergence of an Urban society from the relatively ϔluid situation of the baazar.’ (Sinha, 1978, p. 17)

At this time an organization called the ‘Lottery Committee’ was formed in 1817 with a view to develop the infrastructure and services of the city. (Sinha, 1978, p. 28)


29

Chapter 2

Many problems were identi ied as a result of these surveys, and schemes were proposed to uplift the city. Out of them,according to one scheme a number of tanks were proposed as places for drainage of rainwater. Such tanks are visible in this Map. It also proposed an institutional axis in the N-S direction, named Cornwallis Street – College Street (Bidhan Sarani). The axis has partly been completed and inds place in the map. ‘One of the many important outcomes of the setting up of the lottery committee was the ways in which the city was surveyed.’ (Dutta, p.61)

The Schalch map, 1858 (Fig. 2.12) was made directly as a result of the initiative of the Lottery Committee, and forms one of the most important sources of archival documentation of the city of Kolkata (Dutta, p.63). Fig.2.12. Map of Kolkata 1858’s, J.A.Schalch

The consolidated street networks of North Kolkata are marked out in black. All the major North - South streets are laid down, except for the Central Avenue. The East - West street network gets strengthened subsequently.


kolkata _ the city _ the place

30

The partly inished institutional axis of Cornwallis Street-College Street has been completed by this time. This is the major institutional axis of the city and boasts of institutions like the Scottish Church School and College, the Bethune School, Presidency College and many institutions of national repute. All these institutions are European initiatives, and one can connect its inception as a way to impart western education to the Indians, and mitigate the East India Company requirements of skilled personnel. Yet between the Chitpur Road Axis and the Cornwallis Street axis, large blocks of property tended to mass together. ‘The blocks were huge meshes created by virtual streetlessness.’2 There are a lot of ponds (pukurs) visible in the map. This is due to the fact that pukka construction increased a lot during this period, and the core of the city witnessed a period of densi ication. The major material used was ired clay bricks, made on site by digging the pools. ‘The reports and proceedings of the Fever Hospital for Calcutta between 1837-40…conϔirm the complete disappearance of agricultural land from the city proper and the dense state of habitation in the old city core outside the English town.’ (Sinha, 1978, p. 28)

The City at the point of time is the capital of the British Raj, and hence not only valuable as the trade capital, but as the administrative capital of the company in India.

2

F.W Simms as quoted by Sinha, Pradip : Calcutta in Urban History page 30

Fig.2.13. Smart’s Kolkata 1906

survey

of


Chapter 2

31

The Schalch Map was followed by another accurate survey in 1906 (Fig. 2.13), by R.B.Smart. The fabric can be now read as streets and clearly de ined building outlines, of various footprints. The ponds seen in the Schalch Map have disappeared, as a result of densiϐication of the Urban Fabric in the horizontal plane, materials and technology proving expensive and prohibitive in the vertical direction. The distinctions between neighbourhoods have become blurred. ‘…at an increasing rate, there would be the growth of masonry houses of the middle class people, ofϔice assistants, subordinate ofϔicials, small landowners, forming a complex hierarchy reϔlected in the size of the houses.’ (Sinha, 1978, p. 60) Fig.2.14. Growth of the city of Kolkata, darker colour signi ies the older parts.

The core zone is marked by the darkest colour, and subsequent zones of growth are indicated by lighter shades

There was a shift in occupations of many middle class families in the city to a more service oriented profession from the mercantile / comprador nature jobs of their predecessors.3 3 The number of Indian employees varied from 2813 in 1849 to 49322 in the late 1800’s to as many as 100000 in the 1900’s. Sourced from Mukherjee,S.N as quoted by Banerjee,Sumanta.1989


32

kolkata _ the city _ the place

More than a hundred years have passed between the Smart’s survey, of North Kolkata and the present day. In the meantime there have been some initiatives to improve services, and accessibility of the area, but those interventions can be clearly read as later inserts on the existing fabric. The city limits continued to grow, and took on the character of a dense urbanized zone.

‘The social forces that contributed noticeably towards the growth of Calcutta and its immediate neighbourhood were in fact urbanizing a much larger territory. The river acted as a common mode of transport, unifying all these nodes by a nexus of shared activity. The nodes grew and strengthened and started assisting urban Sprawls. Industries also rose and strengthened the process. Railways lines acted as further support…’ (ed. Chaudhuri, Calcutta , The Living City Volume II, 1990, p. 4)

Hence, Kolkata today (Fig. 2.15) is less an insulated city, more an urban agglomeration. The city has expanded to the north, and also on the opposite banks on the Hooghly River. On the east is the large planned development of the Salt Lake City. It is surrounded by a number of satellite towns, which have become like feeder nodes to the main city.

Fig.2.15. Google Earth image of Kolkata 05.03.2012


33

Chapter 2

Summary: The basic pattern of growth till the early twentieth century is appropriately described by the following sentence. ‘...it (Calcutta) grew basically as a colonial city, following a global tendency of growth of urban centres for the convenience of an economic and political power based thousands of miles away.’ (Sinha, 1978) introduction

At the same time we see that the growth of the traditional quarter of the city represents a continuity of the pattern of traditional urbanism. From the maps at different points in time, it is clear that the British presence in the city did not directly control the nature of the built fabric in the traditional quarters. It was allowed to grow following the traditional patterns. ‘At a cognitive level, the expanding white town made little impact on the native town as a whole except in institutional and recreational centres like the College Street and Cornwalis Street, which were quietly absorbed in the local lifestyle.’(ed. Chaudhuri, Calcutta , The Living City Volume I, 1990, p. 31)

There were indeed some initiatives taken from the time to time by the British administration in form of committees like the Lottery Committee and the Fever Committee, and the development schemes proposed through them. These can be read as large urban insertions in the existing fabric. There was a superimposition of a planned pattern on an existing pattern, and the traditional city developed as a result of the dialogue between the two. The city function also changed over time, starting as a British trading centre that brought together three villages, and then becoming an administrative capital of the city under the East India Company. Even after the capital shifted to Delhi, Kolkata and its suburbs were at the aspirational centre of East India, and witnessed a lot of migration. Industries and major Educational Institutes made the city a place lucrative to migrate to. There was a shift in profession, from traders, to low level administrators, to service professionals like doctors, lawyers, and later, engineers. At the same time, the city was a centre of Nationalist thought, and was at the forefront of Cultural and Literary discourse. The growth of the city, hence, has been exponential, and continuous, creating many interweaving layers of events through the course of time, that are manifested in the physical domain.


kolkata _ the city _ the place

34

IMPORTANT BUILDINGS

1720-25 Church of Virgin Mary The Armenian Church

Fig.2.16. Timeline of the city

1757 The Calcutta Mint Maidan

1757-1760 Robert Clive governed India

1717 Right to trade

The emperor at Delhi granted the British the right to trade in Bengal and Kolkata in lieu of annual payment to delhi

EVENTS

1698 Zamindari of Kolkata

Three villages, Kalikata, Sutanutee, and Gobindapore purchased by Job Charnock on behalf of East India Company

1757 The East India Company defeated Sirad-Ud-Daulah in the battle of Plassey

1753 George II sanctioned the East India Company the right to administrate Kolkata

24.08.1690 Birth of Kolkata (Calcutta)

Company received the Royal Charter Granting Trade.

NARRATIVE OF THE DISSERTATION

1742 Maratha Ditch dug up

Agglomeration of three villages Beginnings of the city as a trading post

1690 POPULATION MAPS IN TIME

RELATIVE GROWTH

1780 Writers’ Building 1787 St. John’s Church 1800-1828 Srirampore Mission Fort William college Town Hall Sanskrit College

1763 A Royal Charter was Formed

Lighting Laying of Roads and Drains Tanks for Water

1774 Kolkata became the capital of India

1757 New Fort William

over Gobindapore, completed by 1773

1804 Town Improve Committee

Established by Lo

1817 Lottery Co

Canals Laying of Ma Infrastructure

1793 The permanent settlement of Bengal and renewing of the Company’s Charter

The Colonial city. Separation into a traditional and an European part

1700

1 S M M B

Growth of the Linkages, infra Zamindari Sys ownership

1800 22,000 (1706)

1,00,000

1,79,9

(1735)

(1822)

William Bailley 1784

A. Upjohn 1792-93


35

Chapter 2

830-1850 cottish Church College Mint Medical College Bethune School

1888-1900 Star Theatre Bengal Academy of Literature

1857-1880 Creation of the Calcutta University St. Xaviers College General Post Office Indian Museum Bethune College Bengal Engineering University

1942 Quit India Movement

ement

ord Wellesley

1855 Santhal Insurrection

1899 Electricity was generated

1947 Independence 1952 Municipal Act

Number of Municipalities were increased to 100 from 75

1961 Calcutta Metropolitan Planning Organization

16.10.1905 Bengal Partitioned

ommittee

ajor roads e Development

1900-1932 Science College Victoria Memorial Hall Indian Statistical Institute 1941- 1956 Howrah Bridge jadavpur University

1970 Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority

1859 Indigo dispute in Bengal

1980 Municipal Act Modified The Corporation The Mayor The Mayor-in-council

11.1.1858 The East India Company handed over power to the English Crown

e traditional astructure tem of Land

2.1.1912 Calcutta Improvement Trust was founded

1876 Creation of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation

Central avenue in 1932

Pressures of Urbanity Planned interventions Emergent Middle Class

1990’s - now Salt Lake Rajarhat New Suburbs

Exponential Growth An Urban Node

1900

17 Unknown 1830

6,33,000 (1873)

J.A.Schalch 1858

6,82,000

2000 43,99,000

(1891)

(1991)

R.B.Smart 1906

45 lac (2011)

Maps by KMC


36


Chapter 3

3. 3.1 3.2 3.3

THE GRAIN _ PATTERNS OF CHANGE _ CONTINUITY The Area Under Study 3.1.1 Selection 3.1.2 Backdrop of the Place Character of the Place 3.2.1 Thematic Maps 3.2.2 Documentation of Major Streets The Built Fabric 3.3.1 Patterns in the Built Fabric 3.3.2 Parallel processes of Change


the grain _ patterns of change _ continuity

38

Plate .II.

MIND MAP showing the process of the Area Level study

BACKDROP OF THE PLACE COMPARATIVE MAPS IN TIME PHOTOGRAPHIC DOCUMENTATION REASONS FOR SELECTION

GOOGLE EARTH GRAIN IN 1906

AREA OF STUDY

BASE MAP (roads and plots )

THEMATIC MAPS

OBSERVATIONS ON THE PLACE

SUPERIMPOSED MAPS

PARALLEL PATTERNS OF DEVELOPMENT

FUNCTIONS AND AGE ROADS AND FUNCTIONAL TYPES SIGNIFICANT BUILDINGS AND ROADS DISTRIBUTION OF NEW TYPES DISTRIBUTION OF OLD TYPES

ŝĚĞŶƟĮĐĂƟŽŶŽĨ parameters ROADS - old to new ROADS pedestrian and vehicular TYPES FUNCTIONAL TYPES SPATIAL AGE OF BUILTFORM STREET NAMES SIGNIFICANT BUILDINGS

FUNCTIONS and USE

ADAPTABILITY OF TYPE

NARRATIVE OF THE CITY OLD RESIDENTIAL TYPE

TEST CASE

OLD RESIDENTIAL SPATIAL TYPE

ADAPTATIONS IN LAYERS

RESRICTIONS OF ROADS

SPACE SYNTAX OWNERSHIP PATTERN ADAPTATIONS

VARIATIONS IN SCALE DEGREE OF TRANSFORMATION

BASE DRAWINGS

SELECTED CASE STUDIES


39

Chapter 3

3.1. The Area of Study 3.1.1. The process of Selection It can be inferred from the previous chapter that Kolkata (Calcutta) began as a modest trading town, and through a sequence of events transformed over time into a thriving city. Also the growth of the city was predominantly as a colonial town, with distinct patterns of growth of the European and the Native town. Largely the development of the traditional town was not interfered with, barring a few improvement schemes. Yet, the traditional part of the city developed as responses to the larger economic and socio-cultural events that were manifested in the built fabric of the city. The dissertation aims to understand this process of a changing fabric. The ϐirst criterion for selection of a place becomes the age of the fabric. Logically the area chosen should coincide with the locations of one of the three original traditional settlements, Sutanutee, Gobindapore or Kalikata. Fig.3.1. present day Google earth map showing the selected area

‘…the town of Kalikata became the centre of British administration and commercial ventures, both together deϔining the “white town”…’ (Bose, 2009, p. 9).That Area, together with South Calcutta formed the European

part of the city.


40

the grain _ patterns of change _ continuity

The area of the original Gobindapore settlement had been totally cleared of the native population after the battle of Plassey in 1757 and the new Fort William had been built there (refer ϔigure 2.8). ‘Sutanutee in those days was a major centre of hand loom weavers who produced exquisite chintz.’ (Banerjee, 1989, p. 19)

Hence the location of the area selected for study should coincide with the location of the original town Sutanutee. At the same time the selected area should show evidences of future planned inputs, of the Lottery Committee schemes, and the later CIT (Calcutta Improvement Trust) schemes. The study area hence was chosen in such a way as to have all these characters. The images in Fig.3.1 and Fig.3.2 show the extent of the selected area on the present day Google earth image and an old map of the city. Fig.3.2. the selected area on an old map of the city


41

Chapter 3

3.1.2. Backdrop of the Place As discussed in Chapter 2, the area selected is part of the traditional town of Kolkata, and existed pre-British colonization. Through a process of evolution in time, it transformed into the existing built fabric today. The following narrative discusses the major socioeconomic forces on the area; and its development as witnessed in a sequence of maps. Fig.3.3. map of the area showing the major street names

N

0

50

100

200m

The Area selected for purpose of study lies bounded by four major roads (Fig. 3.3), the Central Avenue, Bidhan Sarani in the North South direction, and the Grey Street and Beadon Street in the East - West direction. The following map (Fig.3.4) is of the selected area and its surroundings in the year 1792-93. We can see a maze of organic streets running through the fabric predominantly in the East West direction following the slope of the land towards the Eastern Lakes, cutting the fabric into plots of farmlands. There is very little built fabric, and little hierarchy of roads. The North South axes of the Chitpur Road and the Circular Road are clearly the major movement channels. Street names and area names that match the present day names and locations have started appearing at this point.


42

the grain _ patterns of change _ continuity

The area at this point still bears resemblance to the villages it grew from. The major economic activity at this point in time is still trade, and a new class of Indians, the compradors; begin to dominate the social hierarchy. ‘In the new social milieu of the eighteenth century, money and power began to rule over conventional caste rules.’ (Banerjee, 1989, p. 25) Fig.3.4. detail map of the area in 1792-93

The map of the selected area and its surrounds in 1830’s (Fig.3.5) portray an image of a fabric undergoing heavy urbanization. Virtually all traces of farmland have been eradicated, and instead replaced by de ined building outlines. The streets are also more de ined, and have a clear hierarchy, as identi ied at the level of the city in Fig 2.8. By then the Zamindari system was the standard system of land ownership. The neighbourhood developed around these Zamindars Fig.3.5. detail map of the area in 1830’s


Chapter 3

43

as a nucleus. Evidence of the importance of these Zamindars and their large houses can be found in the map in the form of houses with large footprints. Amongst them is Raja Naba Krishna Deb, who has a street ‘Raja Nobkissen Street’ named after him. What should be noted at this point is that the names of the major existing streets in this area, and even their alignment correspond with their present day location (streets 1 to 4 in Fig. 3.5). The traditional city was divided into several paras or neighbourhoods (Fig. 3.6). In the case of Kolkata, these early paras were segregated along the lines of profession or caste. ‘Their boundaries were ambiguous and indistinct, easily merging into one another. However there existed a notional boundary that delineated each neighbourhood from one another within the minds of the people – something that exists even today making the para distinct and identiϔiable as a distinct entity.’ (Bose, 2009, pp. 19-20) Fig.3.6. map of the traditional part of the city as made of different paras

the red area demarcates the neighbourhood the area of study belongs to, and the yellow area is the larger neighbourhood the red neighbourhood was originally a part of

The para soon lost its homogeneous composition in terms of caste or profession as a response to the pressures of development, caused due to the socio-economic changes associated with the Zamindari system, but the notional boundary and its identity persists in the mind of people even to this day.


44

the grain _ patterns of change _ continuity

The following map of the area in the 1870’s (Fig. 3.7) shows the paras of traditional Kolkata, and Darjipara, or the neighbourhood of weavers as part of the selected area of study. However, these weavers have long since been relegated to the memories of the place. It was originally a part of ‘Simla’ (from cotton), the centre of textile trade and manufacture in the town of Sutanutee. (Bandhyopadhyay, p. 77) Fig.3.7. detail map of the area in 1870’s

The detail map made by J. A. Schalch in 1858 (Fig. 3.8) shows further urbanization of the area. The Cornwallis Street – College Street axis is also complete by this time. The alignments of the Grey Street and the Beadon Street axes are also straightened. In terms of the built, the houses of the Zamindars clearly stand out. Society had undergone an important change by this point in time. A new group of western educated people came into focus. ‘The initiative was slowly to pass into the hands of new groups of people… who were generally educated men from the professions and services – occasionally intellectuals , sometimes founding moderately well off families.‘ (Sinha, 1978, p. 85)

One such mansion is still seen on Nilmoni Mitra Street, home to the Mitra clan of North Kolkata. ‘Their (the emergent class of Bengalis) cohesion as a social class was further strengthened towards the end of the nineteenth century by their ambition to make use of the English political and civil institutions to improve their status and prospects, and thus they became an inϔluential political group which in later days claimed to represent the whole society.’ (Banerjee, 1989, p. 76)


Chapter 3

45

On a larger level, the professions of families were also changing. The city underwent a change from being a trading town to the administrative capital (refer footnote 6, Chapter 2). More and more people were employed in the service sector as doctors, lawyers, and mid or low level government employees. This resulted in the beginnings of a middle class; people who had education as compared to money or land as resources. Fig.3.8. detail Schalch’s map

The map of the area in 1906 by R.B.Smart (Fig.3.9) shows the City as a dense fabric, with large open spaces in between, mostly ponds/ pukurs. The fabric can be now read as a planned grid superimposed onto the existing organic pattern of streets. Fig.3.9. detail Smart’s map

The Central Avenue (CIT Road) is marked in Red. The widened East - West streets are marked in Green. The completed institutional North - South axis of College Street - Cornwallis Street is marked in Blue. The high density of the built fabric should be noted.


46

The East - West roads on both sides of the selected area, Grey Street and Beadon Street have been laid down and the Cornwalis Street has been completed. However, the Central Avenue is yet to be made. The hierarchy of roads are clearly visible in the dense fabric. A detailed study of the area reveals three scales of grains in the fabric (Fig. 3.10).

the grain _ patterns of change _ continuity

Fig.3.10. the grain of fabric visible in the Smart’s Map, starting with the large grain on the left to the small grain on the right

The irst kind of grain clearly shows a few large grained buildings, those of the Zamindars, which were the cores around which the built fabric organized itself. The second grain, quite large, and formalized, belongs to the emergent middle class, as discussed in the previous map. The third grain is densely packed urban agglomeration, made of many small houses coming together to create dense streets, and interlinked movement paths.

Fig.3.11. (left) large grain building Fig.3.12. (left bottom) medium grain building Fig.3.13. (right bottom) small grain building


47

Chapter 3

The present day Google Map (Fig.3.14) of the area shows an intense fabric, with virtually no open space, barring a few planned ones. The Central Avenue cuts across the fabric and the grid of new roads can be clearly discerned. The Central Avenue was imagined as a spine of commercial activities that cut across a residential fabric. Large grained buildings, mostly mixed use front both sides of the road. The area today is home to a wide range of people, from shop owners to service professionals. Simultaneously there are buildings varying widely in scale, and complexity. Different uses, functions and people exist in very close proximity. Fig.3.14. present day Google earth image

N

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50

100

200m

Fig.3.15. Central avenue, and the large grained buildings that front it


48

Summary: The Area of Study selected is part of the traditional part of Kolkata, the area that is the location of the original town of Sutanutee. Maps of the place in time, and historic accounts show its evolution from an agrarian town to a place of weavers, to a neighbourhood of people of different castes and professions aggregating together following the Zamindari system of land ownership and social organization. Later this place becomes a centre of Nationalist thought, home to the Anushilan Samity, and western education as a result of the institutions on the College Street –Cornwallis Street axis. ‘Till possibly the twentieth century, the cumulative effect of a succession of urban development schemes had not made itself felt on the growth of the neighbourhoods. People with little capital but with reasonably paying jobs succeeded in creating a suburb of their own only after an almost heroic measure of reorganization had been done in the second decade of the century.’ (Sinha, 1978, p. 61)

There have been no large scale initiatives in the old part of the city after the Central Avenue. Yet, the character of this area is alive, ever changing. The next section looks at the character of the selected area, and explores it in terms of thematic maps and images.

the grain _ patterns of change _ continuity


49

Chapter 3

3.2. Character of the Place 3.2.1. Thematic Maps It is understood that the maps made are at a particular point in time. Yet, they have embedded information of history, and hence can help discern the patterns of change in the fabric. The method of mapping is adopted for the purpose of studying the area. The present fabric is documented in terms of certain decided parameters. Additionally the map of the place in the year 1906 (Fig. 3.09) is used as a record of historic built form, and a Google image (Fig. 3.14) of the fabric now is used as a record of its present state. Change and continuity in the built fabric can be ascertained into two main categories, a network of connections and open spaces, and the buildings. At the level of the connections (the streets), two thematic maps are made of the place. They are: • •

Streets – Old and New Streets – Pedestrian and Vehicular

At the level of the Built form, the thematic maps made are: • • •

Age of Buildings Buildings – Spatial Type Buildings – Functional Type

Additionally a map of the Socially Signiϐicant areas in the area is made to clearly point out the important residences, and institutions of the place. The Base map used of the area is basically a map demarcating the streets, and the property boundaries. The base used for making this drawing is the map of the area taken from the R.B. Smarts survey of Calcutta in 1906. Streets - Old and New The map (Fig. 3.16) shows all the streets in the Area, with the darker coloured streets being the oldest streets and the lighter coloured streets the newest. Of the major streets, the Central Avenue is the newest large scale intervention in the Area. It was established by the Calcutta Improvement Trust in the year 1932.


the grain _ patterns of change _ continuity

50

0

50

100

200m

N

The Western bounding street, the Bidhan Sarani (Cornwallis Street) was made by the year 1856. When the Lottery Committee set about building a better Calcutta in the early Nineteenth century, one of its greatest contributions was the road along Cornwallis Street, College Street, Wellington Street and Wellesley Street. (Chaudhuri, Calcutta , The Living City Volume II, 1990, p. 219)

The northern and the southern bounding streets, the Grey Street and the Beadon Street are the later additions, widened and straightened in order to facilitate drainage towards the east. In the maze of streets within this grid, three North-South streets are the oldest, and can be traced back to the map of the city in 1792-93. They are the Masjidbari Street, The Durga Charan Mitra Street and the Beadon Row (previously Darjipara Street). Very few new roads have been added to the fabric, apart from a few dead end streets.

Fig.3.16. Streets - Old and New darker colour - oldest, lighter colour, newest


51

Chapter 3

Fig.3.17. Streets - Pedestrian and Vehicular, width of the street proportional to the amount of vehicular traf ic

0

50

100

200m

N

Streets – Pedestrian and Vehicular The map of pedestrian and vehicular traf ic (Fig. 3.17) demarcates each road as thin or wide depending on the amount of vehicular traf ic it carries. The map clearly brings out the importance of the new roads that bound, and divide the traditional area. These roads are responsible for carrying the major through trafĎ?ic of North Kolkata. The old roads, as seen in the preceding map, also are vehicular and are responsible for major vehicular movement through the area, and act as short routes across the built fabric when one wants to avoid the traf ic of the main roads.. The newest dead end streets (Fig. 3.19) pointed out in the earlier map are essentially to facilitate the vehicular movement, in terms of vehicular access to the core areas, and are used for parking purposes.


the grain _ patterns of change _ continuity

52

Fig.3.19. A new dead end street

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Fig.3.18. Age of Buildings darker colour - oldest, lighter colour, newest


53

Chapter 3

Age of Buildings The Age of Buildings Map (Fig. 3.18) shows the relative age of the buildings, with the darkest colours being the oldest, and the lightest being the newest buildings. The interior parts of the fabric consequently take on a darker colour, and as one moves towards the major roads, more new buildings are seen. The major old buildings and their distribution areas can be identi ied from the map, and these fall directly on the four major old East-West axes identi ied earlier.

Fig.3.20. Buildings Type

-

Spatial 0

50

100

200m

N

Buildings – Spatial Type The traditional building typology in Kolkata can be characterised as a Courtyard Typology. In other words, the spatial element ‘Courtyard’ forms the generative space of the Unit, around which other functions are oriented. Though the courtyard might not be the positional centre of the house, the courtyard is the spatial focus of the house, around which all daily activities get organized. The dwelling has a deϔinite spatial hierarchy and is delineated into distinct domains. (Mitra, 1996, p. 17)


54

the grain _ patterns of change _ continuity

However, irst hand observation in the study area has led to identiマ進cation of other types of built form in the fabric. These are buildings of high density and less space, with shared walls, and often shared terraces, built in an accretive fashion over one another. Often in such cases, a formal spatial element like the courtyard does not manifest itself. Rather these building clusters are characterized by open spaces that merge into one another, creating a sequence of varying open spaces, not unlike a street in a dense cluster. These open spaces become the only ways to access certain buildings in the cluster. This type, in this dissertation is referred to as the Accretive Open Space Type (Fig. 3.22). Also, as a result of colonization, the European house type got directly imported into the traditional context. It modi ied itself in accordance to climate, and context of the place to form the Bungalow Type (Fig. 3.23). Later changes in the city also resulted in other spatial types getting imported into the built fabric, like the Apartment type, of the Shop-Of ice type. All these types manifest themselves in the built fabric today. Fig.3.21. (left) the traditional courtyard typology, with the formal courtyard system Fig.3.22. (right) identi ied accretive open space type, with dense organization and street like interlinked open spaces

Fig.3.23. the bungalow type, a result of adapting the English house type to the Indian context


55

Chapter 3

Fig.3.24. Buildings - Functional Type

Fig.3.25. (left) an institution Fig.3.26. (right above) partly commercial and residential type Fig.3.27. (right below) residential type

0

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the grain _ patterns of change _ continuity

56

Buildings – Functional Type The basis of classi ication in this map (Fig. 3.24) is on the basis of functions that the building supports. This Map segregates the fabric into the residential, the partly commercial and the institutional types. A totally commercial type does not exist in the predominantly residential fabric.

Fig.3.28. Signi icant Areas 0

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SigniĎ?icant Areas The Map of signi icant areas (Fig.3.25) shows buildings that are socially signi icant in the region. The prominent houses of the Zamindars ind place in the Map, as do the prominent houses of some later families who constituted Kolkata’s educated Elite. Added to the mix are the institutions in the Area. The temporary and permanent religious spots have also been located in this Map.


57

Chapter 3

Fig.3.29. an example of a socially important building belonging to a Zamindar family in the area

Fig.3.30. and Fig.3.31. examples of religious institutions in the area

3.2.2. Documentation of Major Streets A photographic documentation is done of the major Bounding streets, and of the ive major streets that are of historic signi icance and cut across the fabric, in order to get a comparative overview of their character.


the grain _ patterns of change _ continuity

58

Plate .III.

Documentation of the major bounding streets


59

Chapter 3

Plate .IV.

Documentation of the internal street network


the grain _ patterns of change _ continuity

60

3.3. The Built Fabric 3.3.1. The Patterns in the Fabric To understand the patterns of Change and Continuity, various thematic maps are superimposed to create relationships between the identi ied parameters, and the patterns that evolve out of such relationships are in seen relation to the evolving socio-economic milieu of the city. Map 1 The Road maps, showing old and new roads and the pedestrian and the vehicular roads are superimposed onto each other, and onto the signiマ進cant areas map. The resultant is the map shown below.

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窶「 The degree of Vehicular access a road permits is proportional to its Width 窶「 The age of the roads is directly proportional to the intensity of the blue colour.

Fig.3.32. Map of superimposed road age, intensity of vehicular access and signi icant buildings


61

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The bounding roads carry thoroughfare city level traf ic, the major old streets are now vehicular in nature and carry internal traf ic, also providing quick short-cuts that bypass the main roads. The smaller lanes remain pedestrian, and the interior fabric lacks vehicular access even today. Of the buildings with social signiマ進cance, none are located on the major bounding roads. This is because in most cases these buildings predate the new Roads. In fact some of these building were actually the generators of the settlement. However, some of the relatively new institutions that have come up, like the Ramkrishna Mission is also located on an old Road, the Beadon Row.

Fig.3.33. and Fig.3.34. (left and right below) the pedestrian bylanes

Fig.3.35. and Fig.3.36. (left and right above) important institutions in the study area

Only the Bidhan Sarani has a few institutions of social signi icance, created directly as a result of European intervention, with a hinterland equal to the whole city, and in some cases catering to a clientele across the country. Examples of such institutes are the Scottish Church School and College, the Bethune School and Calcutta University. The frequency of religious institutions, both temporary and permanent is larger in the interior areas which retain the strong sense of neighbourhood.

Map 2 The building age map is superimposed onto the functional types map to create a map of intersecting functions and age (Fig. 3.37). This particular map serves as a basis for distillation of certain categories of buildings from it, hence serves as a base for further analysis of the area.


the grain _ patterns of change _ continuity

62

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Map 3 The old residential types in Building functions and Age Map is distilled, and those properties are intersected with the map of spatial types. The resultant map (map 4) (Fig. 3.38) represents the older fabric in the area. The old core of the area, clearly gets represented in the map. The highest density of old buildings lie between the four old major eastwest roads, and the north-south axis of the Hari Ghosh Street. The areas close to the bounding streets have very few original buildings left. Even in the internal areas, the fabric next to the Blaquire Square also has undergone sizeable transformation. Similar transformation has happened in the zone of fabric between the Hari Ghosh Street and the Bidhan Sarani (Cornwallis Street).

Fig.3.37. map formed by superimposition of building age map with functional type map


63

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The two major traditional ‘types’; the courtyard type and the incidental open space type gets majorly represented in the map. However there are some instances of other types, supposedly old, occurring in the fabric. A closer look at these buildings reveals buildings of European in luence, and largely European spatial organization, pasted into the fabric. This is corroborative of the trend in the eighteenth-nineteenth century of the traditional fabric to borrow heavily from the colonial in luence. Fig.3.38. map formed by superimposition of building age map with functional type map

The following pages document some of the old existing types as pointed out in this map. These types represent the continuity of the existing fabric.

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64

Plate .V.

the original types


Chapter 3

Plate .VI. the original types and its variations, new styles, European inマ人uences

65


the grain _ patterns of change _ continuity

66

Map 4 The new types, both residential and commercial, are distilled from the Building functions and age Map, and is superimposed with the Roads – vehicular and pedestrian Map, resulting in the following map.

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This map basically outlines the distribution of the new types. There are certain key parameters that determine their occurrence. They can be identi ied as Location, Plot Size, and Street Accessibility. Location: The plots located on the main streets have a greater pressure of development, hence a larger tendency to change into new developments with time. The Central Avenue alignment happened on existing fabric, and hence existing plot boundaries were altered, and new plots were made on both sides of the newly developed road. Hence, there was an opportunity to create new standardized plot

Fig.3.39. map of the buildings in the fabric

new


67

Chapter 3

sizes. Also, the nature of new development speci ied was that of a commercial nature. Hence, the Central Avenue front can be seen to have new commercial development (Fig. 3.15). The only open space left along this road in the study area is of historic signi icance. The great poet Ram Prasad supposedly resided here. (Ajit, 1996) This is not the case with the other major Roads, where improved location initiated new developments, but the developments were not of a homogeneous commercial nature. Locational advantages of development can also be seen by looking at the major junctions in the fabric, and the high percentage of new buildings that have come up around junctions. Street Accessibility: Street Accessibility, which is the combined effect of the width of the street, the ease of vehicular access, and the street frontage also affect the pressure of development on a plot of land. Hence, virtually all new developments have come on plots which have direct access to vehicular traf ic, and the intensity of such development is also proportional to the importance of the street in the fabric. Plot Size: Plot size also determined new developments. The original land parcels after shift of the land ownership of the Zamindari system to the ownership of land in the hands of the emergent middle class resulted in subdivision of land into small parcels, un it for consolidated commercial development. Fig.3.40. (left) the land belonging to a zamindar Fig.3.41. (right) subdivisions of a continuous plot into small parcels

In some cases, the consolidation of plot size by new plot alignment and amalgamation as in the case of the Central Avenue or by aggregation of plots through individual initiative, has resulted in larger plots it for commercial development.


the grain _ patterns of change _ continuity

68

Fig.3.42. the new plot sizes on both sides of the central avenue

However, the developments by an individual initiative are rare, because of the intense subdivision and litigation of land ownership, and the rootedness of people living in this area.

Fig.3.43. timeline showing the changing neighbourhood

NARRATIVE OF THE CITY

Agglomeration of three villages Beginnings of the city as a trading post

1690 POPULATION

1700

Growth of the traditi Linkages, infrastructu Zamindari System of ownership

1800 22,000 (1706)

THE CHANGING NEIGHBOURHOOD NARRATIVE OF THE NEIGHBOURHOOD

The Colonial city. Separation into a traditional and an European part

1,00,000

1,79,9

(1735)

(1822)

1792

1830

City resembling the Village organization. Meandering Roads cutting across the predominantly agrarian fabric.

Rapid Urbanization Zamindari system Consolidation of major s


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3.3.2. Parallel Processes of Change As discussed in Section 1.1, the built form bears witness to a sequence of events, at times simultaneous and at times chronological, and these events are manifested in the built form. The discussion suggests that the city thus is essentially a fabric of ever changing buildings, and this change is not the result of a singular process, but one which encompasses many simultaneous processes, each with its unique traits. Such simultaneous patterns were observed as a part of the neighbourhood documentation process, and can be a theme of further study of the area, or of parallel transformation processes occurring in the city. An interesting observation that can be made from these processes, is that the patterns of change and continuity in the fabric have inマ人uenced the persistence of certain buildings in certain areas, and the replacement of many others.

Pressures of Urbanity Planned interventions Emergent Middle Class

onal ure Land

Exponential Growth An Urban Node

1900

17

treets

6,33,000 (1873)

2000

6,82,000

43,99,000

(1891)

(1991)

45 lac (2011)

1858`

1906

2011

Straightened roads, consolidation of the built. Completion of the Cornwallis Street axis.

Heavy densification. Scale Hierarchy visible in the fabric Overlay of a planned grid over the organic settlement

Packed urban fabric Absence of open Spaces Central avenue (1932) completes the superimposed grid, and cuts across traditional fabric.


70

Summary: The events at the scale of the city logically pointed towards selection of an area in north Kolkata as the traditional area. This part of the dissertation states the process via which the study area was rationally narrowed down. The character of the place is explored through various thematic maps, and superimposed maps have been used to create the sense of the changing fabric, at the same time identify the old fabric, existing together in the same place. It can be inferred that this character of the place is as a result of the integrated experience of both these entities together. At the same time, it is observed that the process of continuity and/or adaptation through time is not a single path, but many parallel processes happening simultaneously. The next part of the dissertation takes off from this point and moves on to the scale of an individual building in the identiマ進ed fabric and the established socio-economic backdrop of the city. It takes up examples of the traditional North Kolkata typology, and examines it for responses to events in time, as continuity, change, and adaptability of the traditional type.


Chapter 4

4. 4.1 4.2

4.3

THE INDIVIDUALS _ ADAPTATIONS_ VARIATIONS Selection of Case Studies 4.1.1 The Selection Process 4.1.2 The Selected Case Studies 4.2.1 Case Study 1 4.2.2 Case Study 2 4.2.3 Case Study 3 4.2.4 Case Study 4 Correlating findings across case studies


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the individuals _ adaptations_ variations

4.1. Selection of Case Studies 4.1.1. The process of Selection The dissertation is based on the Premise that changes in the city inform changes in the Buildings. Hence selection of case studies had to come from analysis at the scale of the neighbourhood selected. The irst criterion is the age of the building. The building had to be old enough to have witnessed the periods of socio-cultural-economic transformation in the city. The second criterion is the functional type. Only types of a predominantly residential nature would re lect steady change that comes with inhabiting a place. Commercial types on the other hand tend to undergo sudden erratic transformations that re lect response to a volatile economic state. (Brand, 1994) Following the parameters decided for selection of cases, the age of buildings map was superimposed onto the functional types map. The resultant is the Building age and functions map (Fig. 4.1). In the next map (Fig. 4.2) only the oldest residential parts are distilled from it.

Fig.4.1. map formed by superimposition of building age map with functional type map

N

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73

Chapter 4

Fig.4.2. map formed by distilling the oldest residential types

N

0

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As pointed out in the study of the Area, there are predominantly two spatial types that are seen in the region, the courtyard type and the incidental open space type. The next step is to identify which building in the map belongs to which type, by intersecting it into the map of spatial type, resulting into the following map (Fig. 4.3).

Fig.4.3. map formed by layering map of old residential with map of spatial types

N

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the individuals _ adaptations_ variations

74

The third criterion was limiting the case studies to locations on the Beadon Row, and the Durga Charan Mitra Street (Fig. 4.4). Historically these two streets bound the ‘para’ commonly referred to as Darjipara. The area corresponds to location of the original village of Sutanutee. The local history of this particular neighbourhood is also interesting. Home to the traditional weavers’ (ostagars) of the city, it later became the centre of nationalist movement and home to eminent lawyers, doctors and scientists of the city. (Ajit, 1996). (See Plate 4, Chapter 3, for photographic documentation of the selected bounding streets.)

Fig.4.4. map formed by superimposition of the roads criterion on previous map

N

0

The selection is narrowed down to ϐive cases, and identi ied examples show a variation in the amount of adaptation, the scale, the signi icance and the complexity of spatial organization. Each case is documented in detail and analysed for the nature of adaptations according to certain parameters. The locations of the ig.4.5

ive identi ied cases can be seen in

All the selected cases fall into the courtyard type of buildings. Reasons for such selection come from certain observations at the level of the society, and its aspirations. The nature of the built form of the incidental open space type is accretive. It is present characteristically in places which have many small plots linked by a single access, and resources are minimum. The

50

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75

Chapter 4

Fig.4.5. map showing locations of selected cases

the

N

0

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100

200m

process of building is a random process of semi-permanent additions, and a single open space runs through the blocks. As a result there is little formalization of open space systems as elements, and further adaptations are also random. The trend seen in such buildings today is their accretion into larger plots, and demolition of the building to make way for new construction. In cases which have managed to survive today, they are located mostly on the interior lanes, and have little or no change, which re lect the economic conditions of their owners. At an aspirational level there is little or no willingness of the owners to keep their building intact, and for them, the building has little or no embodied value. The trend is that of change, not continuity, and little evidence can be found of the original built form.

4.1.2. The Selected The following are the ground loor plans of the ive selected cases at the same scale, and their photographs.


76

Plate .VII.

the individuals _ adaptations_ variations

COMPARATIVE PLANS OF ALL SELECTED BUILDINGS


Chapter 4

77


the individuals _ adaptations_ variations

78

Plate .VIII.

MIND MAP showing selection and analysis process BACKDROP OF THE PLACE COMPARATIVE MAPS IN TIME PHOTOGRAPHIC DOCUMENTATION

REASONS FOR SELECTION

GOOGLE EARTH

AREA OF STUDY

BASE MAP (roads and plots )

THEMATIC MAPS

OBSERVATIONS ON THE PLACE

SUPERIMPOSED MAPS

PARALLEL PATTERNS OF DEVELOPMENT

FUNCTIONS AND AGE ROADS AND FUNCTIONAL TYPES SIGNIFICANT BUILDINGS AND ROADS DISTRIBUTION OF NEW TYPES DISTRIBUTION OF OLD TYPES

ŝĚĞŶƟĮĐĂƟŽŶŽĨ parameters ROADS - old to new ROADS pedestrian and vehicular TYPES FUNCTIONAL TYPES SPATIAL AGE OF BUILTFORM STREET NAMES GRAIN IN 1906

FUNCTIONS and USE

ADAPTABILITY OF TYPE

NARRATIVE OF THE CITY OLD RESIDENTIAL TYPE

TEST CASE

OLD RESIDENTIAL SPATIAL TYPE

ADAPTATIONS IN LAYERS

RESRICTIONS OF ROADS

SPACE SYNTAX OWNERSHIP PATTERN ADAPTATIONS

VARIATIONS IN SCALE DEGREE OF TRANSFORMATION

BASE DRAWINGS

SELECTED CASE STUDIES


79

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4.2. CASE STUDIES 4.2.1. Case Study 1 68/1 Durga Charan Mitra Street 4.2.1.a 4.2.1.b 4.2.1.c

History Base Drawings Understanding


the individuals _ adaptations_ variations

80

4.2.1.a.

History

The house is owned by the Dey family. The house has changed owners 40-50 years ago. However the age of the house is around 150 years. There are few changes made to the house. The Dey family consists of four members, a married couple, their widowed mother, and a household help. Fig.4.6. Living space, beside the main court

The house has a double courtyard system of organization, with a main courtyard, and a service courtyard. The locational advantage of this building allows for outside access to both these spaces. The building has road facing shop spaces in keeping with the traditional North Kolkata typology. Fig.4.7. (left) Entrance from the street to the main court Fig.4.8. (right) Entrance from the street to the service court


81

Chapter 4

4.2.1.b.

Base Drawings

The outline of premise number 68/1 as documented in the early 1900’s (Fig. 4.9) shows the division of plot number 68 into two parts; 68/1 and 68/2. The map also shows the built volume, and a comparative with the existing state today leads to the conclusion that there has not been any physical growth of the building. Fig.4.9. Plan of premise 68/1 Durga Charan Mitra Street, as in R.B.Smart survey of Calcutta 1906. The number corresponds to the number of loors.

In order to proceed further, there was a need to document the present state of the building, as shown in the following pages.


the individuals _ adaptations_ variations

82

Plate .IX.

GROUND FLOOR PLAN

LEGEND a Club b Shop House 1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

entrance main court formal living space toilet 1 toilet 2 kitchen extended kitchen

House 2 c service court d kitchen e living fstore g bed room


83

Chapter 4

Plate .X.

LEGEND House 1 1 verandah 2 bed room 3 bed room 4 study 5 toilet 6 living space 7 bed room 8 puja room House 3 a verandah b bed room

FIRST FLOOR PLAN


the individuals _ adaptations_ variations

84

Plate .XI.

SECTION AA


85

Chapter 4

Plate .XII.

ADAPTATIONS

4.2.1.c.

Understanding

Adaptations in the Building There have been very little additions to the house. On the ground loor, a toilet has been inserted in the main court to add to the one existing toilet (Fig. 4.10). Also, the size of the courtyard has been effectively decreased by extending the balcony overhead. A dividing wall has been inserted into the verandah of the service court. This effectively cuts off all access of Owner 1 to the service court at the Ground level. The window made in the partition is also positioned to limit visual connection. The space outside the kitchen in House 1, (part 7, Plate IX, Ground plan) is extended and a temporary roof is created over it.


86

the individuals _ adaptations_ variations

Fig.4.10. Inserted toilet in the ground loor

On the irst loor, over the increased verandah slab around the main court, another toilet has been inserted. The same partition of the verandah space as seen in the ground loor is also repeated on the second loor. However, the nature of the partition in this case is more porous and allows for visual connection (Fig. 4.12). Fig.4.11. (left) Partition between House 1 and House 2 on the ground loor Fig.4.12. (right) Porous partition between House 1 and House 2 on the irst loor

Ownership/Rentals: The building has an interesting ownership pattern (Fig. 4.13). The building front has two spaces, connected to the outside via otlas. One of them has been rented out as a shop, and the other is home to the ‘Swadhin Chakra’ a club since the 1970’s. The major part of the house (House 1) belongs to the Dey family. However, the back part has been partitioned into two parts. The ground loor can be accessed from the service court entrance. However, there is no vertical circulation, and the irst loor is linked to, and gets access from 68/2 Durga Charan Mitra Street.


87

Chapter 4

Fig.4.13. Plan showing the present ownership /rental structure

Fig.4.14. the service/back court, connection to 68/2 DCM Street

Space Syntax: In order to understand the nature of change, convex maps are made of the space, and Permeability maps are derived for each loor. In the convex maps, the vertical circulation is marked in red, as it is understood that they have an important role to play in structuring the relationships between spaces. The permeability map traces the connections between the spaces, their relative importance; the insertions, and the locations of major services.


the individuals _ adaptations_ variations

88

Plate .XIII.

SPACE SYNTAX


89

Chapter 4

For the purpose of understanding, the manifestations of the changes across time are seen in ϔive layers, Space, Services, Skin, Structure (materials and construction) and Site. Reasons for selection of this method is discussed in Section 1.2.4. SPACE : Fig.4.15. Stewart Brand’s layers

The permeability map of the ground loor clearly shows the separations that have happened in the building. It also shows the creation of several impermanent divides between the spaces in order to achieve segregation. The divides vary from simple reversible tools like locked doors, to more permanent tools like partition walls. There have been very little additions on the ground loor. However, all the added (inserted) spaces function as service spaces. The number of accesses to the outside on the ground ϐloor is directly proportional to the number of ownerships/ rentals that the building supports at present. The main court still retains its character. However, due to a partition wall between Owner 1 and Owner 2, the service court in its entirety belongs to Owner 2.

Fig.4.16. Spatial relationship in the building

entry 2

ĐŝƌĐƵůĂƟŽŶ ĐŽƌĞ

ŝŶƐĞƌƚĞĚ SERVICES

ƉĂƌƟƟŽŶǁĂůůƐ altering ƐĞƋƵĞŶĐĞŽĨƐƉĂĐĞ

LEGEND ŵĂŝŶĐŝƌĐƵůĂƟŽŶ ƐĞƌǀŝĐĞƐ

ƐĞƋƵĞŶĐĞ ŽĨƐƉĂĐĞ

^,KWƐƉĂĐĞƐ ĨƌĂŐŵĞŶƚĞĚĐŝƌĐƵůĂƟŽŶ entry 1

ǀĞƌƟĐĂůĐŝƌĐƵůĂƟŽŶ


90

the individuals _ adaptations_ variations

The adaptations in the irst loor re lects that of the ground loor, with addition of services the only change in the main part. Due to lack of multiplicity of vertical connections, it was expected that the ownership of the whole irst loor would be held by a single person. However, that is not the case, and the back part of the house overlooking the service court is connected to the neighbouring plot through the verandah on the irst loor. Though physically connected, the two plots are still separate as a wall divides them, and no attempt has been made to strengthen the connection. A three dimensional diagram explains the original sequence of spatial relations, and its decomposition as a result of partitions (Fig. 4.16). SERVICES: In keeping with the traditional type, this house also had provisions of services on the ground loor. However, the need for services necessitated addition of a toilet in the main court (Fig. 4.10). Additionally a toilet also was inserted into the irst loor area abutting the main court (Fig. 4.17). As the service court of the house was occupied by a separate family, the kitchen and related activities shifted to the extended zone of space (N in the ground ϔloor plan) outside the kitchen. Activities like washing utensils also shifted to the main courtyard because of space constraints.

STRUCTURE (materials and construction) : Traditional materials are used in the building, mainly brick and wood. The later additions are concrete. The slab is made by a composite layer of lime concrete and terracotta tiles. Exquisite cast iron work can be seen in the railings fronting the road (Fig. 4.19). There are evidences of the new materials coming together with the old materials, and also strengthening the old by structural additions. At places a new roof has to be made in order to provide shelter to the extended areas (Fig. 4.21).These additions can be seen together near the main court, where a new slab has been made, a toilet inserted and a new roof has been created over it. The area is documented in terms of an exploded axonometric showing the old and the new additions.

Fig.4.17. (left) Toilet on the irst loor by the main Court Fig.4.18. (right) Main court used for washing utensils Fig.4.19. (below) Cast iron railing on the front facade


91

Chapter 4

ƟŵďĞƌƐƉĂŶŶŝŶŐƐLJƐƚĞŵƐ ǁŝƚŚ'/ƐŚĞĞƚĐŽǀĞƌ͕ ĐƌĞĂƟŶŐĂƌŽŽĨŽǀĞƌ extended space

Fig.4.20. (top left) The extended slab, inserted toilet and new roof Fig.4.21. (top right) The inserted roof structure Fig.4.22. (right) Axonometric showing insertions

toilet inserted ŽŶƚŚĞĮƌƐƚŇŽŽƌ extended slab

new RCC slab

rcc beam ŝŶƐĞƌƚĞĚůĂƚĞƌŝŶƚŽĞdžŝƐƟŶŐĐŽůƵŵŶ MS joist ŝŶƐĞƌƚĞĚŝŶƚŽĞdžŝƐƟŶŐĐŽůƵŵŶ brick masonary wall

ĞdžŝƐƟŶŐƐĞƌǀŝĐĞ space

new walls inserted to create a ƐĞƌǀŝĐĞƐƉĂĐĞ main courtyard

Part Axonometric 68/1 Durga Charan Mitra Street


92

the individuals _ adaptations_ variations

SITE: The building’s relationship to the context is unaltered, and it still retains the roaks on the side facing the street. The public gestures the building makes, and the presence of a youth club, makes it a centre for social activity (Fig. 4.23). Fig.4.23. Otla’s as public gestures the building makes at the level of the Site

SKIN: The facade also retains the traditional character, with the cast iron railings and the wooden louvres (Fig. 4.24). The side facade in contrast is unplastered, and shows signs of wear and tear and aging (Fig. 4.25).

Fig.4.24. (left) the front facade Fig.4.25. (right) the side facade


93

Chapter 4

4.2.2. Case Study 2 30A and 30B Durga Charan Mitra Street 4.2.2.a 4.2.2.b 4.2.2.c

History Base Drawings Understanding


the individuals _ adaptations_ variations

94

4.2.2.a.

History

The house is owned by the Biswas family. It conforms to the traditional typology of North Kolkata. The age of the house is between 150180 years. Currently the house has been split into two parts, as a result of a will executed in 1990. The owner of 30A , is Mr Dilip Biswas, and that of 30B is Mr Ashok Biswas.

Fig.4.26. (left) the main courtyard of the building Fig.4.27. (right) the service courtyard of the building

The Biswas families were cloth merchants by profession. However, the family business has been discontinued for two generations. Mr Dilip Biswas is a Civil Engineer by profession, and his son is a Photographer. Mr Ashok Biswas is a retired government servant, and lives with his wife and unmarried sister.

Fig.4.28. (left) Arched main door with stained glass in ill Fig.4.29. (right) the facade of the house. Intricate cast iron railings can be seen on the irst loor verandah


95

Chapter 4

4.2.2.b.

Base Drawings

The following plan (Fig. 4.30) shows the overall layout of the house, and also the location of the proposed partition line. There was another staircase proposed in the plan which was not built.

Fig.4.30. Plan of the house before 1990, sketched on the basis of an old plan in the possession of the owners.

The following pages document the present stage of the house.


the individuals _ adaptations_ variations

96

Plate .XIV.

LEGEND House 1 1 entrance 2 study 3 main court 4 store 1 5 toilet 6 kitchen 7 back court 8 store 2 House 2 a entrance b SHOP c main court d dining e kitchen f back court g servants’ room h toilet

GROUND FLOOR PLAN


97

Chapter 4

Plate .XV.

LEGEND House 1 1 bed room 2 bed room 3 new circulation 4 toilet 5 store 6 master bedroom 7 verandah House 2 a study b toilet c living 1 d living 2 e main bedroom f verandah

FIRST FLOOR PLAN


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98

Plate .XVI.

LEGEND House 1 1 puja room 2 bed room 3 toilet House 2 a puja room b store

SECOND FLOOR PLAN


99

Chapter 4

Plate .XVII.

SECTION BB


100

Plate .XVIII. ADAPTATIONS:

the individuals _ adaptations_ variations


101

Chapter 4

4.2.2.c.

Understanding

Adaptations in the Building This house follows a double courtyard system of organization, with the entrance opening into the main courtyard, and a layer of shop type public spaces that fronts the building. The service courtyard is at the back of the house, and can be accessed from the main courtyard by a narrow passage. (Fig. 4.26,4.27) Each of the courtyards has a staircase. The functions become private on the upper loors, while public and family functions are on the ground loor.


102

the individuals _ adaptations_ variations

Brick masonry walls, arched openings, and layered wooden beams for spanning systems characterize the construction of the house. It also has intricate cast iron work on the irst loor verandah. Before the Partition (1977): There has been addition of services on the ground loor abutting the service court. At the same place the terrace on the irst loor has been converted into an extra room, and hence the terrace has extended on the second loor. During the Partition: On the ground loor another entrance has been created. The courts have been divided into two parts each. A service core has been inserted into premise 30A, which can be seen on all loors. New services have come in the back part of premise number 30B, the loor slabs around the service court have been extended, a small storage has been added on the terrace. Ownership/Rentals: The house has two owners, and the front room of premise number 30B has been rented out (Fig. 4.32). This rented space (light green) is used as a shop, making cardboard boxes. The room also serves as accommodation for a person who works as household help in many of the houses around this neighbourhood.

Fig.4.31. The shop and the roak used for storage activity

Fig.4.32. Plan showing the present ownership /rental structure

Space Syntax: In order to understand the change, convex maps are made of the space, and Permeability Maps are derived for each loor, before and after.


103

Chapter 4

Plate .XIX.

PERMEABILITY MAPS:


104

the individuals _ adaptations_ variations

The manifestations of the changes in the building are seen in the ive identi ied layers, Space, Services, Skin, Structure (materials and construction) and Site.

SPACE : Change in the connections in the spatial organization can be seen by comparing the permeability maps of the plans. On the Ground Floor plan, there are now two entrances. Essentially, space A (old plan) has split into space A and B (new plan). Both the Courts have now split into two parts each. Multiplicity of vertical connection has been lost, each part getting only one mode of vertical access. This has consequences even in the sequence of spaces, and to access the upper loors of premise 30A one has to walk through the service court. There is an impermanent divider (Fig. 4.34) between the two parts of the main court (H and I in the new plan); but dividers between the service court, and the two entrances are more permanent. Of the new additions, major insertion has been of services, in both parts of the building. This can be seen even in the other plans. After the partition, premise 30A faced a problem of accessing A1, which has been solved by linking Q1 to A1 via H1 (Fig. 4.34). There have been Additions around the service court in the vertical direction, and a continuous terrace on the second マ人oor of premise 30B is the by product.

A three dimensional diagram (Fig. 4.35) explains the changed nature of Spatial relationship in premise 30A.

Fig.4.33. (left) Impermanent divider between the main court, reversible in nature Fig.4.34. (right) Circulation space H1 linking A1 and Q1


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Chapter 4

ĐŝƌĐƵůĂƟŽŶ

OTS service core

remnants of service court inserted ĐŝƌĐƵůĂƟŽŶ

remnants of main court

LEGEND main court ŚŽƌŝnjŽŶƚĂůĐŝƌĐƵůĂƟŽŶ ǀĞƌƟĐĂůĐŝƌĐƵůĂƟŽŶ

Fig.4.35. Spatial relationship in the building

The spatial relationship has been altered as a result of the adaptations. The space has become more dense, and condensed. At the ground the sense of the main court has been lost, and the space has taken on the purpose of circulation. The part of the service court is still used for service purposes. On the irst loor the inserted circulation has visual connection to the original court. The original sequence of space has been altered, and services come between the pattern of movement. SERVICES : Major service upgradation can be seen in the Building, even before the partition services had been added to the back of the house. Partition necessitated the requirements of separate kitchens as well as toilets. The central location in 30A highlights its importance. The insertion of an OTS ( ig4.36) for carrying services also denotes the importance of the service requirement.

Fig.4.36. The Open to Sky Court (OTS) as a service distribution system, apart from ventilation

Comparatively 30B had more possibility to accommodate services, and does so at the back of the house. However, as fallout the master bedroom in 30B is left without direct access to toilets and one has to be inserted into the main court.


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106

STRUCTURE (materials and construction) : The construction of the building uses the traditional materials. Walls are masonry, wood members are used as spanning elements, replaced later by mild steel joists and the loor is made in the standard composite format of lime concrete and terracotta tiles. The masonry walls are capable of taking much more load than they are taking, as is clear from the physical extension in the vertical direction that the building has witnessed. The spanning system is in modules, and space can be increased according to requirements. Even new materials like RCC can easily be inserted into these structures as new slabs and beams (ϔig 4.40 and 4.41). In this case it has been done to maximize space, and remove the thick load bearing walls where not needed. At times new space is made with minimal changes to the existing structure.

ƟŵďĞƌƐƉĂŶŶŝŶŐƐLJƐƚĞŵƐ

ƚŚŝƐƉĂƌƚǁĂƐƉĂƌƚŽĨĞdžƚĞƌŝŽƌƐƉĂĐĞ͘ ƌĞƚĂŝŶĞĚĂƐƉĂƌƚŽĨƚŚĞĐŚĂŶŐĞĚŝŶƚĞƌŝŽƌƐƉĂĐĞ ƌĐĐďĞĂŵ ŝŶƐĞƌƚĞĚƚŽ ƌĞĚƵĐĞ ǁĂůůƚŚŝĐŬŶĞƐƐ

ƌĐĐďĞĂŵ ŝŶƐĞƌƚĞĚ͕ǁĂůů ƌĞŵŽǀĞĚĂŶĚ ŝŶƚĞƌŝŽƌ ƐƉĂĐĞĞdžƚĞŶĚĞĚ

ĂƌĐŚĞĚŽƉĞŶŝŶŐ

ƌĐĐ ĐŽůƵŵŶ

ďƌŝĐŬ ŵĂƐŽŶĂƌLJ ǁĂůů

ŶĞǁ ENTRY roak

ŶĞǁǁĂůůƐŝŶƐĞƌƚĞĚĂŶĚƚŚĞroak ͚ĐůĂŝŵĞĚ͛ĂƐƉĂƌƚŽĨƚŚĞŝŶƚĞƌŝŽƌƐƉĂĐĞ

ŝŶĮůůǁĂůů ďĞƚǁĞĞŶƚŚĞ ƉĂƌƟƟŽŶĞĚƐƉĂĐĞ

Fig.4.37. Axonometric View


107

Chapter 4

The axonometric (Fig. 4.37) shows the existing, and new elements that have been added. Fig.4.38. (left) Extension of the building over the ‘roak’ Fig.4.39. (right) Opening between the two parts illed after the partition

Fig.4.40. (below) Inserted RCC slab into the building Fig.4.41. (below right) Inserted beam to reduce wall thickness and increase loor space

SITE:

Fig.4.42. Massing diagram on Site, the red blocks showing the additions

The building’s relationship to the site also gets altered over time. In this case it can be clearly inferred that the Building has grown in terms of space (Fig. 4.42). The public gestures that the building makes in terms of ‘roak’ s have been diminished. In case of 30A, the ‘roak’ has completely been encroached on. While in case of 30B, the whole public space is rented out to a shop, and hence becomes incapable of sustaining the social activity that a public element entails. SKIN: The skin reϐlects the changing nature of ownership, as personal preferences are manifested in the expression of the building. In this case, even different materials are manifested, with the new concrete walls and square openings a contrast to the arched openings on the other side of the facade and the wooden screen above (Fig. 4.38 and 4.29).


108

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109

Chapter 4

4.2.3. Case Study 3 70 Durga Charan Mitra Street 4.2.3.a 4.2.3.b 4.2.3.c

History Base Drawings Understanding


the individuals _ adaptations_ variations

110

4.2.3.a.

History

The house is owned by the Dutta family. The age of the house is over 200 years. The house is located at the junction of two old streets in the study area, the Durga Charan Mitra Street and the Gulu Ostagar Lane. Mr. R.K.Dutta, the present owner belongs to a Kulin educated family. The Dutta family has been residing in this house for over two hundred years.

Fig.4.43. The original condition of the house

R.K Dutta is the sole inhabitant of the house – his only son occasionally comes and lives with him. Being retired from Life Insurance Company he inds it dif icult to cope up with meagre pension and meet the ever increasing cost of living . Naturally he inds it dif icult maintaining the house. However, the state of the house is different from Fig. 4.43. As a result of an intervention in 2007-2009, the building has undergone a set of changes, the generators and the manifestations of which are studied in the following pages.


111

Chapter 4

4.2.3.b.

Base Drawings

The following plan (Fig. 4.44) shows the original layout of the house. The building follows a courtyard typology, yet the de inition of the courtyard is not really formalized. The planning is simple, entrance from the east through an roak, and three rooms around a staircase. Services were not a part of the main house, instead it formed a separate block in the southwest corner and was a temporary add on to the building. Fig.4.44. Plan of the house before the intervention

The house was in need of intervention. An interview with the owner brought to light certain key motivation factors behind the intervention. The owner was aspirational to the kind of modern living standards re lected in society today. Added to that was a concern for security, as most often he was the only person living in the house. Also he had immense sense of belonging to the place, and did not entertain the idea of demolition of the building. All these factors played a role in determining the nature of the intervention. The next few pages documents the existing building, in terms of architectural drawings and photographs. An attempt is then made to understand these adaptations.


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112

Plate .XX.

GROUND FLOOR PLAN

LEGEND House 1 a b c d e f g h

lobby living bed room 1 toilet 1 bed room 2 toilet 2 kitchen parking

N

0 .375 .75

1.5

3m


113

Chapter 4

Plate .XXI.

FIRST, SECOND FLOOR PLAN

LEGEND House 2,3 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

lobby living bed room 1 toilet 1 bed room 2 toilet 2 kitchen

N

0 .375 .75

1.5

3m


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114

Plate .XXII.

SECTION CC


115

Chapter 4

Fig.4.45. (top left) Present facade of the House Fig.4.46. (top right) The verandah on the irst loor Fig.4.47. (right) the inserted stairwell

4.2.3.c.

Understanding

The typology of the building, via adaptations has transformed from a courtyard type into an apartment type. It is necessary to look at the Adaptations, and also at the new ownership patterns in order to understand the nature and process of transformation.


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116

Plate .XXIII. ADAPTATIONS:

GROUND FLOOR PLAN

FIRST FLOOR PLAN

70 Durga Charan MItra Street LEGEND N original ůĂƚĞƌĂĚĚŝƟŽŶƐ new slab above SECOND FLOOR PLAN


117

Chapter 4

Adaptations in the Building Certain insertions, and demolitions are seen in the house as compared to the original plan. The entry from the roak does not exist anymore. The entry to the house is from the South corner. The old staircase has been demolished, and a new staircase block has been inserted (Fig. 4.47) . A kitchen block has also been inserted on all マ人oors. New slabs have been constructed in place of the original toilet block, and services have been added on each loor. The terrace slab has been completely remade, because of its poor state. The verandah covering on the second loor has also been remade. Ownership/Rentals: Each マ人oor is now an independent unit of space, a 2BHK apartment and has the possibility of having different owners. In fact, the original owner now owns the irst loor apartment, and the terrace. The ground loor and the second loor apartments have been sold to two families (Fig 4.48). The resultant of this process is マ進nancial stability to the retired owner. Also, there is an added degree of security to the house. The owner no longer stays alone, and is less vulnerable.

Space Syntax: Fig.4.48. Plan showing the present ownership structure

The nature of spatial relationship, and hence the permeability map at present is similar at every level. However, it is different when compared to the original house. Hence, Space Syntax here compares the old diagram and the new, and looks at the changes that have happened. The resultants of the change in spatial relationships on the ive layers of the building are discussed in the following pages.


118

Plate .XXIV. PERMEABILITY MAPS:

the individuals _ adaptations_ variations


119

Chapter 4

SPACE : A comparative of the two permeability maps shows changed relationships to outside space, and even the inside open space. The presence of the interior open space, and the way it relates to the transitional spaces (D and E in the original plan) is much stronger in the original plan. Also, spaces A and B (original plan) were connected to the outside (X) through the roak. In the new plan, the entrance to the building through the roak does not exist anymore. The roak, in spite of its existence has lost the direct sense of connectedness to the street (Fig 4.51), as a result

Fig.4.49. (left top) the original internal open space Fig.4.50. (right top) the main access to the building at the present day Fig.4.51. (right) the present day roak and the loss of direct connection to the street


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120

of jaalis being erected at the interface of the roak and the street. What remains is a visual connection. Instead, all access has been channelled through the open space of the built (Fig 4.50). The new staircase (S2 in the new plan) has been introduced in such a way as to create a node that controls all access to the house. The internal organization has not changed much, barring important additions of toilets and services on each loor. An interesting observation about the new spatial organization is that there are similar relationships of space at every ϐloor, very unlike the traditional systems of spatial organization. There has been a vertical segregation in the building, with each plane having an internal gradient of privacy. The same sequence of space, from the entrance to the most private of spaces, can be seen at every loor, from the entrance space, to the bedrooms and the verandah. SERVICES: As clear from the three dimensional representation of the building (Fig.4.52) , insertion of services was a major factor of the intervention. Services have been inserted at three places in each loor, in the form of two toilets and one kitchen. Insertions of the kitchen and the common toilet (in place of the original staircase) were done either as new construction, or by demolition of the existing. However, insertion of the attached toilet

Fig.4.52. Spatial relationship in the building

new ĐŝƌĐƵůĂƟŽŶ core

parking

inserted kitchen

inserted services

entry 1 LEGEND

entry to the apartments at every level services bedrooms living space ǀĞƌƟĐĂůĐŝƌĐƵůĂƟŽŶ


121

Chapter 4

Fig.4.53. (left) plan showing the location of inserted services Fig.4.54. (right) the reworked drainage and rainwater disposal system

Fig.4.55. (left) facade showing the old and new elements Fig.4.56. (right) the new windows made out of recycled wood

required the creation of a drainage shaft, from where the waste was diverted and taken out through the existing line on the ground loor (Fig 4.53). STRUCTURE (material and construction): The intervention is a mix of old and new (Fig 4.55), and shows integration of modern methods with the existing elements. As pointed out earlier, the terrace had to be redone because of the poor quality of the existing terrace. The wooden rafters recovered as a result of this process have been reused to make the new windows. The old railings were also integrated into part of the new stairwell (Fig. 4.47). The tiles from the old terrace was used as part of a iller slab on top of the second loor verandah.


122

the individuals _ adaptations_ variations

SKIN: The skin is also a composition of the old and new. The drawing of the facade (Fig 4.57) shows the various elements, old and new, that are integrated in the facade.

Fig.4.57. The facade showing the old and new elements

A look at Fig. 4.55 and 4.56 also shows that the openings re lect the style of the old openings, with arched windows, stained glass, and jalousie shutters; and lots of louvred windows.


123

Chapter 4

SITE: The public gestures that the building makes has changed as a result of the intervention. It has already been discussed how the open nature of the roak, and the way it connects to the street has been lost (see Fig. 4.51). The study of the skin also shows how the new intervention has opted for a continuity in terms of the language of the fenestrations, and the nuances of the building like the verandahs looking down onto the street on the higher loors. There used to be a shop on the north building wall (Fig 4.58). It was a basic amenities shop, and served as an important resource for the neighbourhood. The intervention in the building has shown certain amount of sensitivity and awareness of the intangible aspects of the built environment by providing for a similar shop space even in the new intervention (Fig 4.59).

Fig.4.58. (left) the original shop space in the building Fig.4.59. (right) the new shop space


124

the individuals _ adaptations_ variations


125

Chapter 4

4.2.4. Case Study 4 8 Beadon Row 4.2.4.a 4.2.4.b 4.2.4.c

History Base Drawings Understanding


the individuals _ adaptations_ variations

126

4.2.4.a.

History

The house is owned by the Mitra family. The house is about 200 years old. The family is related to the Mitra family of 19C Nilmoni Mitra Street, an original Zamindar family of the neighbourhood. The house is located on the Beadon Row, previously Darjeepara Street, one of the two bounding streets of the neighbourhood Darjeepara. The house has been divided into many parts, and has many owners. Of them, Sanjib Mitra and his elder brother Saumitra Mitra still live on the premises. Sanjib Mitra is a doctor, and Saumitra Mitra is an advocate. At present the house is home to thirteen residents. Fig.4.60. The nameplate of the Mitra family, 8 Beadon Row


127

Chapter 4

4.2.4.b.

Base Drawings

The footprint of the house in the early 1900’s (Fig 4.61) shows the spatial organization of the building having two courtyards, one a larger public courtyard and the other a small and more private court. The street facade has a continuous roak. The building has an outhouse, through which one enters the public court. The private court has verandahs on three sides and steps on all four sides to lead to the interior of the house. The whole house is a single storied structure, barring the central part, which is two loors. The building had a single staircase, located on one side of the private court (as pointed out by the present day owner in the interview). Fig.4.61. Plan of premise 8 BEadon Row Street, as in R.B.Smart survey of Calcutta 1906. The number corresponds to the number of loors.

The present state of the house is documented in the following pages, however, some areas are left blank as multiple owners, not all of them who live in the building restricted access to certain parts of the house.


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128

Plate .XXV.

GROUND FLOOR PLAN

LEGEND Common 01 02 03 04

entrance passage main court passage to back court back court

House 1 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13

entrance lobby living room dining space study room kitchen toilet 1 toilet 2 bed room doctor’s chamber

House 2 a unknown use b lobby c unknown use House 3 d unknown internal con iguration e segregated part of main court House 4 f entrance lobby g unknown internal con iguration House 5 h entrance i dining space j bed room 1 k bed room 2 l toilet 1 m kitchen n living space


Chapter 4

Plate .XXVI. FIRST FLOOR PLAN

LEGEND House 1 01 02 03 04 05 06 07

enclosed verandah bed room 1 bed room 2 puja room kitchen toilet 1 toilet 2

House 2 and 3 a shared terrace House 3 b unknown internal con iguration House 4 c unknown internal con iguration House 5 d lobby e bed room f toilet

129


130

the individuals _ adaptations_ variations

Plate .XXVII. SECOND FLOOR PLAN

LEGEND House 1 1 store 2 caretaker’s room House 4 a store + access to roof

Fig.4.62. (left) the main courtyard Fig.4.63. (right) the internal courtyard


Chapter 4

Plate .XXVIII. SECTION DD

131


132

Plate .XXIX. ADAPTATIONS:

the individuals _ adaptations_ variations


133

Chapter 4

4.2.4.c.

Understanding

Adaptations in the Building The house has seen a considerable amount of additions/alterations over time. A comparative built form study of the house in the early 1900’s (Fig. 4.61) and at present (Plate XXV-XXVII), clearly shows the physical growth of the building in the vertical direction. Apart from the two loors in the central part of the house, all other construction had one loor. At present, the areas surrounding the back court are all two loors, and a third loor has been added onto the existing two storied building. The verandah’s that used to exist on the three sides of the back court have now become part of the built.

Fig.4.64. (left) new construction abutting the main court Fig.4.65. (right top) new construction abutting the main court Fig.4.66. (right bottom) new construction around the back court

The physical deϐinition of the main court has been altered, with two new blocks coming up on either side of the main entrance (Fig. 4.64). The open space of the main court has been fragmented by creating partition walls within it. The court hence does not feel like an uni ied entity, and resembles more the incidental open spaces that were seen in the accretive open space type. The adaptations that the house has seen have been in phases. The


134

the individuals _ adaptations_ variations

walls indicated in green came up in the 1980’s, followed by later additions, indicated in red in the 1990’s.

Fig.4.67. (left) and Fig.4.68. (right) subdivision of the main court

Fig.4.69. (left) and Fig.4.70. (right) the passage that leads to the back court

Ownership/Rentals: It is clear from the ownership structure (Fig. 4.71), that the house is now subdivided into many parts. However, it is interesting to note that all of the houses have an access to the ground, making it a cluster of independent houses within the same legal premises. Because of these divisions there is no common language to further additions. Each part has grown in response to speci ic individual needs, and hence has different responses. There is an attempt in all these houses to achieve self suf iciency. This


Chapter 4

Fig.4.71. Plan showing the present ownership structure

135

assumption is based on the presence of multiple staircases, water tanks and toilets in the house (Fig. 4.71 & 4.72). For further analysis, space syntax maps are made of the house, to look at spatial relationships in the house, and to compare them with the original diagram. For purpose of the comparative, a space syntax map showing the major relationships in the original building is made based on the plan of the building in the 1900’s.

Fig.4.72. (left) and Fig.4.73. (right) multiple stairs


the individuals _ adaptations_ variations

136

Plate .XXX.

PERMEABILITY MAPS:


137

Chapter 4

The effects of the adaptations undergone by the building on the ive layers are seen next. SPACE: As seen from the comparative permeability maps, major changes have happened in the building, speciマ進cally changing the spatial signiマ進cance of both the main court and the back court. In the original spatial arrangement, the main court was more like an open space, a buffer between the outhouse and the main house. The main court also had the main access to the private parts of the house (presently occupied by Owner 1). The private court had a continuous verandah running on all three sides, and a sequence of spatial transition from the open to the enclosed through a layer of steps and verandah. There was a single staircase that facilitated access to the upper loors, abutting the private court. Two new insertions have now been added to the main court. Consequently it does not portray the same signi icance (Fig. 4.674.68). The space itself has been physically partitioned into two parts (2 and e in the present day permeability map). The most signi icant change around the service court has been the enclosure of all the verandahs. Out of the four sets of steps, two sets are in use, two others exist but the connection has been severed. It is also noticeable from the permeability maps that each unit (space owned by a particular person) aims to be independent, resulting in multiple staircases, kitchens, and toilets across the house (Fig. 4.724.73). Fig.4.74. (left) steps as a part of the present spatial sequence Fig.4.75. (right) steps no more a part of the spatial sequence


the individuals _ adaptations_ variations

138

ĐŝƌĐƵůĂƟŽŶ core

ƐĞƋƵĞŶĐĞ of OPEN SPACE

ŽƌŝŐŝŶĂůƚŽŝůĞƚŝŶĐŽƵƌƚ ;ƐƟůůĞdžŝƐƟŶŐͿ ǁĂůůƉĂƌƟƟŽŶŝŶŐ open space entry 1

LEGEND open space ŽƌŝŐŝŶĂůƐĞƌǀŝĐĞ fragmented open space ǀĞƌƟĐĂůĐŝƌĐƵůĂƟŽŶĐŽƌĞƐ

The above diagram (Fig.76) shows the open space through the house, and how new insertions/ additions and even physical partitions have changed the nature of the main court.

Fig.4.76. Spatial relationship in the building

SERVICES: There have been major upgradation of services. The original toilet was located in the main courtyard, and is there till date (pointed out in Fig. 4.76). It can also be seen from the permeability map that each unit has independent toilets and kitchens.

Fig.4.77. (left) the original toilet Fig.4.78. (middle) and Fig.4.79. (right) inserted toilets


139

Chapter 4

Another major upgradation has been in terms of vertical circulation, as seen in the numerous staircases that are distributed in the house (Fig 4.80 - 4.82). STRUCTURE (material and construction): The house is a mix of different methods of construction, and materials, examples of which are seen across the house. Physical growth in the vertical direction is possible because of the thick load bearing walls. The traditional wood spanning systems are replaced in some places by Mild Steel joists and later, by RCC structures. Wooden partitions divide the space in some places, and screens are made to totally seal off the verandah on the irst loor. Fig.4.80. (below) a verandah converted to a screen Fig.4.81. (right top) mix of materials, from wood spanning system on the left to RCC on the right, and a wooden partition Fig.4.82. (right below) wooden partition dividing space

SKIN: The building portrays many different images, being added on in many different ways by many different people. There are differences in styles, and in material textures visible. The original fenestration elements are visible only in the interior spaces, and in some places make an awkward composition in the exterior facade.


140

the individuals _ adaptations_ variations

Fig.4.85. (left) arches visible from the interior Fig.4.86. (right top) the same window has a lat top and an RCC overhang Fig.4.87. (right below) ad-hoc additions in the building

SITE: The degree of adaptations, and the growth of the building is not visible from the street (Fig. 4.88). The roaks that the building originally had are retained on one side, but have been modiマ進ed on the other side, partly retaining the public nature of the street house interface.

Fig.4.83. (left) and Fig.4.84. (right) mismatch of the earlier skin with the new additions

Fig.4.88. the entrance of the house from the street


141

Chapter 4

4.3. Correlating マ進ndings across case studies It is clear from the above case studies, that the buildings have changed in time. There have been additions, deletions and interventions at various scales and intensities in these buildings. The next section looks at this palate of observations across the case studies and tries to create patterns across the studied examples. Ownership Patterns: The ownership patterns at present (Fig. 4.89) portray the multiplicity of ownership in a single house, and the presence of multiple kinds of space use, from residential to commercial to even institutional. There is evidence of multiple subdivisions in each example. However, depending on the number of parts, and the original con iguration, each example has responded in different ways. In all cases apart from 70 DCM street, the subdivision and subsequent ownership is in the family. However, in the case of 70DCM street, the creation of an apartment type has resulted in new owners permanently occupying space, and sharing vertical circulation. In all other cases, space is given out as rentals to shops/ institutions/ other families. Fig.4.89. comparative patterns of ownership

The following section looks at each layer and tries to examine kinds of adaptations that have happened in each of them.


142

the individuals _ adaptations_ variations

SPACE: All examples show altered spatial relationships. In 30DCM Street, the house gets split into two parts. However, the resultant spatial organization continues to resemble the old traditional courtyard house type, barring a few exceptions. As a result of the partition the spatial signi icance of both the courtyards have diminished.

Fig.4.90. comparative permeability maps


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68 DCM Street shows a lot of subdivision, and multiple owners. However, the main part of the house retains much of the spatial organization, with a centralized organization pattern of spaces around a courtyard. The public parts of the house are rented out and used for commercial purposes. However, there is a disconnect of the main house to the back court, and the typological spatial organization is weakened. 70 DCM Street shows signi icant spatial reorganization, the space system getting changed from a courtyard type to an apartment type. Purely the present day organization of space in this house does not reマ人ect that of the traditional type. However, the house sensitively maintains most public gestures and interface element, and sits as a coherent part of the context. 8 Beadon Row is a house with many additions/ alterations, and the original spatial organization has been altered so much that the spatial relationships have been almost completely lost. The original house, belonging to the courtyard type, has transformed into an accretive open space type, characteristics of which have been discussed in part 3. It can be inferred from the present day use patterns that the speci icity of function assigned to a space has increased, and so has the independence of the sub-units that make up a house. Some examples have managed to survive by adapting little, and in others there have been intensive adaptations leading to an in situ transformation of the type. SERVICES: It is clear from all the examples, there is a substantial need for upgradation of services. These can be seen by the high percentage of service spaces (toilets, storage, kitchens and even vertical circulation) that are incorporated later in each example(refer Fig.4.90). STRUCTURE: The traditional structural system is characterised by load bearing masonry walls, and the spanning system is overlapping wooden members, and tile and lime concrete slabs. Later additions have seen the use of many other materials, like mild steel, RCC and even wood for internal partitions. As a result, different materials come together at various junctions of the old and new, as shown in each example. SKIN and SITE: Use of different materials at different stages is re lected on the skin of the buildings, resulting in differing language of fenestrations from the old to the new parts. There are differing responses that the building skin makes to the street from amongst the studied


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examples. The public gestures that the building makes have decreased, and there is a tendency to occupy these public spaces as part of the interior of the house (30DCM Street and 8 Beadon Row). The house at 68 DCM Street retains all the public gestures, and also the original skin of the house(Fig. 4.23-4.24). 70 DCM street party retains the public gestures, and the facade skin also attempts to recreate the original spatial response to the Street, that of the roak at the ground loor and the verandah at the irst loor (Fig. 4.57).

SUMMARY: What is clear from the study is that there are certain events at the scale of the city that over a period of time induce change in buildings. Some of them are; changing ownership patterns, the need for maintenance and up-gradation of services, and the aspirations and spatial needs of the owners, even the preferential shift to imported functional types in the fabric. As a building adapts in order to accommodate these changes, the original spatial relationships get recon igured. New materials are used in close proximity of the old, and new relationships to the site are forged. As a result of these interventions, there are certain elements that change, at the same time there are other elements that persist. There is no single path to this adaptation, it is a multivariant process, derived out of its context. The process of transformation is directly related to the original conマ進guration of the building. In other words, the process of adaptations in the type utilizes principles of adaptability ingrained in the type. The マ進nal part of the dissertation examines the potentials of adaptability of the observed type.


Chapter 5

5. 5.1 5.2 5.3

5.4

INFERENCES Inferences from: 5.1.1 Analysis at the neighbourhood scale 5.1.2 Analysis at the building scale Testing the inferences against a test case Adaptability of the type 5.3.1 Defining the aspects of the type 5.3.2 Potentials and Limits of adaptability of the type Endnote


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5.1. 5.1.1. Inferences from the neighbourhood studied The analysis at the macro level was done to understand the trends of change, and of continuity in the traditional old core of the city of Kolkata. It is understood that both these processes occur simultaneously, and are jointly responsible for portraying the character of a place, and de ining its nature of transformations. The old and new buildings were mapped in the area, in context of several other parameters which were thought to in luence this process of transformation of the old core. An attempt has been made to look at the effects of this transformation process at the micro level. Certain observations can be made at the level of the neighbourhood level from the analysis at the macro level. It can be inferred that all buildings experience a certain ‘Pressure of Transformation’ (Fig.5.1). The factors that determine this parameter are many. They are both physical, and non-physical. The non-physical factors are essentially subjective. Parameters like the owner’s aspirations, ownership patterns, his/her rootedness or sense of belonging to a place, his/her experiences and memory, and new needs speci ic to him/her attached to the building are examples of non-physical factors that affect the pressure of transformation on a building. However, a number of physical factors also affect the pressure of transformation. These factors are at the scale of the built fabric. The built fabric is seen as composed of two parts, the connections and the buildings themselves. The persistence of the connections are generally more than that of the individual buildings. Hence, major changes in connections often have consequences on the layer of the individual buildings. Three such parameters have been identi ied as part of the study. They are, Location, Street Accessibility and Plot Size (see Map 4, section 3.3 for discussions on each parameter). These parameters together play a role in determining the pressure of transformation on a certain building, creating conditions for change/persistence. The tendency of a building to change is directly proportional to the intensity of the pressure of transformation a building experiences. It can also be stated that if the pressure of transformation on a particular building exceeds a particular threshold, it is impossible to satisfy that pressure by adapting the existing building. Under such circumstances, new construction in inevitable. For example, it is observed in the study area that

inferences


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all plots abutting the Central Avenue has new buildings (Fig. 3.15). However, the number of completely new developments are less as seen on the internal streets. The understanding of the context, in terms of both the physical and the non-physical factors has led to the understanding of the pressure of transformation in the selected area, and explains the observed patterns behind continuity of old types, and the locations of the new types. Fig.5.1. the pressure transformation

of

5.1.2. Inferences from the buildings studied The analysis at the scale of individual buildings revealed patterns of change and persistence in buildings over time (Fig.5.2). Each of the four examples represent different scale, and complexity in its original con iguration. They also have different family structures, and different needs created due to the change in the respective family structures and ownership patterns . All of them have undergone different extents of transformations. All the case studies, barring 70 Durga Charan Mitra Street (case study 4.2.3) were cases that documented naturally occurring adaptations. Hence, there is a lot of evidence of incidental changes happening across the examples. Yet, certain common patterns of transformations can still be seen across the examples. The most signiマ進cant changes happen in the layer of Space.


148

inferences

Changed spatial relationship patterns result in many cases the change in spatial type. For example, a courtyard type changes into an apartment type (case study 4.2.3); and a courtyard type devolves into an accretive open space type (case study 4.2.4). In some cases the spatial relationships of the original courtyard types are still retained to a certain extent (case study 4.2.1 and 4.2.2). In general there is a pattern of specialization of space to a particular function, and the shared circulation and services of the large joint family system is replaced by self-contained self-sustaining units of space with their own circulation and service systems. This is also re lected in the diminishing public gestures that the buildings make, and re lects on the increasing private nature of life as governed by the changing society. There is a clear manifestation for the need for upgradation of services, as clear from numerous insertions of services across the four studied examples. The upgradation of services is in tune with the new standards of living in the present age, and also re lects a common aspiration of owners in the old traditional core to con irm to modern standards of living. Manifestation of different materials are seen in the Skin, be it the way the building faテァade is articulated, and the way the fenestrations are in the new parts. A certain standardization of the openings is also observed across the openings. Hence, one can say that the changes in the individual buildings are direct response to the pressure of transformation, and is manifested in all the layers of the building. Fig.5.2. adaptations in existing buildings

In order to validate the inferences, observations are made on a selected building and the マ進ndings are checked for consistency against these observations.


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5.2. Test Case The building selected as a test case for the inferences is at premises number 19C Nilmoni Mitra Street. Also known as ‘Durjeeparar Mitrabari’ ; this house is one of the most important socially signi icant buildings of the area. It belongs to the Mitra family, the descendants of Radhakrishna Mitra, who are one of the Zamindar families of the area. The house is one of the core houses of the settlement, the generator of the neighbourhood surrounding it. The street, Nilmoni Mitra Street was originally named Darjipara Lane, and is one of the streets of the para known as Darjipara. Fig.5.3. (left) 1906 Smarts’ Map of the building Fig.5.4. (right) present day Google map of the building

The oldest part of the building was established in 1809 (Bandhyopadhyay, p.75). Over the period of the next 200 years, it has

seen numerous changes.

From the comparative plans in 1906 and in 2012 (Fig.5.3 & 5.4), one can see a large amount of changes happening, both in the context and the individual building. In order to understand the pressure of transformation on the building, it is important to look at its Location, Plot Size and Street accessibility, and understand the nature of ownership, and its speciϐic needs. PRESSURE OF TRANSFORMATION: It is located at the junction of two important old roads, the Beadon Row (Durijeepara Street) and the Nilmoni Mitra Street (Durjeepara Lane). The junction is a prominent junction even today, and houses


150

inferences

commercial functions that cater to the neighbourhood. The streets are amongst the wider streets amongst the internal streets that run through the fabric, and provides vehicular access. Fig.5.5. the junction of Beadon Row and Nilmoni Mitra Street

Compared to the usual grain size, the house sits on a plot of land that is very large. It also has access from two sides being a corner plot. The building used to be predominantly residential, and belonged to the Mitra family. However, such a large family has subdivided today into numerous parts. Yet, the building retains social signiϐicance, by continuing the major socio-cultural event of celebrating its 200 year old Durga Puja in the central courtyard (Bandhyopadhyay, p.75). Hence, one can conjecture that the building is under considerable pressure of development, yet at the same time its social signiϐicance plays an important role in preserving the character of the important spaces in the building. EXPECTED EVIDENCES AT THE BUILDING LEVEL: One expects to ind evidence of the common patterns of subdivisions observed in the case studies while looking at the adaptations in the building. These are, subdivision and independence of ‘units’ of space, multiplicity of vertical connections, multiplicity of services, and a skin that denotes multiple owners.

The building is analysed to check for manifestations of the conjectured scenario and their validity. The observations are presented in the following pages.


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OBSERVATIONS: The following plan of the building in the 1850’s (Fig.5.6) shows the complete building, and demarcates the major changes in the building as observed today. Fig.5.6. Plan of 19C Nilmoni Mitra street, redrawn based on Bose, Kamalika ; Seeking the lost Layers, 2009

The building has partly been replaced with new buildings (marked by a red ϔill in Fig. 5.6). It has happened at the corner of the old plot, the part with the maximum access to the two streets. Another part of it is at present not in use, and one can foresee a similar fate. Part of the building has been included in the heritage list (Grade 2A). This part (marked by a red dotted line in Fig. 5.6) is predominantly residential, and is home to numerous families, some on rent and some owning parts of the house. The main ceremonial courtyard also belongs to this part.


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Fig.5.7. (top left) new developments Fig.5.8. (top right) abandoned part of the house

In keeping with the traditional use patterns, the house originally had two distinct parts, a part predominantly open to the people and public events, and the other a more private living area for the family (as shown in Fig. 5.11). Over time, the public functions decreased and the public parts of the house also underwent changes and began to support living functions. For purpose of testing the inferences made, adaptations in only the public part of the original house are seen, as this part of the house has witnessed a larger degree of adaptation. Multiple vertical circulation cores (Fig.5.12 - 5.15) are present in the building now, as compared to a single core originally. Additionally there are evidences of new services being inserted into the existing (Fig.5.16 & 5.17), in the form of toilets, kitchens and water tanks. The skin also shows multiple characteristics (Fig.5.19), portraying ad-hoc additions by multiple owners. Because of the large number of owners, the integrity of the facade has completely been lost in this case.

Fig.5.9. (above left) and Fig.5.10. (above) the central courtyard

Fig.5.11. public and private parts of the original house


Chapter 5

Fig.5.12. (above left) and Fig.5.13. (above center left) and Fig.5.14. (above center right) and Fig.5.15. (above right) staircases in the house

Fig.5.16. (left) inserted kitchen Fig.5.17. (right) inserted toilet

Fig.5.18. (left)the main entry Fig.5.19. (right) facade made of many elements

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The observations from the test case are in tune with the inferences made from the analysis of the case studies, and the analysis at the macro level. It is clear that the adaptations in this example are as a result of the pressure of transformation, yet it retains some of the key spaces as those spaces have important social signi icance. The pattern of adaptations seen from the case studies done in chapter 4 can be corroborated by this example.

5.3. Adaptability of the traditional type The adaptations observed in the selected case studies were to a large extent user driven spontaneous changes. These changes utilise the properties of adaptability ingrained in the type. The dissertation believes that recognising these potentials of adaptability is an important step towards sensitive planned interventions in these buildings. The last part of the dissertation, hence, aims at understanding the limits of adaptability of the type.

inferences


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5.3.1. Deマ進ning the aspects of the type: In order to discuss the limits of adaptability, it is important to de ine aspects of the type as a set of particular characteristics. Spatial System: The spatial system of the traditional type revolves around a courtyard type of organization. There exists a series of courtyards, in increasing order of privacy, from the main street to the interior of the house. Each courtyard has spaces around it, and an internal path connects all the courtyards. The privacy gradient is also present in section, with the most public spaces occupying the ground, and functions becoming more private as one climbs to the higher loors. Refer Mitra, Anita. Calcutta: Its indigenous town ; a reading from the dwelling (unpublished CEPT thesis) for insight into the accretive nature of the spatial systems

Fig.5.20. diagrams the spatial systems

explaining

Complex spatial relationships are created by an accretion of a large number of courtyard type spatial arrangements coming together in an accretive process. Another type of spatial system has been observed in the area, a system where the courtyard is informal in its deマ進nition, and the spaces around it form several distinct pockets (the accretive open space type).


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inferences

Structural Systems, Surfaces, Fenestrations: The structural systems (Fig.5.21) of the original type comprised of load bearing masonry walls, and wooden beam spanning systems, later replaced in some places by mild steel beams. The system of spanning is one of assembly, and there is a high degree of standardization in the sections used and their intervals. This has been observed across examples studied. The type also has characteristic surfaces and fenestration styles. These are articulated hand in hand with the material used, and the systems of load transfer and spanning employed. For example, use of brick masonry as load bearing walls necessitated arched openings, which in turn led stained glass work on top of doors and windows. Materials like cast iron re lected in the intricate railings, and wood in the shading devices on the irst loor verandah.

Fig.5.21. diagrams explaining the structural systems

Public Gestures, Visual Language: The type is characterised by a set of public gestures to the street it sits on, as an acknowledgement of it belonging to a larger context (Fig.5.22). This is typically characterized by two elements, a roak at the ground loor establishing direct connection to the street, and a verandah at the upper level establishing visual connection.


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The spatial systems, the structural systems (material, openings and enclosures) and the public gestures together deマ進ne the character of the type.

Fig.5.22. diagram the public gestures

explaining

5.3.2. Limits and Potentials of adaptability of the type The major characters that deマ進ne a type are its spatial systems, structure and materials, public gestures and visual language. The spatial systems of the courtyard type are the most susceptible to loss of character. This is because there are ixed sets of relationships that de ine these spatial systems. However, the system is adaptable to a large extent depending on the nature of change required. Each courtyard and surrounding spaces have the potential to function as independent spaces, in case there are multiple accesses to the original house (Case Study 4.2.2). Interestingly, if the house has one single access, then the courtyard type cannot retain spatial relations in case of multiple subdivisions.


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In such cases, the spatial system transforms to resemble that of the accretive open space type (as seen in Case Study 4.2.4). The spatial adaptability of the space, hence, has been totally exhausted in Case Study 4.2.4. The adaptability of the spatial relationships is proportional to the number of accesses, the number of spaces with direct access to the street, the number of vertical connections, and the number of courtyards in the building originally. More the number, more the permutations possible, and more the adaptability. The adaptability of the structural system is much more. Minor insertions are possible due to the intrinsic adaptability of the traditional building practice and technology. The original load bearing walls in most cases are designed to, and support vertical extension of the building. The nature of spanning is that of assembly, and the spaces have a relatively moderate structural grid. The absence of long spans, and new materials like RCC makes the adaptability of the structure almost limitless. It is possible to replace old elements by new elements and still retain the original spatial quality of the building (as seen in the reconstruction of the street facade of Case Study 4.2.3). More drastic changes in physical structure are done through introduction of RCC structure (monolithic and less adaptable). The public gestures the building make, and the visual language are important factors determining the way the building and the street interacts. In Case Study 4.2.3, even if interventions have transformed the type from a courtyard type to an apartment type, continuity of the public gestures has resulted in the building being able to it in the existing context. So it can be said that the type has ingrained adaptability and it is of varying magnitudes in its characters. The characters together deϐine the limits of physical adaptability. However, the limits of adaptability also depend on a number of intangible and unquantiϐiable factors which further affect the actual potential of adaptability of the building. The ‘pressure of transformation’ that is experienced by a building is due to a number of subjective factors. The study of the cases reveal hints of some unquanti iable factors. In all the buildings studied, there is a certain sense of belonging to the building. This sense of belonging is manifested into the persistence of the building. This sense of belonging is different in different cases. Multiplicity of owners dilutes this sense of belonging. It is seen both in Case Study 4.2.4 and in Case Study 5.2 that multiple owners have resulted in a loss in the character of the building. The building, or a part of it might hold a certain social signiϐicance,

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159

and hence hold a sense of belonging/meaning/identity for a group of people larger than its actual owners. In such cases the building becomes important as a vessel for collective memory. This larger sense of belonging lends persistence to the particular building/ part of it in concern. This phenomena of persistence is observed in the ceremonial courtyard of Case study 5.2, home to a 200 year old annual celebration. The identity, visual language, and spatial integrity of this part is maintained in sharp contrast to the high intensity of adaptations in close proximity.

the concept of adda is deeply rooted in the Bengali traditional way of life. It involves groups of people gathering together in the roaks, and is the generator of ideas, thoughts in the public realm.

A building is manifestation of shared knowledge, shared history. The way of life of a particular society is coded in the spatial systems of the type. At the same time certain elements, and visual language are manifestations of cultural phenomena, and are important identiϐiers of a particular building belonging to a type. For example, the roak is a manifestation of the idea of adda in Bengali lifestyle. One can, by the nature of the street façade of a particular building, categorize it as belonging to groups. The visual language in the façade also re lects the present nature of ownership in a building. Different approaches to visual language and public gestures are seen in the cases studied. Case Study 4.2.1 tries to maintain the original public gestures, and the visual language is the same as the old traditional houses. Case Study 4.2.2 re lects the multiple owners of the house, while Case Study 4.4.4 shows a loss of character concurrent with multiple owners. In both these cases, no attempt has been made to continue the visual language in the new additions on the façade. In Case Study 4.2.3, an attempt has been made to continue the public gestures and visual language even in the new construction. Hence, even after large scale intervention, this building still is visually concurrent to its context, and the image of the traditional type; while it is completely different in terms of its spatial system. In case studies 4.2.2 and 4.2.3, the concurrency has been diminished as an after effect of disrupted visual language. The particular elements and visual language of the street façade create a strong sense of character in the traditional area. This makes it difϐicult to adapt the existing public gestures or visual language without compromising on the continuity of its character. Hence, one can say that the limits of adaptability of a type lies in its physical characteristics. These characteristics, and the extent of their applicability is roughly the same in case of any instance of the type. However, there exists a complex layer of subjective issues that are particular to every instance of the type; i.e. these issues affect each building differently. The ϐinal potential of adaptability of a type is the sum total of both the subjective (speciϐic to a particular building) factors and the objective (generic to a type) factors.


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Adaptability and Continuity At this point one should make a distinction between continuity, and adaptability. Adaptability is the ability to change. However, continuity stresses on change at the same time maintaining the original characteristics. The dissertation believes that typology is history (see section 1.2). Hence, meaning becomes an important value ingrained in the existing type, and continuity of the type is change upto the extent that the building in question retains its original characteristics. It is clear that the potential of these two processes are different. The potential of adaptability is more that the potential of continuity. At the same time one can counter-argue that the very fact that the building being in use is nothing but continuity of shared building knowledge, and culture. From this point of view the potential for continuity of a type is the same as that of adaptability.

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5.4. Endnote: The dissertation looks at the city in order to understand the backdrop of the place, and select a neighbourhood in the city which is characteristic of the traditional core of the city. The analysis of the neighbourhood reveals patterns of change, and persistence, patterns of how cities change, and why they do. It leads on to identifying buildings that represent continuity of the existing, and how they have adapted to the pressure of transformation. This creates a backdrop for looking at the traditional types through the lens of adaptability, and continuity. At the same time it becomes clear that there are various non-physical factors that determine the actual limit of adaptability of a building, and the conservation of the value associated with it. The potentials of adaptability of a type; hence is the sum total of both the subjective factors and the objective factors. The understanding of the pressure of transformation, and the potentials of adaptability and continuity of a particular building, may lead to an understanding of the embodied value of a building, and possible strategies of intervention in such a scenario.


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ILLUSTRATION CREDITS All illustrations have been done by the author except those speci ied below. Chapter 1 Fig. 1.1 Fig. 1.2 Fig. 1.3 Fig. 1.4 Fig. 1.5-1.6 Fig. 1.7 Fig. 1.8

Danby, Miles. Grammer of Architecture Design, Oxford University. Kshama, P. House form of Kulu Valley: Documentation and Understanding. CEPT Unpublished thesis. p.12 Petruccioli, Attilio. After Amnesia: Learning from the Islamic Mediterranean urban fabric, ICAR. p. 78 http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ANolli_detail_pantheon.jpg; By Giovanni Battista Nolli (1701-1756). Uploaded by Luis Casillas, via Wikimedia Commons Brand, S. (1994). How Buildings Learn, What happens after they are built. Penguin. p.13 Khattab, O. Socio-Spatial Analysis of Traditional Kuwaiti Houses. p.4 reworked, from Hillier, B., & Julienne , H. (1984). The Social logic of Space. New York: Cambrige University Press. p.150-151

Chapter 2 Fig. 2.1 Fig. 2.2 Fig. 2.3 Fig. 2.5,2.6 2.7,2.8, 2.12,2.14 Fig. 2.16

reworked on http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/ab/ India_map_blank.svg/927px-India_map_blank.svg.png reworked on http://liveindia.tv/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/images/Map_ Bengal.jpg http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/ams/india/nf-45-07a.jpg reworked on the basis of maps from Kundu, Anil Kumar. The Atlas of the city of Kolkata and its environs (1990) image reworked from Banerjee, Anirban. Rethinking of Kolkata’s educational hub COLLEGE STREET, Unpublished Dissertation. Kamla Raheja (2013)

Chapter 3 Fig. 3.2 Fig. 3.4,3.5 3.7,3.8 Fig. 3.6

reworked, from Choudhury, Amitabha. City within the city: Distinctions of Urban form in the colonial city of Kolkata; (RA-TH-0603 CHO). p.32 reworked on the basis of maps from Kundu, Anil Kumar. The Atlas of the city of Kolkata and its environs (1990) reworked, from Mitra, Anita. Calcutta: Its indigenous town ; a reading from the dwelling. (RA-TH-0612 MIT). p.226

Fig. 3.21, 3.22,3.23 reworked on plans from R. B. Smart’s survey of kolkata 1906 Plate III, images of Rabindra Sarani and Bidhan Sarani in clockwise sequence from top left to bottom left http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/db/Bidhan_ Sarani_-_Kolkata_2011-10-22_6271.JPG http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ABidhan_Sarani_-_Kolkata_7434.JPG http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ABeadon_Street_-_ Kolkata_2012-01-23_8672.JPG


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http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ABeadon_Street_-_ Kolkata_2011-02-09_0815.JPG Fig. 3.40,3.41 Choudhury, Amitabha. City within the city: Distinctions of Urban form in the colonial city of Kolkata; (RA-TH-0603 CHO); Plate 24 and 25 Chapter 4 Fig. 4.09,4.61 reworked on plans from R. B. Smart’s survey of kolkata 1906 Chapter 5 Fig. 5.3 Fig. 5.4 Fig. 5.6 Fig. 5.9

reworked on plans from R. B. Smart’s survey of kolkata 1906 Google Earth Image as of 05.03.2012 redrawn based on Bose, K. (2009). Seeking the Lost Layers. SID Publication Cell. p.59 Bose, K. (2009). Seeking the Lost Layers. SID Publication Cell. p. 59.


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BIBLIOGRAPHY Books Ajit, B. K. (1996). Kalikatar Rajpath, samaj-e o sanskriti-te (in Bengali). Ananda Publishers. Bandhyopadhyay, D. (n.d.). Bonedi Kalikatar Gharbari (in Bengali). Banerjee, S. (1989). The Parlour and the streets, Elite and Popular Culture in the Nineteenth Century. Calcutta: Seagull Books. Bose, K. (2009). Seeking the Lost Layers. SID Publication Cell. Boyer, C. M. (1994). The City of Collective Memory. Cambridge, Massachesetts: Mit Press. Brand, S. (1994). How Buildings Learn, What happens after they are built. Penguin. Chattopadhyay, S. (2005). Representing Calcutta, Traditions, Modernity and the Colonial Uncanny. Routledge. Chaudhuri, S. (Ed.). (1990). Calcutta , The Living City Volume I. Calcutta: Oxford University Press. Chaudhuri, S. (Ed.). (1990). Calcutta , The Living City Volume II. Calcutta: Oxford University Press. Cramer, J., & Breitling, S. (2007). Architecture in Existing Fabric, Planning Design Building. Birkhauser. Crouch, D. P., & Johnson, J. J. (2000). Traditions in Architecture. Oxford University Press. Dutta, P. (2012). Planning the City : Urbanization and reform in Calcutta. Tulika Books. Finley, L. (2005). Building Change , Architecture Politics and Cultural Agency. Routledge. Hillier, B., & Julienne , H. (1984). The Social logic of Space. New York: Cambrige University Press. Khattab, O. (n.d.). Socio-Spatial Analysis of Traditional Kuwaiti Houses. Kostof, S. (1991). The City Shaped, Urban Patterns and Meanings through History. Boston, Toronto, London: Bull inch Press. Lynch, K. (1972). The Image of the City. Routledge, NY. Petruccioli, A. (2007). After Amnesia: Learning from the Islamic Mediterranean Urban Fabric. ICAR. Scheer, B. C. (n.d.). The evolution of Urban Form, Typology for Planners and Architects. American Planning Association. Sinha, P. (1978). Calcutta in Urban History. Calcutta: Firma KLM Private Ltd. Tweed, C., & Sutherland, M. (2007). Built Cultural Heritage and Sustainable Urban Development. Landscape and Urban Planning. Thesis: Desai, Arjav. Understanding and identifying type for houses in south Gujarat region;(RA-TH-1059 DES) Choudhury, Amitabha. City within the city: Distinctions of Urban form in the colonial city of Kolkata; (RA-TH-0603 CHO) Mitra, Anita. Calcutta: Its indigenous town ; a reading from the dwelling. (RA-TH-0612 MIT) Mitra, Debashish. Forms and Variations in a Bengal Village Structure (RA-TH-0568 MIT) Kshama, P. House form of Kulu Valley: Documentation and Understanding Banerjee, Anirban. Rethinking of Kolkata’s educational hub COLLEGE STREET, Unpublished Dissertation. Kamla Raheja (2013) Internet Resources: Robert Schmidt III, Toru Eguchi, Simon Austin, Alistair Gibb. What is the meaning of adaptability in the Building Industry? [accessed 27.08.2012] Maps and Atlas: Kundu, Anil Kumar. The Atlas of the city of Kolkata and its environs (1990) R.B.Smarts Survey of Kolkata,1906 [from Kolkata Municipal Corporation]


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Acknowledgements The thesis is incomplete without the mention of people who were instrumental in the making of it. Jigna Desai, my guide, for your time, involvement and concern, for helping me clarify the many vague thoughts in my mind into something meaningful. Your insightful observations; the countless debates and discussions made thesis interesting, even enjoyable at times. I am deeply indebted to you. Baba, for instilling in me a sense of belief, and for the innumerable passionate discussions. You clari ied many thoughts, and made me question many others. Thank you. Ma, dadabhai, amma, dida, kaku, chotoma, titli, buri; I am grateful to have such a wonderful family. Thank you, for being there. Chandan Banerjee, KMC, thank you for your support. This thesis would not have been possible without you. Mihir, and Anurag for being great friends. C-803 was the best home I had in Ahmedabad. The endless discussions, the intense debates, the movies, food escapades and the parties never left a dull moment. Thank you for your concern. Gunjan, for unwavering friendship, and memories to last a lifetime. Parantap, Mansi, Sahil for making Ahmedabad feel like home. The times we spent together, and the things we did! Mrinal, Gaytri, Bulbul, Shivani, Dhara; with batchmates like you, life was always interesting! Krishna, for proo ing my thesis. For listening to me crib about thesis. For listening to me be happy about thesis. For listening to me endlessly talk about thesis. Thank you for tolerating me. I would have never imagined that thesis studio could be so much fun. But it was! Thank you, Parizad, Vicky, Caleb, Satyam, Pratik, Sneha for making it so. At the same time, thank you Tillu; you inspired me to sit and work. Cheers to all my friends at CEPT, who made six years seem like a lash, of good fun and some pretty hazy memories.


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Saptarshi Mitra UA3407 saptarshi2103@gmail.com +91 9879619915



Houses of Traditional Kolkata : understanding adaptability in context of urban transformations