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Palava City

Knowledge Environments for a new Township in India

Edited by Christopher C. M. Lee



Palava City

Knowledge Environments for a new Township in India



Preface

This studio report has been made possible by the generous support of the LODHA Group, which financed this research and design studio through their gift to the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. When I first encountered Palava City, I was impressed by its scale and its ambitious attempt to offer what Mumbai, with all its developmental resistance and congestion, could not: well-maintained open space and infrastructure, and generous amenities for residents. We have come to expect these basic requirements in new townships the world over, especially those that aspire to attract global attention and investment. Seen this way, Palava is an achievement that still falls short of its potential. The key question for us is, what economic driver and corresponding spatial model can enable Palava to be a largely self-sufficient and desirable place to live and work? On this question we built our design explorations, informed by the excellent work that Peter Rowe has done in The Mumbai Metropolitan Region and Palava City: A Brief Account and Evaluation. I am thoroughly grateful for Peter’s acute insights and intellectual generosity. Thanks are also due to Abhishek Lodha, Shaishav Dharia, and Raunika Malhotra; through conversation with them our studio learned a lot about Palava City and the challenges of urbanization and development in India. Thanks to Simon Whittle, Elaine Kwong, and Yun Fu for assisting me in the studio; and Mariana Paisana for compiling this report’s material. I am grateful for the help and guidance we received from Rahul Mehrotra and Kapil Gupta on everything about Mumbai. Last but not least, thank you to the students who participated in this design studio with so much enthusiasm, diligence, and imagination.

Christopher C. M. Lee Associate Professor in Practice of Urban Design, Harvard GSD

Cambridge MA, 2018



Content

Palava City

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Essay

Notes on the Design of Knowledge Environments: A Campus for Palava City

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Analysis

Palava City - Phase II Water and Architecture Knowledge Environments and the City

19 27 35

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Projects

The Palava Studio: An Introduction The Ladder: City of Frames The Legible City Room to Room: Reframing Palava City The City of Pixels Nested Open Spaces The Urban Sieve

45 47 57 67 77 87 97

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1

Essay

Christopher C. M. Lee

Notes on the Design of Knowledge Environments: A Campus for Palava City

9



Christopher C. M. Lee

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Notes on the Design of Knowledge Environments: A Campus for Palava City

In The Mumbai Metropolitan Region and Palava City: A Brief Account and Evaluation, Peter Rowe recommends the adoption of a technical university and industry incubators as possible economic drivers for Palava City’s second phase of development.1 Our research, presented here, addresses the urban design and architectural challenges, considerations, and propositions that correspond to Rowe’s suggestions. The six design proposals below, developed over 10 weeks, began by investigating the shortcomings of the existing Phase II master plan of Palava City. This was followed by an examination of urban design strategies that respond to the site’s hydrological features, including water scarcity and regional flooding. These proposals were conceived as flexible urban plans articulated by a typological framework, guided by the need to rethink the elemental blocks of a new town to accommodate mixed uses—housing, workspaces, incubators, knowledge spaces, and their associated amenities. They are meant to promote a programmatically diverse ground plane while addressing required density. These frameworks also utilize effective water and natural-resource management, integrating the design of block types with the hydrological systems in Palava to address water shortages and floods. On a metacritical level, the work of the studio builds on two fundamental ambitions: the recuperation of an idea of the city as a project, and the pursuit of alternative forms of urbanization in response to the challenges posed by the developmental city. The former treats the project of the city as a cultural, political, and aesthetic act; the latter envisions a strategic project for urbanization, articulated through its architecture, landscape, and infrastructure. 1.

Palava City

Palava City is a new 1,821-hectare township located in Dombivali, 38.8 kilometers northeast of Mumbai, planned to accommodate a total population of 515,000. Constructed over three phases, the ambition is equivalent to building a city the size of Manchester, England. Like most new townships in India, these privately developed and managed towns are the product of a policy set by the Indian government to deal with the country’s rapid rate of

1

Peter Rowe, The Mumbai Metropolitan Region and Palava City: A Brief Account and Evaluation (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Graduate School of Design, 2017).


urbanization. Termed “by-pass urbanism,” these new townships bypass the developmental resistance—grassroots oppositions, political inertia and impediments, crumbling and creaking infrastructure—typical of postcolonial metropolises by situating new cities at the fringes of existing cities.2 In doing so, it is hoped that technologically advanced, infrastructurally efficient, and livable environments will attract the investments and talent necessary to align India with the global knowledge economy.3 In the past 15 years, more than 200 new townships ranging from 40 hectares to many thousands of hectares have been planned and constructed by the private sector.4 More often than not, the delivery of these new townships focuses and relies heavily on housing as a real estate investment. This is not surprising; releasing apartments to the market as quickly as possible ensures the liquidity needed by developers to carry out subsequent phases of their master plans. Hence the challenge faced by these new townships, including Palava City, is the tendency for such developments to become bedroom communities tied to their established metropolises for their urban resources, detracting from the state’s policy to cultivate new economic drivers outside the congested and infrastructure-starved metropolises. Often these townships, constructed rapidly with meager funds, end up as homogeneous real estate driven developments that lack appropriate spatial strategies and typological frameworks to seed the diverse urban offerings so crucial to sustaining a knowledge environment. Furthermore, the efforts to cultivate economic drivers for the new development are predicated, first and foremost, on the desirability of Palava City as a place to live. They must appeal to local norms and desires as much as to the expectations of multinational corporate executives. As such, the question of whether their current and planned housing types are sufficient and diverse is as important as defining sustainable and productive spaces for the city’s future growth. The third challenge that Palava City faces concerns the region’s water security. As a rapidly constructed new township utilizing the sheer repetition of an ecologically indifferent elemental housing block, the current master plan falls short in using hydrologically sensitive planning to create a reciprocal and symbiotic relationship between its architecture and surrounding natural resources. 2.

The Urban Design of Knowledge Environments

The conceptualization and design of knowledge environments is no longer confined to the university. The demands of contemporary work, especially concerning knowledge production—encompassing all economic activities that produce ideas, knowledge, and information—require learning, research, analysis, engagement, and collaboration. Thus, it is not surprising that the language used to describe today’s workspaces, or at least what these workspaces can be, derives from the spatial attributes of university campuses. As workspaces begin to encroach on realms that were traditionally allied with the campus, universities are increasingly forging closer ties with industry, from offering incubator spaces for start-ups within university buildings to the construction of large new research parks next to existing campuses. The Helen Hamlyn Centre of the Royal College of Arts London is an example of such university-based incubators with close links to industry, set within the grounds of the university. Silicon Fen, a cluster of high-tech research businesses in close proximity to Cambridge University, in the United Kingdom, is an example of the latter. Housing more than 1,000 small high-tech companies, these research clusters benefit from association with the university and the knowledge, human capital, and innovative milieu that it provides. This convergence of work and research space has given rise to three broad models of knowledge environments: the inner-city campus, the high-tech campus, and the corporate campus. Inner-City Campus The first model, unlike the high-tech and corporate campuses, evolved from long-established university campuses that owe their continued spatial attractiveness to integration with the city. With its collegiate system, Cambridge University offers a unique learning and research environment nested within thriving social spaces. Made up of closely packed colleges, each with its

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2

Rajesh Bhattacharya and Kalyan Sanyal, Bypassing the Squalor: New Towns, Immaterial Labour and Exclusion on Post-Colonial Urbanization, Review of Urban Affairs, Economic and Political Weekly 46, n. 31 (July 2011): 41.

3

Lan Wang, Ratoola Kundu, and Xiangming Chen, Building for What and Whom? New Town Development as Planned Suburbanisation in China and India, Research in Urban Sociology 10 (2010): 319–45.

4

Ravikant Joshi, Integrated Townships as a Policy Response to Changing Supply and Demand Dynamics of Urban Growth, in India Infrastructure Report 2009 (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2009), 169.


walled college green, or quad, this model brings students, researchers, and faculty from different disciplines to live, work, and socialize under one roof. Faculty buildings are placed away from these colleges, with the city filling in the gaps between colleges and faculty buildings. This compact arrangement, owing also to the medieval fabric that the university originated from and continues to preserve, offers the spatial friction and proximity that promote the lively social spaces of Cambridge University. These “third spaces” are crucial for fostering the creative milieus associated with thriving knowledge environments.5 In Cambridge University, the third spaces between the colleges and faculty buildings are comprised of hundreds of pubs, restaurants, cafes, and urban amenities like dry cleaners, hairdressers, grocers, and cinemas, all within a few kilometers radius of the colleges. These third spaces serve not only as urban resources that ensure convenience and attractiveness for occupants, but also as areas that enable social interactions and the networking opportunities that lead to collaborations within and between disciplines. Another example of an inner city campus that has successfully integrated and continues to propel forward the city that it inhabits is Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Apart from the crucial accumulation of talent and knowledge, Cambridge’s legible and flexible urban grid acts as an ordering device that allows, with relative developmental ease, the expansion and recalibration of businesses and their corresponding third spaces. The concentration of closely spaced faculty buildings along the main avenues of the campus and city, served by subway stations, provides the needed critical mass of students, researchers, faculty, and staff to support the mixed-use offerings that make possible the third spaces for collaboration and interactions. Also, the visible presence of such concentrations of talents, activities, and amenities creates the creative and entrepreneurial “buzz” that suggests the abundance of opportunities in such a place, further reinforcing the area’s attractiveness for investments in time and capital. While the colleges of Cambridge University act as a social and intellectual condenser amid the tranquility of the quads, the Infinite Corridor of MIT is one endless architectural promenade flanked by departmental and disciplinary “shopfronts” that showcase each’s gadgets and achievements. This 251-meter-long hallway links five buildings and serves as a crucial internal connection between the east and west sides of the campus, looping around Killian Court. This hallway is often congested, the walk through it never dull, with multiple disciplines’ objects and processes of knowledge conspicuously exposed and juxtaposed, offering a physical demonstration of the interdisciplinary nature of research and innovation at MIT. The hallway widens at points to form lobbies and foyers filled with meeting spaces and student activities. Several blocks away from this concentration of visible collaborative and innovation possibilities, industries capitalize on the social nature of knowledge production, with coworking space providers like WeWork and Workbar situated adjacent to Google’s and Facebook’s research labs, all located along Main Street and Massachusetts Avenue. High-Tech Campus Technoparks and technopoles are two prevailing models of business districts dedicated to high-tech companies and start-ups that have emerged in the last three decades. Often planned, built, and managed by city or state agencies, these special enterprise zones act as urban regeneration strategies to shift a city’s production from material to immaterial. As argued by Manuel Castells and Peter Hall, technopoles can either integrate themselves with the city or mimic the characteristics of a city; their fabric is dense, networked, varied, and made up of different plot sizes to host a diverse range of tenants and programs.6 In contrast, technoparks are based on the campus-in-a-park model. They are composed of isolated buildings and marooned by a sea of green, creating environments that do not promote the kind of exchanges necessary for collaboration and innovation. Examples of these two high-tech campus models sit side by side in Queenstown, Singapore. One North Singapore was established in 2001 following the model of the technopole, as a counter to the technopark model of Singapore Science Park, built in 1980. Planned, built, and managed by Jurong Town Corporation, the government agency responsible for more than 80 percent of industrial spaces in Singapore, One North was master

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5

The term “third spaces” comes from Edward W. Soja, Thirdspace: Journeys to Los Angeles and Other Real-and-Imagined Places (Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing, 1996). For Soja, third spaces refer to the areas between dwelling and work spaces.

6

Manuel Castells and Peter Hall, Technopoles of the World: The Making of Twenty-First Century Industrial Complexes (London: Routledge, 1994).


planned by Zaha Hadid Architects and features a deformed grid traversed by a sinuous park, linking Buona Vista Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Station in its northwest corner to Portsdown Avenue on its eastern edge. This 200-hectare master plan is designed to support the growth of biomedical science, information and communication technologies, and physical science and engineering. Unlike the monoprogrammatic nature of Singapore Science Park, complimentary programs and amenities such as educational institutions, housing, theaters, eateries, and other commercial spaces are actively inserted in One North Singapore’s different neighborhoods. The master plan’s distinguishing feature is the way in which third spaces animate the ground-floor edges of the different plots. To support active street frontage, buildings are not excessively set back from the street. The grid’s deformations create plots of different sizes, encouraging a diverse mix of tenants. Despite its intent, the built version of One North Singapore falls short of the master plan’s promise. The roads surrounding the plots are excessively wide—four lanes in total and with a divider in the middle. This impedes the creation of streets that invite pedestrians to cross freely, which would have otherwise made the ground plane porous and active. Vehicular drop-offs for every building cut the pavement into disjointed pedestrian paths and discourage movement between buildings. The plots on average feature buildings with a floor-plate size of 3,500 square meters to 10,000 square meters, further reducing connections and establishing an inhuman scale. It is a demonstration that a large knowledge environment consisting of large buildings requires careful consideration of the urban plan’s ground plane if it is to succeed in creating the vibrant spaces for social interactions required for a flourishing knowledge environment. Corporate Campus Owned by a single corporation, the corporate campus is the newest of the three models discussed here. This is a recent model, owing to the great successes of tech firms such as Google, Facebook, and Apple. As their sizes grew with their success, and eager to maintain the spatial attributes affiliated with their early start-up days in Silicon Valley, these corporations built themselves singular self-sufficient megabuildings that retain spaces for chance encounters, unexpected cross-disciplinary collaborations, and flat organizational hierarchies. In other words, the model of the technopole is here recreated within the building itself, which is ironically cut off from its surroundings and the city. Designed by Frank Gehry, Facebook’s headquarters is composed of a single open floor measuring 43,000 square meters. Housing 2,300 employees, the building’s spaces are configured as a continuous open workspace, without any partitions, filled with loosely strewn workstations and furniture. A circulation loop is subtly inscribed onto the floor plate, defined by the placement of furniture, to eliminate dead-end spaces that may lead to nesting. Apple’s new headquarters, designed by Foster + Partners, echoes the same type of spatial attributes and organizational ethos. Designed as a ring with a diameter of 461 meters and a circumference of 1.6 kilometers, served on both sides by corridors, and with daylight strips in the middle of the floor plate, this is the latest and most literal manifestation of an infinite corridor. With each floor plate measuring 65,000 square meters and stacked four-stories high, this fortified and isolated campus occupies 20 percent of its site. The remaining ground is heavily landscaped, compounding the nature of secrecy that surrounds Apple’s operations. These two campuses, antiurban by nature, recreate the innovative milieu within their own boundaries, making them self-sustainable and hence exacerbating their isolation. Facebook’s and Apple’s headquarters manifest, in built form, the economic and social inequalities that these tech giants bring about in extremely successful knowledge environments. 3.

Observations and Strategic Recommendations

Our analysis of the current Phase II master plan and its realized portion in the northern sector focuses not only on the master plan’s ability to seed and accommodate successful knowledge environments, but touches on the necessary urban design and architectural strategies required to make Palava City an attractive place for sustainable living. Our observations and recommendations are as follows:

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Grid Observations: Palava’s grid will not create the diversity and richness of a thriving city. Using a Manhattan-like grid does not guarantee the replication of the city’s vibrancy. Unlike Palava, Manhattan was not built in a decade by a single developer, using a handful of architects. The tendency in Palava is for the developer and architect to use a very limited number of building types and repeat them in large numbers across the entire master plan, favoring efficiency and speed, resulting in a very homogenous environment. The linkages to and approach from the planned Mumbai Metropolitan Corridor (MMC) are not sufficiently addressed, despite the MMC being the major infrastructural corridor along the western edge of the master plan. Recommendations: As Palava will continue to be built by a single developer, and the grid will be used to a large extent for its infrastructural efficiency, the master plan could benefit from the introduction of a contrasting organizational device that triggers more diverse developmental plots to instigate different building types. These organizational devices could be axes that cut diagonally across the grid, interrupting its regularity and introducing special developmental plots. Another option could involve the introduction of a fieldlike organizational device as a contrast to the grid. This field condition with building blocks arranged more freely would counter the repetition of the grid and trigger diverse programs stemming from a looser arrangement of building types that act in unison. The master plan should be developed with the involvement of more architects under a skilled and inclusive master planner. The design of each sector or neighborhood should be geared toward producing places that are spatially, programmatically, and typological distinctive. Avenues should be created to link MMC and Palava. These avenues have the potential to create a legible urban form that serves as a recognizable approach or entrance corridor to Palava. Urban Block Observations: Palava’s block is not an urban block but a rectangular plot. This important distinction is often lost in master plans that utilize a Manhattan-like grid. A successful urban block hugs the edge of a street, defining it and charging it with programs that bring about a diverse and lively street life. In Palava, the buildings are set back from the street, buffered by landscaping, and the ground floors are largely absent of programs that could activate the street. Buildings are arranged as linear blocks facing north–south to reduce heat gain. None face east–west; this leaves consistent gaps along the north– south streets and avenues, which create disrupted and broken blocks—a recipe for dead streets. Palava’s block, comprised of a 55-meter by 150-meter grid, isn’t large enough to accommodate buildings 18 stories high. In comparison, the buildings in Boston’s Back Bay rise 4 stories, sitting on a 75-meter by 165-meter grid. Even in higher density developments like London’s Athletes Village Block N15, in Stratford, London, buildings are capped at 10 stories, sitting on a grid of 75 meters by 100 meters. And in Singapore’s Punggol Housing and Development Board estate, residential structures are 15 stories but are spaced between 37.5 meters to 65.5 meters apart, compared to Palava’s 18-story residential buildings with a spacing of 30.5 meters. Unsurprisingly, Palava as built now has the highest density, a Floor Area Ratio (FAR) of 8.3 (62,278 ppl/sq. km), compared to Boston’s Back Bay’s 2.4 FAR, Punggol’s 2.8 FAR, and Athletes Village Block N15’s 4.5 FAR. As the north–south blocks are repeated many times over the entire master plan, the 30.5-meter-wide spaces separating the blocks are too narrow and monotonous. These residual areas do not act as gardens, parks, or meaningful open spaces that give respite and character to the city. Rather, they appear as slivers of leftover space between buildings when traversing Pavala’s north–south axis. Recommendations: A mixed-use block with ground (and first) floors for commercial, amenity, and work spaces should be introduced in Palava. Such blocks need not cover the entire master plan, but they should be used in clearly defined and positioned sectors to create distinctive neighborhoods. They should also be positioned close or next to the current 18-story buildings to counter the shortcomings outlined above.

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The height of future structures should be reduced, preferably to 8 stories, with some higher buildings serving as punctuators in the master plan. The combination of edge-defining slabs and freestanding space-defining towers will create more diverse open spaces for Palava. These open spaces should be designed to include playground-sized areas, medium-sized gardens, and large parks. And they should string together to form linear green networks, increasing the frontage toward the building blocks. This has the added benefits of raising the number of buildings with access to open space, and having more manageable and easily maintained segments of open space. These green networks can also be paired with blue networks such as waterways, small streams, canals, or bioswales. Street and Parking Observations: The hub-parking strategy adopted in Palava concentrates large amounts of parking in 13-story carparks that disrupt the urban fabric and programmatic continuity of the master plan. Occupying an entire block, these towering carparks create inferior views for the residential buildings that face them, and as they offer no additional programs and are impenetrable, they deaden the streets on all four sides. Narrow strips of single-story retail spaces are primarily located along the master plan’s north–south streets. As the short side of the grid runs east–west, this means that the retail spaces are short, less than 50 meters in length, and are broken up by 27-meter-wide streets running east–west. This shopping arrangement forces residents and shoppers to cross the road at 50-meter intervals, giving rise to a very discontinuous shopping experience. Furthermore, a road divider between the north and south roads creates a barrier that discourages residents from crossing the road to shops on the opposite side. Recommendations: Parking should not be concentrated in one area but rather distributed across the master plan according to demand and population density. A 2-story parking structure with a landscaped roof deck, spread across approximately twothirds of a developmental plot, should be used instead, especially for the residential plots. The edge of the garage should terrace down to meet the ground, thereby eliminating exposed carpark elevation. The landscaped roof of the carpark will be the open space for the residential blocks. Retail should be concentrated along the east–west direction so longer and less interrupted retail spaces can be created. Aligning them east–west has the added benefit of creating shopping arcades or colonnades that are naturally shaded from the sun, making walking more pleasant. Road dividers should be eliminated and, where possible, roads should be no wider than three lanes. Water conservation Observations: The current master plan relies on a centralized system to recycle water and achieve self-sufficiency. This should be commended, especially in the context of India. However, a decentralized system should complement the centralized one. Nalas, or bioswales, do not appear in the master plan, nor do water-conservation strategies that integrate with the architecture and urban design. Recommendations: Nalas, tanks, and ponds should be introduced in the master plan and not only located in larger open spaces. They can be integrated with the architecture and open space of the developmental plot. These devices can offer pleasantly cooled open space where neighborhood social life can unfold. In the wet season these ponds and tanks can store water, and in the dry season the water can be used as a cooling device and to irrigate the landscape. 4. Organizational Model and Building Types of Knowledge Environments Based on the sample knowledge environments discussed above, and capitalizing on the density of Palava, our preferred model for the new campus for Palava is that of the technopole. This campus will comprise a technical university, student and staff housing, incubator spaces and workspaces for related industries, and commercial structures and amenities to support this population. As a technopole it should be well integrated with the city and, at the same time, a city within itself. Working with

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the existing master plan and taking into consideration that the northern-most sectors are built, the new campus should straddle the center portion of the master plan, from its western edge to the park on its eastern edge. Occupying six blocks in the north– south direction, this band has the potential to address the interface between the master plan and the MMC and form a strong connection between the park and MMC as well. We have worked with the assumption of a total built area of 671,800 square meters and an allowable Floor Space Index (FSI) of 1.9. Of the total area, 414,800 square meters will be dedicated to housing, 120,000 square meters to university buildings, 80,000 square meters of research-based workspaces for businesses, 42,000 square meters of housing, and 15,000 square meters of amenities. Learning and research spaces should be contiguous and continuous and preferably be provided on the same floor to avoid nesting and disciplinary silos. Third spaces should be inserted into the campus and accessible to all Palava residents. Seen this way, these third spaces should be placed not only in the center of the campus but, more importantly, at its edges, so that they act as the glue that binds together the campus and the city, dissolving the separation between user groups and communities. As the city and campus is experienced and accessed mostly from the ground plane, these third spaces should be programmed with a rich mix of urban offerings—visible, continuous, and permeable—on the ground floor of the campus. Inevitably all learning, work, and third spaces will not be able to fit onto the ground plan. Hence, the two floors above the ground should also be treated as the continuation of the ground, thus cultivating spaces for encounters that lead to interaction, collaboration, and innovation. Diagonal connections through generous and visible staircases and the use of small atriums will maintain physical and visual linkages between floors. Successful knowledge environments must also be desirable places to live. As such, the current use in Palava of a single housing typology with a limited range of unit layouts fails to create the kind of living environments that will attract the necessary talent to this township. Increasing the diversity of housing typologies is a must, and the use of these housing types should be informed by the way each contributes to a meaningful configuration and influences open space and site planning. These housing types should also be able to accommodate small-scale workspaces and amenities for the residents. Access to public transport will remain a challenge in Palava until the completion of the MMR. However, the next phase of planning and design to improve the current phase of Palava should take into account the integration of MMR and Palava’s mobility networks, informed by the kind of spatiality discussed above. The studio has proposed six organizational models that can be used to structure the new campus in Palava. All of the models take into consideration the recommendations above and, in each case, a dominant building type is utilized to structure on both architectural and urban scales the kind of spaces here discussed. Armatures and Slabs (see The Urban Sieve by Hu and Comert) utilizes slab buildings for their ability to direct movement in the long direction and obstruct and contain spaces in the short. As a whole, this model creates a campus composed as a series of armatures that connects the MMR and the park to the east. Programs are organized in strips, running east–west, and different programs alternate north–south with the use of the slab buildings. This deliberate organization sets a clear programmatic continuity running east–west and a diverse sequence of programs and spaces running north–south. Field and Rooms (see The City of Pixels Makhamreh and Lau) puts forth a campus made up of a constellation of different sized single-story and double-storied rooms—holding classrooms, seminar rooms, workshops, lecture theaters, workspaces, and amenities—placed in close proximity to one another. Pencil towers, located on the eastern and western edges, contain housing for students, faculty, staff, and nonaffiliated residents. This loosely composed yet compact placement of rooms ensures that a varied and rich ground plane is created, facilitated by the numerous spaces and programs that come into contact with one another. The endless corridor of MIT or the continuous loop of Facebook and Apple is here reimagined as a continuous field for learning, research, and social interaction stretching the entire length of the campus.

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Checkerboard with Courtyard Blocks and Towers (see The Legible City by Schaefer and Fuentes), unlike the other five models, uses the campus as a gateway to Palava City, approached from the southwest corner of the site. Low-rise courtyard blocks and high-rise towers are placed in a checkerboard arrangement to absorb the density required for housing and yet maintain a lowrise environment across the campus. The first two stories of the courtyard blocks connect to form continuous loops of knowledge spaces while towers hold housing. The waterfront to the south and southwest is strewn with two to three-story structures containing shared amenities and campus facilities that also serve to activate the waterfront with programs accessible to the public. Clusters with Courtyard Towers (see Nested Open Spaces by Arevalo and Paisana) creates a deliberate shift in the grid of the city, thereby making the campus both a clear center of Palava and part of the city. The rotated grid is punctuated by clusters comprised of four towers aligned at the edges of the grid. These clusters form clear open spaces and polycenters within the campus. Learning and research spaces are looped around the first two to three stories of the courtyard tower blocks, on one side facing and charging the streets with activities and life, and on the other forming generous green open spaces. Squares and Rooms (see Room to Room by Alcombright and Mazumdar) uses a simple solid reversal concept as a clear structuring device. Expressing the square grid as a street (void) at the center of the campus, learning and research spaces and their associative facilities are housed in courtyard blocks that define the street and squares. This gives a clear sense of arrival and centrality to the entire campus, and the sequence of squares and streets ensures a diverse and active ground plane within the campus. When the grid is expressed as slabs (solid), streets are replaced with a sequence of connected outdoor rooms to pass through and dwell within. These single-room-wide slab blocks are thin, porous, and transparent, allowing their spaces to be visible from the outdoor rooms. Where the center of the campus is active, these collective voids are contemplative and more intimate and complementary to the campus center. Slabs and Rooms (see The Ladder: City of Frames by Wijaya and Sheen) forms an armature linking the MMC and eastern park of the campus. These armatures consist of a combination of mid-rise-housing slab buildings with a continuous learning and working space stretching from east to west. The campus is composed as two bands, one dedicated to industry and the other to the university. Linking these bands are shared facilities like conference halls, lecture theaters, workshops, and areas for commercial programs. These shared facilities are arranged in the north–south direction in internals, establishing accessible open spaces along the east–west axis and a rich, sequential unfolding of landscape and common amenities.

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3

Projects

Christopher C. M. Lee

The Palava Studio - An Introduction

45

Carla Wijaya Hyeji Sheen

The Ladder: City of Frames

47

Billy Schaefer Juan Pablo Fuentes

The Legible City

57


Cari Alcombright Naureen Mazumdar

Room to Room: Reframing Palava City

67

Hana Makhamreh Tatum Lau

The City of Pixels

77

Jannet Arevalo Mariana Paisana

Nested Open Spaces

87

Jia Hu Ece Comert

The Urban Sieve

97


Christopher C. M. Lee

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The Palava Studio An Introduction

Palava City, a new 1821-hectare township built from tabula rasa, will house a population of 483,000 by 2025. With the first phase completed and the second phase about to commence, this studio engaged the developers—LODHA—as well as the residents and local expertise to make design contributions toward the future of this new town. Like any developmental city aligned with the global economy, Palava City’s positioning and spatial strategies are tied locally to its proximity to Mumbai, and globally to other cities like Songdo and Masdar. In part, Palava is the manifestation of India’s “bypass” approach to urbanization, a strategy to decongest its postcolonial metropolises by building new towns to support knowledge-based economies at their peripheries. This paradoxical condition—to start anew without the developmental resistance and cumbersome material economy of postcolonial cities, and yet to depend on the urban resources of existing metropolises—mirrors the social and economic stratification that has plagued India’s urbanization since the 1990s. The first challenge that Palava City faces is the tendency for such developments to become tied to their established metropolises for urban resources. Such bedroom communities lack the appropriate spatial strategies and typological frameworks to seed the diverse urban offerings that are crucial to sustain any knowledge environment. The question of whether its current and planned housing types are sufficient is as important as the design of its productive spaces. People must want to live in Palava. The second challenge facing Palava City concerns the region’s water security. The state of Maharashtra and the Indian subcontinent in general suffer from both too little and too much water. This is caused by the increased rate of runoff in urbanized areas and the depletion of water in the deep aquifers, exacerbated by the conventional centralized extraction and distribution infrastructure, which result in a loss of 40 percent of water through pipes. As a rapidly constructed new town utilizing the repetition of an ecologically indifferent elemental housing block, the current master plan fails to harness the potential of using water-sensitive building blocks—hydrotypes—to create a reciprocal and symbiotic relationship between its architecture and surrounding natural resources. A more sustainable approach to water management is to adopt more dispersed systems alongside conventional ones, allowing water to penetrate the soil and recharge aquifers, and to then draw water

from these deep aquifers through bore holes. However, this poses the risk of contamination. The studio adopted a more radical approach that aims to reduce the rate of runoff so that the topsoil is recharged and naturally filtered water is drawn from shallow open wells, thereby conserving water in the deep aquifers. In fact, this approach is centuries old and has created water architectures of exceptional beauty in India, artifacts that fuse the ecological, religious, and cultural responses to the subcontinent’s climatic conditions. Water architectures are precise and intricate structures that not only mediate the ground plane and the water table, but also provide places for rituals, social gatherings, and everyday encounters with water. There are four archetypes: The stepwell is a narrow linear diagonal void cut into the ground and buttressed with vertical loggias that form a series of sequential rooms. The step tank is a compact square or rectangle well with serrated walls as steps. Ghats are long, wide steps leading to water, usually along rivers. Lastly, ornamental pools are water bodies integrated into gardens’ landscape design and are seen often in majestic Mughal gardens. Our specific site of intervention focused on a central strip of Palava City’s Phase II master plan that stretches from a tributary of the Desai Khadi to the central park and consists of housing, retail, and university programs. As a whole, the design task was to conceive an accommodating and pliant urban plan articulated by a typological framework. This included the design of a research environment, anchored by a university and associated incubator space in the Phase II master plan. The challenge was to conceive of an alternative campus model that is suitable for a subtropical climate and its corresponding appropriation of space. We drew lessons from Mumbai’s cultural and social history and its incremental, additive, and accommodative urbanity. The propositions for a typological framework were guided by the need to rethink the elemental blocks of a new town to support a mix of uses— housing, workspaces, incubators, knowledge spaces, and their associated amenities. These functions promote a programmatically diverse ground plane, while affording the required density. Each project also utilized effective water and natural-resource management, integrating the design of block types with Pavala’s hydrological systems to address water scarcity and floods.



Carla Wijaya Hyeji Sheen

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The Ladder: City of Frames

The conventional expansive grid normally adopted in new townships lacks the necessary sequencing and hierarchies to create a successful knowledge environment. The intent of this project is to break the idea of the monotonous grid and create a ladderlike condition that allows movement across the site through a sequence of rooms. This movement offers diverse experiences of each room as moments of exacerbated differences. Palava City’s grid reflects the speculative nature of new townships, building at high density and low cost, which often results in repetitious towers. Furthermore, rather than city blocks, Palava City contains rectangular plots that lack programmatic variance and hierarchies of open spaces. This typological uniformity is indifferent to the diversity of urban life. By turning Palava’s monotonous grid into a “ladder,” the project creates three identifiable moments of the city: amenities, institutions, and industry. These three moments are expressed by three linear bars that accentuate the east–west direction. The city amenities bar links the two adjacent parks with a linear public park system, which houses city amenities that are experienced through a series of rooms. The institutions bar and the industry bar frame the city amenities bar. These two pairs of ladderlike bars house commercial and collaborative spaces. The project’s design strategy involves stacking rather than clustering programs. Stacking programs allows a more diverse mix of uses and thereby promotes more divergent interactions between different levels. The project displays three dominant elements: field, bar, and tower. For the field, a porous ground condition forms the soft edge of the site. This porosity is reflected by an array of riblike structures that filter people through a series of city programs. Across the three moments of the city, there are three types of hydrological interventions. These hydrotypes relate to the soil’s ability to absorb water. Stepwells, ponds, and hard pavements are located on nonabsorbent soil. Nalas, parks, and permeable pavements are located on absorbent soils. On the ground of the city amenities bar, amenities like K–12 schools, libraries, community centers, and health care facilities are arranged linearly as a series of rooms. Nalas appear throughout these rooms to create a variety of “hydronodes” that render each

space according to the different seasons: a walkable courtyard for events and social gatherings during dry seasons, and a pond during monsoon season. Regarding the bar element, two ladderlike mat buildings house institutional amenities on the two north bars of the site, while industry amenities and incubators are located in the two south bars. Each pair of these infrastructures frames the research spaces on the ground floor, thereby creating a meandering circulation. Classrooms, studio spaces, and faculty offices are arranged alternately to each other. This way, students and faculty have more opportunities to cross paths and interact. The translucency of the infrastructure’s facade creates a strong relationship between formal and informal learning spaces, positively contributing to a successful knowledge environment. The final element, residential towers, are located above the mat overlooking and framing the shared and open spaces below. We propose three types of housing; student, faculty, and nonaffiliated private housing. Student towers are 10 stories, single loaded, slimmer in thickness, and consist of a high portion of collaborative spaces. Faculty towers are 5 stories, double loaded, wider in thickness, and accommodate more intimate and private spaces. Faculty and student housing towers are also arranged alternately to each other to remove any faculty-student living hierarchy. This arrangement promotes closer interactions between faculty and students while maintaining privacy within each tower. Nonaffiliated housing is located on the southwest portion of the site. Its connection to the end of the central park system provides a more private environment and takes advantage of the river to its south. The diversity, sequence, and hierarchy of spaces created through the stacking of the three typologies aims to stimulate a more vibrant and innovative learning environment. The construction sequence of the project is phased as strips running from north to south in order for each phase to include the three moments of the city. The project provides a number of recommendations for Palava City Phase II: break the existing generic grid by inserting a central green strip that links the two adjacent parks, introduce a set of hydrotypes that weave through the city rooms, diversify the number of typologies, and adopt a more porous ground condition.


The Ladder: City of Frames

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01

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Site plan with ladder structure and central nala.


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Plan of university library.

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The Ladder: City of Frames

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Plan of student housing.

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Plan for faculty housing.


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Site Model. Residential slab blocks rise above the mat of research spaces.


The Ladder: City of Frames

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The Ladder: City of Frames

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06

View of the porous ground condition with learning spaces above.

07 View of faculty housing and shared space.

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View of the atrium courtyard in the dry season.

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View of the atrium courtyard in the wet season.

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09



Billy Schaefer Juan Pablo Fuentes

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The Legible City

Contemporary urbanization across India has been characterized by the rapid construction of anonymous speculative high-rise tower blocks, often struggling to keep pace with chaotic informal settlements that sprawl across metropolitan peripheries. With the government adopting a backseat attitude toward urban development, the private sector now attempts to address the viability of an attractive yet affordable lifestyle in a complex global city such as Mumbai. The Legible City proposes an alternative development model where a well-defined low-rise university determines the spatial experience and the physical distribution of the programs, while outlining a new type of institution-led development that operates across different scales and connects to Mumbai’s urban fabric. Deploying different building types that emphasize the university’s communal aspirations synthesizes a cohesive spatial experience that derives from a unique built topography and makes the once-anonymous city legible. At the city scale, the project continues the existing grid of Palava City, readjusting the dimensions of the Palava block by merging two adjacent blocks into one along the north–south axis. This produces a block large enough to house the university within three levels, across three blocks. The horizontal deployment of the university component along these larger blocks creates the space for sizable public courtyards that house public libraries, restaurants, and shaded plazas, thus defining a more porous ground plane. This permeability transforms the university into a public amenity to be enjoyed by the entire city. Furthermore, it creates a secondary pedestrian network that breaks down the scale of mobility, producing numerous shortcuts and shaded resting areas throughout the city. Legibility is further accomplished by rethinking the institutionality of a university as a crucial economic and urban driver. This is achieved by arranging the university and business-incubator spaces along a loop of successive three-story courtyards that run diagonally across the city, simultaneously defining communal spaces within the block’s interior while organizing the public life along the street. The loop’s design follows our research regarding productive spaces for collaboration and invention, sprawling horizontally to promote friction or productive encounters among users by limiting its vertical separation. Operating as a triple-story space (with open

mezzanines) above the street, the loop cultivates an institutional identity through the articulation of its architecture as a permeable membrane, allowing for the free occupation of the university courtyards and the continuation of the Palava City grid. The Legible City modulates housing at two different scales. At the smaller scale, the project seeks to continue and strengthen the use of courtyards as the primary spatial driver of domesticity through the introduction of two distinct housing typologies — courtyards and towers — that preserve the courtyard experience horizontally and vertically. At the larger scale, the introduction of the courtyard and tower typologies allows the project to negotiate the density requirements of the site, creating a hierarchical building topography that contrasts with the current proposal’s repetitiveness. A diversity of domestic configurations—ranging from single-student dormitories to four-bedroom apartments—are disguised within the thickened red-concrete envelope’s arched apertures that negotiate three to four floors, minimizing the height demanded by the project’s density requirements. The Legible City revives the regional historical and cultural understandings of water preservation by deploying contemporary water-conservation artifacts that intrinsically strengthen the city’s social dynamics. These replicable artifacts respond to their immediate context (geology, ecology, and urban composition) as soft and hard solutions. The soft strategies involve bioswales and fishponds that line the absorbent edge of the new landscaped waterfront, where water can passively percolate and enrich the underlying aquifer networks. The hard strategies employ stepwells and surface ponds that either collect water above or below ground; these solutions proliferate throughout areas where the basaltic rock (2 meters underground) underlies the subsoil, preventing the filtration of water into the aquifer network. Together, these strategies seek to reestablish a connection to water and, through it, provide an understanding of the city as one that changes and operates differently throughout the year, where water dictates urban activities. For example, daily life retreats indoors during the wet (monsoon) season as fully flooded courtyards become reflection pools; as water recedes, urban life returns to the outdoors through a systematic network of occupiable pathways, parks, and plazas.


The Legible City

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01 Site plan with three different typologies.

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High-rise student housing type.


The Legible City

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Courtyard faculty housing type.


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04 Water-collection infrastructure is at the heart of the courtyards. 05 Classrooms border a landscaped courtyard that contains more private study spaces.

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The Legible City

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06 Site model. The amenity buildings are located along a new waterfront. 07

Site model.


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07


The Legible City

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08 Research courtyard with hydrotypes. 08


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09 The entrance to the project from the multimodal corridor. The project emphasizes the need to be connected to these major works of state-led infrastructure.

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10 Large lecture hall buildings sit alongside water catchment and storage infrastructure.

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Hana Makhamreh Tatum Lau

77

The City of Pixels

The City of Pixels explores an urban housing model that can coexist with the knowledge environment inserted into a densely populated new township. With an intentionally haphazard organization of programs, a field of continuity and interruptions infiltrate the systematized repetition of Palava City. This field generates diversified ground conditions through an assortment of pixels—our rooms. The proposal is comprised of two datums: a plane of campus buildings that forms a field-and-mat hybrid environment, and a layer of thin housing towers. Acknowledging the burolandschaft organization where the clustered arrangement of furniture induces a platform for integrative learning and research, the Palava City campus is composed of a series of rooms that are similarly arranged to create the irreducible module for learning and living. Furniture organization indicates the specified program in each room, the clustering of rooms creates blocks, and the blocks generate a campus that, embodying specific spatial characteristics, encourages collaborative integration. A sequence of classrooms, meeting rooms, lecture halls, research and business centers, incubators, and studios are systematically sprinkled throughout each block while abiding Mumbai’s setback restrictions. Large amenities and labs mark and distinguish the campus’s two main nodes. The programs’ sprawl generates a diversified one–to–four–story-tall field that promotes pedestrian activity in Mumbai’s tropical climate. Additionally, a series of sport courts, open spaces, and hydrotypes infiltrate the ground. The distribution of these green carpets provides each room with flexible overflow space to serve new functions. Various hydrotypes, employed to address the region’s persistent water-management struggle, are appropriated throughout the campus according to soil type. Pediplain shallow soil (PPS) provides a condition ideal for capturing water in the aquifer. Therefore, the use of wells, lifted rooms, and permeable paving enhance the exposed surface area for water retention. Under the non-PPS soil, minimal excavation creates a suitable parking area for the campus and housing residents. In nonmonsoon seasons these hydrotypes transform into community amphitheaters and pedestrian entrances to the underground parking. The landscaped patchwork acts as a secondary programmatic plane that converts the field into a continuous mat typology applicable for a campus.

Residential units are composed of dormitories, faculty housing, and nonaffiliated private housing varying in height and density. Organized by a regulated grid, the residential units appear on the periphery of each block, serving as wayfinding tools for the campus. Dormitories are six-story walk ups or twelve-story low rises. Each alternate dormitory floor contains a large communal area for social activity. The low-rise housing is located near the central node where communal amenities lie. The only high-rise buildings in our project, containing for-sale and faculty housing, are located adjacent to the large green strip surrounding Palava. These high rises feature a slender, compact plan in which a core serves four units. Kitchens and bathrooms are naturally ventilated, and the dwelling unit pivots around the shared living space, thus adopting traditional Southeastern living customs previously neglected by the Palava units. Screened terraces and verandas surround each apartment, concealing the east and west elevations. The screens’ free movement creates a diverse facade that changes throughout the day while providing privacy and protecting the bedrooms from the harsh sun. All housing towers sit above a designated lobby, creating a physical separation between campus and housing. By overlaying housing on the field, a second datum begins to coexist within the campus. In contrast to Palava’s uniform residential distribution, all residential buildings sit atop a lobby. This arrangement creates a unique entry experience that differs from Palava’s disconnected ground level, generating a large shaded area for numerous social events. The campus contains a nine-block shaded pedestrian zone with colonnades intersecting through specified rooms. The green and paved carpets along the main vehicular roads acknowledge and accentuate the priority given to pedestrians within the campus. The ease of accessing the diversified field allows each open space to be utilized in various customs, providing options for collaborative learning spaces and individual contemplating nooks dispersed throughout the site. Overall, this project looks to charge the campus with spaces that, through friction and proximity, encourage a lively and creative urban environment embedded within two datums. The City of Pixels offers multiple types of movement, a meandering route to satisfy one’s curiosity or a distinct succession of pathways and buildings to condition everyday users’ experiences.


The City of Pixels

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01 Site plan showing field condition of the city.


The City of Pixels

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02 Ground plan fragment with layers of landscape surfaces. 02


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02 Plan matrix of types.

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Classroom

Meeting Room 1 Lecture Hall

Incubator

Lab Third

Post Office

Meeting Room 2

Retail Faculty Office Med

Police Unit

Meeting Room 3 Faculty Office Sm

Health Care Unit

Lab Full

Meeting Room 4

Faculty Office Lrg

Research / Business

Workshop

Studio

Auditorium Sm

Community Center


The City of Pixels

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04 Exploded axonometric of a project fragment with research pavilions.

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05 Site model with residential towers and low-rise research pavilions.

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The City of Pixels

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06 View of hydrotypes embedded next to research pavilions.

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View of student common areas.

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08 View from residential tower accross the City of Pixels.

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Jannet Arevalo Mariana Paisana

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Nested Open Spaces

As are many other real estate developments in India, Pavala City is focused on profitability and disregards the importance of public and open space in the creation of a sustainable and equitable city. The organization of Pavala Phase II relies on the repetition of a perimeter block, creating homogeneous and unprogrammed streets and enclosed semipublic spaces. According to Charles Correa, open spaces are essential elements for better living conditions in high-density tropical cities like Mumbai and Palava. He argues that these spaces, drawing on traditional architecture in India, should have a hierarchical system of voids—ranging from enclosed spaces within buildings to rooms that are open to the sky such as courtyards and large urban public spaces such as plazas and squares—and can shelter 75 percent of daily household activities. Therefore, Correa defines open space as a vital resource to accommodate the increasing urban population.1 Considering Correa’s argument and the initial research on how densely populated cities can be innovative environments when they provide education, leisure space, residential units, and jobs, our proposal focuses on the reconfiguration of open space and its capacity to create a thriving, creative, collaborative, and productive environment. Our design encompasses three major strategies: establish a new street layout, create a block with different hierarchies of open space and programmatic diversity, and manipulate the ground plane to generate varied exterior spaces and a better water-management system. First, we propose a new street layout oriented at 45 degrees to the existing grid, breaking the grid’s monotony and allowing the southwest and northeast winds to travel across the site for better ventilation. To counter additional sun exposure created by this rotation, vertical brise soleil oriented north–south shield the buildings from heat gain and direct sunlight. The new street layout incorporates Palava’s existing road and green system. The main street continues with high-density ground-floor retail and a series of small-scale open spaces, where commercial activities and events can occur. Different public amenities—exhibition hall, auditorium, library, schools, town hall, etcetera—activate the main street that runs in the perpendicular direction. Temporary public occupation by street markets, street vendors, or other common events is accommodated in the design of the streets and the related exterior

areas. The green corridors act as continuous green and blue spines that transverse the site, connecting the main central park and the riverfront. These are forested and ecologically diverse spaces that improve the site’s environmental conditions. Next, to counter the monotony of the existing Palava block, we propose a new block configuration of open spaces and buildings with different features and uses. The new block provides three different types of open spaces, designed as rooms open to the sky, that create a system of different programs, where activities from celebrations to meditation can happen. The first type of space is a big central open area defined by the residential towers but also connected to the block’s other buildings and uses. The second type, part of the green and blue spines, is a group of enclosed courtyards bounded by the buildings that house the knowledge program (university, industry research, and incubators); they provide spaces for encounters and for work, where knowledge can be shared and transferred. The third type is civic spaces that are extensions of the street and offer spill-out zones for different public amenities. These are ideal spaces for events and celebrations, for gatherings or commercial activities. Not contained by buildings, this third type of space occupies small-scale interstices, thus creating shaded spaces suitable for the region’s hot, humid climate. Our final step involves the manipulation of the ground to define different open spaces and a continuous system of channels that, following the topography, brings water to the lower levels. The ground becomes a series of bodies that slow, channel, and store water. These hydrotypes assume different characters, depending on the surrounding spaces’ features and soil quality. Where the soil permits infiltration into acquirers, the hydrotypes appear as green depressions; in bedrock areas, the water is captured and stored in step tanks for future irrigation. These areas, designed to accommodate social gatherings, contribute to the general quality of open space. Our design’s primary rationale involves defining and infusing with value various open spaces. A system of interdependent and interconnected open areas provides the necessary space to accommodate the daily activities and special events of a thriving Indian city. 1

Charles Correa, “Space as a Resource,” in Housing and Urbanization (Urban Design Research Institute, 1999), 106.


Nested Open Spaces

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Nested Open Spaces

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01 Site plan. The project grid rotates 45 degrees from Palava’s existing grid. 02 Fragment of ground plan with central landscape void.

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Student housing plans.

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Nested Open Spaces

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Nested Open Spaces

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04 Site model of nine-square grid module with residential tower at its center. 05 View diagonally from courtyard to courtyard.

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Landscape for housing.

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Jia Hu Ece Comert

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The Urban Sieve

The Palava City development seeks to create a world-class city that can create its own self-sufficient digital and knowledge economy apart from the messiness of Mumbai’s material-based economy. To encourage a new type of knowledge-based live and work economy, we propose the concept of an urban sieve. This sieve utilizes a series of exaggerated pilotis on the ground plane through which people and the landscape can filter, thus creating programmatic clarity and continuity in the east–west direction while allowing for diverse landscape experiences. This arrangement flips in the north–south direction to allow one to experience a variety of programs sequentially in a continuous landscape. Our sieve is meant to encourage the metropolitan condition of chance encounters and unpredictable convergences. Our banded scheme is intentionally low rise, dispersing the campus across the city within three strips of ground-floor programs: incubator, social/commercial, and classroom space. These strips are arranged within each block to intentionally create spaces of proximity and friction, conditions necessary for innovation and creativity to occur. The university housing, deliberately placed atop these ground-floor programmatic strips, manifests in three designs: two types of single-loaded student housing, and a duplex terrace house for faculty. The first type of student housing faces a double-height common space. The second type of student housing sits atop the incubator space and is designed as apartment units. Each unit is shared by three or four students and includes spacious bedrooms that open to an adjacent common living space and kitchen. The faculty housing sits atop the commercial strip and functions as a duplex terrace house accessed directly from the ground-floor stairs. The first level of this housing has a kitchen, toilet, and living room while the second level includes three bedrooms and one bathroom. Lastly, the nonaffiliated housing in the urban master plan is placed in higher-rise towers that frame the large-format civic programs and significant hydrotypes. The towers’ bases lift up like a bridge in critical moments to allow for increased access to open civic gathering spaces. Taller buildings frame these spaces and work as navigational devices within the dense urban fabric. These civic spaces

center on a hydrotype, which creates necessary programmatic interruptions along the linear banded scheme. The design of the landscape in the scheme is intended to, as Denis Cosgrove describes, “gather together nature, culture and imagination within a spatial manifold, re-entering the material world as an active agent … .”1 The landscape aims to be a bridge between the man-made and natural world that can structure human activity. The urban sieve scheme occupies a patchwork of diverse landscape types to allow people to experience Indian landscapes and seasons. Along our banded scheme, meaningful openings are created by widening and narrowing hydrotypes. The hydrotypes, derived from the stepwells, ghats, and nalas found within ancient Indian landscapes, are framed by higher housing towers that are lifted on pilotis. Most of the large-format civic programs are also placed within these larger framed openings and contain a hydrotype to hold water during monsoon season and function as a social civic space during the dry season. This reintegration of water as an active part of daily life revalidates the functional, aesthetic, and social possibilities of water architectures within India.

1

Denis Cosgrove, “Landscape and Landschaft,” Bulletin of the GHI 35 (2004): 69.


The Urban Sieve

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01 Site plan showing east–west bands of landscape and building with north-south meanders.

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The Urban Sieve

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02 View of a hydrotype and a break in the bands.

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Longitudinal section of a band.

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permeable paving

eucalyptus grove

stepwell auditorium

fruit trees

palm grove

prairie grasses

permeable paving


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04 View of a hydrotype and a break in the bands.

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Hydrotypes within the urban sieve.

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06 Fragment of the ground plan with civic spaces and hydrotypes.

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The Urban Sieve

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07 Plans of student housing and workspace band.


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Site model showing east–west bands.


The Urban Sieve

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11 View along a band in close proximity to learning and landscape spaces.

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View of hydrotype and public space.

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13 View of research spaces and across layers of landscape. 14 View of student accommodation and workspace.

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Contributors

Christopher C. M. Lee is the principal of Serie Architects. He is Associate Professor in Practice of Urban Design at the Harvard GSD. Lee graduated from the Architectural Association School of Architecture and received his Ph.D. in architecture and urbanism from the Berlage Institute and the Delft University of Technology. He is the author of Common Frameworks: Rethinking the Developmental City in China, Part 1: Xiamen, The Megaplot (2013) and Part 2: Macau, Cross-Border City (2014), Working in Series (2010), coauthor of Typological Formations: Renewable Building Types and the City (2007), and coeditorof a special issue of Architectural Design, Typological Urbanism: Projective Cities (2011). Simon Whittle is an architect and associate at Serie Architects, where he has led urban design and architecture projects in Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. He has been a teaching fellow at the Harvard GSD since 2011. Whittle graduated from the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London.

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Final review at Harvard Graduate School of Design



Colophon

Studio Report 2017.01 Harvard GSD LODHA Fund for India Department of Urban Planning and Design Palava City: Knowledge Environments for a new Township in India This report is based on the option studio Type, City, Ecology: Hydrotypes and Knowledge Environments for a New Township in India, held at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design in the fall of 2017. The first of a two-part exploration of India, the studio was sponsored by the LODHA Fund for India Studios. Studio Instructor: Christopher C. M. Lee Teaching Associate: Simon Whittle Students: Cari Alcombright, Jannet Arevalo, Ece Comert, Juan Pablo Fuentes, Jia Hu, Tatum Lau, Hana Makhamreh, Naureen Mazumdar, Mariana Paisana, Billy Schaefer, Hyeji Sheen, Carla Wijaya Final Review Critics: Aanya Chugh, Diane Davis, Wonne Ickx, Jeannette Kuo, Hanif Kara, Adrian Lahoud, Albert Pope, Charles Redmon Design: Mainstudio, Amsterdam (Edwin van Gelder, Florian Schimanski)



This report is based on the option studio Type, City, Ecology: Hydro-types and Knowledge Environments for a New Township in India held at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design in the fall of 2017. The first of a two-part exploration of India, the studio was sponsored by the LODHA Fund for India Studios.

Christopher C. M. Lee Simon Whittle Cari Alcombright, Jannet Arevalo, Ece Comert, Juan Pablo Fuentes, Jia Hu, Tatum Lau, Hana Makhamreh, Naureen Mazumdar, Mariana Paisana, Billy Schaefer, Hyeji Sheen, Carla Wijaya

Department of Urban Design and Planning


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