Sem 06 / Design, Detail and Localisation

Bimbisar Nagar

Anuj Daga

Following socio spatial investigations and design interventions in Cheeta Camp in 2023, the Localisations studio for semester 6 at SEA  extended into understanding the architecture of transit camps in its second cycle. Here, the site of Bimbisar Nagar located in the western suburb of Goregaon in Mumbai was chosen for study. Originally a large piece of land occupied by one storey baithi chawls given by the Government as transit housing for the people displaced by the city expansion projects, the project began in understanding the ways in which people produce a sense of belonging within the unfamiliar social and physical environment of a transit camp. Students were asked to observe socio-spatial relationships through which a sense of community was produced within the camp. These relationships were mapped out individually, giving rise to a glossary of spatial patterns through which the otherwise standardised neighbourhood is tamed. These spatial patterns collectively generate a publicness of the site, demonstrating strategies of extensions, spillovers, temporal claims, subversions of boundaries and allied practices. Thereby, these spatial patterns were seen as strategies to create “public space” that could be used to tie the life of people within the complex.
A large piece of common ground in the centre of the complex, whose edges had already begun to get claimed by shared infrastructures such as the vachanalaya, corporator’s office, common space, stage, children’s park, temporary hawkers - was used to create a public facility which could offer release to the congested 180 square feet tenements offered to the originally displaced. Given the long duration of their period in transit and subsequent consolidation of their lives within the camp, the project believed that a public amenity would best aid of creation of community life that is otherwise fragmented into the narrow constricts of the ten standardised buildings of the camp laid out with little or no regard to public space. The design experiments looked at how architecture of public space can produce community life by weaving the already studied spatial patterns, while maintaining the integrity of the open space and internal surroundings.

The work from the course can also be found here.