Sem 06 | Form and Space Studies

Environmental Thresholds

Shreya Mehta

Semester Six Form and Space Studies module images with the environmentally sensitive sites and attempts to reframe and reinstate the relationship between built form and the environment. It emerges from the argument that human beings' other biotic and abiotic lives as well are not isolated but in constant dialogue with each other. Further it highlights the fact that all natural cycles and ecological processes are also parallely informing and shaping each other. Built forms hence are not singular entities which are devoid of context but they play a role in these processes. They only conduct themselves within the set timeframes. The studio attempts to transcend the spatial imaginations towards temporal/ dynamic and changing environments.

This year the site chosen to intervene was a 5 Acres warkas land at the Veti village in the Murbad region of Dahanu, which has ecologically rich processes. The program was to design an ashram school for around 400 students accommodating primary, secondary, higher secondary and junior college students. While there were some common program requirements expected, each student contextualised the program and added relevant new programs. This step emerged from the very first step of sentively thinking about What is the idea of School and for most it definitely expanded beyond the conventional teaching learning requirements of a school. For example one of the projects talked about the idea of school as an event space where the structure allows multiple practices of villagers to take place, while other where the program encapsulates opportunities for generating economy through introducing farming opportunities on site etc. Possibilities of engaging with the  contoured site  in multiple possible ways using cut fill strategy, idea of stilts, opportunities for retaining walls that became important to develop as an architectural strategy were for the very first explored by us.

To strengthen the process and adopt relevant methods to build the ontological and  architectural intent of the project, lecture sessions from guests who intervene in the context of rural schools on a daily basis and  in different capacities were conducted. Another focused lecture on the major environmental transformations through the timeline of around 100 yrs and in relation to the map making, landscape and geography was introduced to the students.
Pooja Dalal

The people tend to wander around the village all day rather than staying in their houses. This practice gives rise to semi-open and open spaces within the school where one can wander around it without any obstructions. These semi-open spaces can have a quality of playfulness of the light. The pergola, bamboo attics can form playful shadows for the kids as well as for adults to sit and relax. The project aims to create such playful pockets formed by light where one can carry out bamboo workshops or any other group activity. The open courtyards surrounded by rooms provide an opportunity for taking classes outside the walls with an intervention of nature. The undulating terrains help to create connected smaller spaces with a large roof over it giving it connectivity but at the same time can be bounded by walls. The texture of the cob wall and the rammed earth flooring gives people a sense of being within their own environment and the thermal mass of the cob wall helps in keeping the insides cool in summer and warm in winters.

Jay Kanti

The Design approach started with the idea that Architecture is not a static object but a constantly evolving project. The central idea was to work with the material time frames of how the architecture would change when the plantations (Bamboo,Teak,Khair) are fully grown, when they are harvested and when they are in the process of growing and also how the structure and landscape could be transformed/ modified by the people using it and how it would evolve over time. Material used majorly is bamboo which is locally available, involving the community to build the structure and also having bamboo plantations and larger workshops within the site which would help in easy maintenance and evolution of the structure.

Shreya Mehta

The school is a dialogue space; within the vegetation; surrounding humans and nature, with the builtform and the forest around, with the classrooms and the corridors, which are not only limited to these teacher-student interactions but also the other processes in nature. Lightness and porosity was the vision for the project. The strategy that was followed was the idea of inversion between the inside and outside. These spaces of different open experiences become the main structures which are connected by these dialogue spaces like the corridors, pavilions, courtyards and connecting balconies.

Neel Shah

The Project looks at the idea of building - the school which is less built and more open and having an intimate dialogue with nature. It also looks at how landscape and architecture together will evolve in future. The material used in these buildings are wood and bricks which are locally available and the form of the structure is an experiment where the local types of built forms are taken further to create new kinds of spaces and experiences. Modulating the ground to create constant immediate and intimate experiences of built unbuilt has been explored upon.