Sunday, May 19, 2013



A lot of work. Sleepless nights. Tension. Angst. Hesitance. Uncertainty. 

Satisfaction? Relief? Happiness?


About this semester. About thesis. About architecture.
I feel so blah. Disappointed. Disenchanted.

A Facility for Progressive Self-sufficiency
at Hauz-i-Rani

from my narrative notes for the jury:
I believe that architecture and design are powerful tools that might be employed to bring about positive social and economic change. In these five years of architectural education I have realized that architecture is as much a study of people as of spaces.

For my thesis project, I have chosen to attempt to tackle a socio-economic issue. The design problem I have chosen to tackle is two-fold:

The development of urban villages in the city.

Today’s urban villages might evolve in either of two ways:

  1. Land is scarce in the city and fetches high prices. Rapid gentrification. Villagers sell and move out or become landlords. Abrupt change in livelihoods, lifestyles; loss of social ties for many villagers.
  2. Slow economic growth over many years with only some public investment in infrastructure. Villagers often find it hard to develop on their existing skills or learn new ones to compete in the job market. Because the village remains poor and pays few taxes, civic bodies do not invest in infrastructure. Cycle of stagnancy.

Is there a way to catalyse or hasten this development process without gentrifying the village?

Based on economist Sanjeev Sanyal’s analysis of the evolution of urban villages:

  1. The process of development depends on decades of steady investment by the owners.
  2. Public investment in the “commons” speeds up the development process.

So, what is needed is skill and asset development of the villagers, which would lead to an increase in income in the long run.

(The lack of) inclusive public spaces near mass transit stations in the city.

Available land near metro stations is generally used to accommodate high-rental commercial space. There are very few places where one can just wait, sit comfortably or “hang out.” The functions assigned to such spaces also often leave the immediate residents behind.

Thus, my thesis proposition is:

Is it possible to build a facility which may act as a catalyst towards the economic self-sufficiency and so overall development of urban villages while remaining inclusive to the city?

My thesis was really process based. I went through so many iterations. Every week.
This was, maybe, a bad thing. That I didn't persist.
But it was, maybe, a good thing. That I was searching for something better.

Click on an image to enlarge.


This is what I presented. 


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