Category Archives: Urban Design

SITE VISIT: IQ CITY PROJECT BY ABIN DESIGN STUDIO – REVIEW BY AYAN SEN

Amidst the urban conglomeration of Durgapur sits the IQ City Township, replete with a dedicated institutional and medical precinct. A recent addition to this is a 45000 sqft Nursing College designed by Kolkata-based Abin Design Studio. Ayan Sen, Principal, Ayan Sen Architects, analyses the response and rhythm of this new insert into the existing planning scheme and writes this piece as an insight into the functional and spatial aspects of the design.

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FuturArc Prize 2016

Small Things, Big Impact | Eco-puncture for more liveable, resilient cities

WHAT:  Our cities and neighbourhoods, the complex flows of people and resources that support them, are mostly in place and functioning, successfully or otherwise. But often, the meso-scale between building and infrastructure is neglected — that subtle realm between private development and urban network, that tenuous in-between world between planned and unplanned. This is our commons. It might be civic space, it might be nesting place for birds; it might be a conduit for water. It may well be all of the above. This space functions or dysfunctions informally, with no assistance or attention. And because it has no name, no custodian, it is left to waste or (worse) eliminated in endless cycles of urban renewal.

What if we could claim that space with small acts of eco-puncture? What would that look like, and more importantly, what manner of change would that offer? How might many small things — functioning as discrete elements but acting together — trigger a systemic change, giving us more liveable, more resilient cities? Continue reading FuturArc Prize 2016

The city observed: Notes from an unfolding India: Pallavi Shrivastava

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The City Observed by Pallavi Shrivastava reads like dispatches from a battlefront by a seasoned war correspondent. Each chapter is a stimulating vignette of some memorable place, or recently contrived artifact, through which Pallavi unravels counter intuitive conclusions. Pallavi has two eyes and many voices. Those two eyes see things often unnoticed, bringing into focus a collage of real life issues and human circumstances. She has an uncanny ability to conceive of the metropolis as an everyday person would, yet to catalyze unique understandings and conclusions from her choreographies! She navigates the metropolis building narratives out of keen insights, speaking for those without voices; giving eyes to people who have eyes, but no vision. Pallavi’s most provocative ability is to reveal contradictions between the emerging urban form and the critical needs of the everyday Mumbaikar, who emerges forgotten in the unfolding scenario. Her written landscapes reveal disturbing images of the bad within the good, and of poverty within plenty. From bright images emerge a sense of charm, tinged by nostalgia for the city’s past, yet a warning of pathos in times to come.

Christopher Charles Benninger Continue reading The city observed: Notes from an unfolding India: Pallavi Shrivastava

The Merit List [TML]

The Merit List (TML) is an initiative by Matter. to recognise projects of critical relevance in terms of design and thought in the context of contemporary Indian architecture.

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Housing Innovation Challenge 2015

What: The Housing Innovation Challenge is a Saint-Gobain initiative launched to invite innovators and thinkers across all verticals. The idea is to focus on problem areas that arise in housing and then come up with solutions for the same. If the ideas and proposals hold promise, the organisers will be looking at getting the team at Saint Gobain Research India on board to lead it into the implementation phase. There are two broad categories to be chosen from, namely, Sustainable Housing and Housing in Smart Cities. Continue reading Housing Innovation Challenge 2015

Cities: Between Metaphor & Reality

How the empirical and the scientific can sustain together. – By Narendra Dengle.

Narendra Dengle talks about the inherent contradictions in the much discussed ‘Smart-City’ idea that has captured political imagination by inclining the argument in favour of a city which has a place for all and not just the economy which builds it.

Once a client of mine discussed at length the requirements of an institutional project and stressed the importance of being rational, functional, economic, and energy conscious in approach. We agreed. The next day he called up to say, “Please make it Eco-friendly.” We said, ‘Oh yes’. Then he dropped by to insist that the Continue reading Cities: Between Metaphor & Reality

13TH IAHH International Student Design Competition (ISDC)

What: The 13th IAHH International Student Design Competition (ISDC) shall focus on the theme of development of a locality on the periphery of an existing town or a city with an aim to transform the area into a vibrant humane and sustainable community through innovative planning, design and construction which addresses the key issue of evolving sustainable humane habitats in harmony with its natural setting and socio-cultural environment in the regional context.

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Pune Biennale 2015

What: The Pune Biennale, a joint venture between Pune Municipal Corporation and Bharati Vidyapeeth, is a grassroots movement that aims at promoting and showcasing creative talent from various visual media of expression including visual arts, architecture, and photography. The theme of this edition of Pune Biennale is “Heritage- Yours and Mine”.

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Senior Fellowships at the Charles Correa Foundation

Charles Correa Foundation invites applications for Narotam Sekhsaria Senior Fellowship at the Foundation Studio in Goa.

The Senior Fellowship program is for one year and it is designed for young graduates (Architects and Urban Practitioners) with a minimum of 2 years of experience after graduation (bachelors degree).
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The Forgotten Case of Low-cost Housing: G Shankar Narayan

A decade or more back, I had clients walking into my studio in Hyderabad wanting a ‘Laurie Baker’ house. Given that Baker was considered an architect for the poor, my clients were not in any way economically challenged – in fact they were quite well off. For them a ‘Laurie Baker’ house was one that had exposed rat trap bond walls, filler slabs and brick arches. Forgetting the extra cost and inappropriateness of these in Hyderabad, given the poor quality of local brick and masonry skills, it was the distinctive look that enticed them. The sensual trumped the practical and poor LB (pun intended) was reduced to a brand like Louise Phillipe or Van Huesen! Despite the superficiality of it, there was a visual appeal of the ‘Low-cost’ aesthetic. The material ascetism had a powerful pull and seemed to say to the not so well off, albeit notionally, that ‘we are with you’. But now, even that fig leaf is gone. Houses today of the well-to-do i.e. those that can still afford to buy a plot and build an independent house, are a collage of glass, white walls and floors, atrociously expensive toilets and gypsum false ceilings.

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