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Activation of a Precinct

Part 2 Project 2002
Gaurav Roychoudhury
Bakr Muhammed
Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute Mumbai India
Kolkata, once a colonial capital, known for its prosperity and architectural magnificence, today, (post independence) find itself at a juncture where its very existence is deeply rooted in the hollowed out remains of this ’zenith’.

The antique trams still ply, regardless of them being the cause of Kolkata’s main traffic problems. The underground metro rail also plies, though almost defeated, in idea. The city’s prime saw the ‘ Bengali Rennaisance’ which saw Kolkata come to the foreground in cultural practices. The bourgeoisie came to the fore sponsoring a flood of exposure and experimentation during this period.

Today the city is faced with numerous contradictions which all root from retrospection, termed as ‘ the dying city ‘ it has formed a cesspool of stagnant and retrospective thoughts.

The project is based on creating space for a ‘process’. The city finds itself surrounded by passive edifices which mark and define , but none which just exist; a constant, not contextual , or relative to time, space and ideology.

A left over colonial space proves to be the perfect site, to create such a parallel. Its address to the maidans (central open core), to the colonial structure , to the monumenatalised cultural precinct, is passive. It’s role in the city is not to deny it’s past but to provide a non associative surface which goes beyond institutional and moves on to utilitarian space. The past, thus become the machinery to generate a process of ‘culture’.

Gaurav Roychoudhury
Bakr Muhammed


The project emphasizes the need for social space which conducts itself away from fixity of any kind. The deconstruction of a society, so as to address a very real and complex system allows Gaurav to work on simple concerns, creating simple yet powerful spaces. The restraint on his part to institutionalize, structures a mature attempt at understanding social democracy.

Any colonial Indian city (or any peripheral city) loses its basis in a post-colonial setup. The address in this project is to allow eclectic influences to be channellised at an individual level, combining to form a part of a plural society.

The project oozes simplicity of approach, in process as well as in the built form. Consistency of spatial exploration, without getting incomprehendable to a mass audience, allows non associative language to evolve. Pure spaces prevail.

The anti thesis to a ‘monument’ being the main concern, he accesses the unbuilt as the main perogative. The fair ground is taken to a level where its informal characteristics are merged with city level conglomerates to produce and amplify a ‘movement’.

All in all, the project, speaks of layers and their validity, in today’s urban society, leaving their importance pronounced and yet literal.
The fluidity of spaces, flowing into each other, in complement to programme allows for an insert, which is makes you believe in its significance.

2002
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