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Stimuli Behind Intuitive Spaces

Part 2 Project 2010
Shruti Dabir
Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute Mumbai India
This project on kumbharwada, a potter coloney in Dharavi, Mumbai; is an attempt to study the architectonics of the place through a different lens. It begin with the study of stimuli that goes behind the formation of this informal space. The study was not carried out to criticise the standard of living, bad sanitation of the place, etc. It was considered a given and an attempt was made to look beyond these given conditions. This stimuli study was based on various parameters like climatology, economy, etc. This helped to reveal the more beautiful layer of details that exists in these intuitive spaces, behind the apparent layer of poor living conditions and bad sanitation. Thus the qualities and the language of the space that gives it its identity and that makes it work were retained with the help of the stimuli study. This would help the residents to relate to the space and maintain their identity.
The site has also been studied on the basis of its history, its location and its relation with the city, on the basis of its existing land use, activities, etc. There is a study on the ownership pattern of the existing spaces. The ownership pattern is based on the type of activities that takes place in each housing type. The study shows us how the typology depends on the job of the person living in the house. Thus the housing typology is distinctly divided into four with respect to the occupation pattern. The study named “bigger picture” explains the functioning of kumbharwada from within. It zooms into the networks of the various actors, the locations of various existing facilities, the activity nodes, the internal zoning according to the occupations, religion, the existing public amenities like electricity water and their networks etc.
While the study was shaping up various observations were made and noted down. They included the observations regarding the retainable qualities of this area. The observations reveal the economy of the people, the work patterns, the scale of the project, the context into which the site sits etc.

Shruti Dabir

While working on the idea of a housing community, often under the guise of commercial viabilities and market forces , convention and trends the idea that celebrates the human individual, through the built space, through architecture, is compromised,and often lost.
It is systematically destroyed by the very nature of the global concepts in design that are sweeping across as irrelevant blanket ideas, oblivious to the need of an experience of living itself.
This project, denounces any predetermined idea of housing in the urban areas, and begins to look its notion wherein its true challenge has been, not to forgo or overlook the density, for a more idealistic of utopian condition, but importantly create a balance of both, by rehousing the entire community, and creating far more humane spaces though its planning and design.
The project also look a closely at the idea of community living, and shared facilities in this income group.
The study began by looking at existing community of potters at a slum in Mumbai , from a documentation of lacking facilities and infrastructure and more significantly from a lens of design that emerges from an intuitive need.
So spatial textures, volumes, light conditions, patches of skies, courtyards, and common open social spaces for gatherings, architectural features, colors, and methods, function and use, were carefully recorded and later redefined, as salient features in the design.
The design then is an amalgamation of social and cultural needs of such communities, hierarchy of open green spaces, common shared facilities, and a development of a tectonic, which is indigenous.
The salient features are:
•Due to community kilns the smoke is directed properly
•Community gatherings are informal
•The roof scape are used in various ways
•To provide hygienic working and living conditions
•Work and living spaces have not been segregated
•Consolidate the service and pot baking area
•Re-boosting the economy by providing markets, that allow access to public


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