The Resource Question

Case : Architecture School at Borivali West

Studio Mentors: Ravindra Punde, Dipti Bhaindarkar, Sabaa Giradkar, Faizan Khatri, Gauri Satam, Malaksingh Gill

Duration : 27th August to 05th October 2018

The focus of Semester 5 Design Studio was to create a awareness on the issue of resources in architecture and related design questions. The project was an extension / addition to an existing architectural school building at Borivali West, Mumbai. The students engaged with resource audit, building skins and  technical validation of design intent during the previous technology module.

The aim was to address concerns of resource consumption within the built form and their spatial implications. The students investigated and took informed decision whether to retain, extend, or redesign the entire built  environment.These decisions needed to be validated.

This studio began with discussing topics and terms such as sustainability, resources and built form. A deeper investigation into the context of these terms was essential to set a base for the study. The studio explored the existing site conditions to understand the concerns, opportunities and possibilities.

Each student was handed over a series of questions to begin their investigations – some of the questions were as follows –

What can we learn from the commentary of critical thinkers through history, about alternative approaches to sustainable developments ?

How can we develop our own methodology which translates/ our philosophical stance about sustainability into relevant techniques of design ?

Which are the precedents of good practice and detailing which negotiate this translation from environmental concern, through technique, into aesthetically provocative space and form ?  

Can built environment be both responsive to systemic flows in the (physical plus biotic) natural environment and generative of a culture which helps sustain this dynamism ?

How do we develop an architectural programme to address these above concerns in the context of the project to be designed ?

Can user patterns and building system be designed to have neighbouring communities as stakeholders and participants ?

With these questions and concerns, each student explored possibilities to attend to their concerns. The students had varying concerns such as inclusion of the community, productive architecture for water, light and electrical energy, social concerns of inclusive programmes, handling land as a resource, investing possibilities for equitable architecture.  Each student chose a different methodology to investigate deeper into the question – some students took help of validation softwares to build and argument and few others built it through intuitive experiences. Few Students worked with passive systems to generate architectural expressions, and some others looked more closely into architectural form.

This process was strengthened by readings, seminars and discussions on the following

  1. Report on Indian Urban and Infrastructure and services by Isher Judge Ahluwalia,
  2. “Post growth economics: A Paradigm Shift in Process” by Samuel Alexander
  3. Towards Circular economy by Ellen Macarthur Foundation

4.    The economics of ecosystem and biodiversity through the TEEB Report.

The systems through the development of ideas manifested into architectural expressions and spaces. The challenge for the students was to culminate their design trajectory into a single narrative with exploratory diagrams and to support it with technical drawings. The studio culminated with a review with Prof. Ravi Hazra, Ms. Nidhi Gupta and Mr. Aalok Deshmukh.


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