Space, Architectural Research and the Time of a Virus (2020) 

Forty eight final year students from the undergraduate programme of the School of Environment and Architecture (SEA) embarked on their dissertation research in May 2020. The global proliferation of  COVID-19 during the preceding months had led the Indian state to frame, at multiple scales, severe policing measures to partition space. These measures effected - or at least attempted to effect - a strict  quarantine for the circulation of individuals and objects. Concurrently, the harsh time of the virus also shaped conversations in India’s public sphere that intensified older readings of its society and space. These  readings are situated in pathological metaphors of production, community and proximity. Over the course of the last two years, SEA’s undergraduate dissertation programme has endeavored to open out new avenues for thinking about architectural production by drawing on critical scholarly research across the architecture, art and social science fields that complicates such readings. But what does it mean to complicate pathological readings of society and space in the time of a virus? And what philosophical avenues and actual methodological strategies may be opened out to pursue such critical scholarship in architecture when both the researcher and field interlocutors find themselves in quarantine?

In other words, what transgressions can architectural research make in working against the grain of visible and invisible partitions that society has built in a pandemic, and whose effects might be considered as a new normal beyond its time? These are the larger questions that loom over our heads and in our face as we engage in a discussion on the dissertations of the third cohort of SEA’s undergraduate students. Their scholarship cuts across diverse research areas: urban sensorium and mediatized environments; street and urban publics; beauty and culture in urban neighbourhoods; urban memories and elasticities, ecologies, associations and negotiations of home; claims of gendered bodies and social difference to space; interfaces of nature and society; pandemic spatialities and questions to pathological readings of the city.


 01 /  Urban Sensoriums 

> Sense Scape: Making sense of human senses in a space - Vaishnavi Bhartia

Senses are like streams, flowing from a distant source. To an unknown end.

Senses are typically considered as separate entities that act individually yet all the senses work together in synchronization of each other to provide a cohesive experience of space.  The contribution of each sense is equal in power, yet unique in character. In a space, emotive characters are induced by sensory cues. These can be visual, auditory, olfactory, environmental, or haptic cues of any nature.

Recalling some of my personal experiences such as visiting Golconde in Pondicherry was such that there was an experience in the transition of how the space transformed from a private room to a room that opened up to the corridor and then the corridor opened up to the outside. In the case of Lunuganga in Sri Lanka, when I entered a building designed by Geoffrey Bawa, it evoked a sense of pleasure that goes perfectly with the climate, culture, and landscape of Sri Lanka. A seamless transition between the landscape and the built unbuilt. Both of these experiences of transience and pleasure for me emerged on the reliance of using sight as a tool to experience these spaces.

However, I feel that these spaces get accessed and experienced differently by entities with an absence of a particular sense. The majority of our built environment is designed for people who can hear, walk, look with little regard for how the walking, talking, and hearing-impaired navigate and sense space through their different senses. For the differently-abled, the absence of one of the senses makes other senses sharper and more active, and thus the experience of space itself is a unique sensorium that I wish to interrogate in this thesis. I am exploring the possibilities of how a person without a sense of sight, senses, and experiences space through his other senses. Because of seeing, the sighted has developed a certain way of seeing, where the world is becoming more ocular centric.

To understand different senses, references that were referred to are Phenomenology of perception by Maurie Merleau Ponty, The Eyes of the Skin by Juhani Pallasmaa, and Touching the Rock- An Experience of Blindness” by John Hull helped as the main reference for this thesis. After getting some insights, for digging deeper into it, I had conversations with people with a loss of sense of sight. Through that, I got detailed insights on how space is sensed by them. The sense of smell is universally understood; however, the emotions it evokes and the memories it restores vary on an individual basis. The sense of touch often provokes a different texture which is then associated with an object. The sense of hearing provides the ability to perceive sounds and understand the surrounding. The presence and absence of these senses thus render certain densities in the experience of space. 

Through their experience, I undertook the drawing of the sensory landscape. The neighborhood drawing swatches act as a base drawing for exploring the sense landscape within the space. So the base drawing is then overlapped with the sensorium drawings. The sensorium drawings then represent how a blind explores or navigates the space through his senses such as hear, smell, and touch. The drawing of the sensorium reveals the factors of the tactility of the surfaces, the movement of air, the presence of generators of smell, the idea of materiality, all of that shapes the understanding of the space. So space is not limited to walls or boundaries, space is about  tactility, comfortness increases when we go to a place which smells in a specific way,

The way blind experience space is not as if nothing is around, but for the blind, the sensorium is around the body itself. So for the blind things are there even when the things are not there for a person with eyesight.  Everything becomes a sensory tunnel that images through various senses. Like when you go to a garden, the blind does not experience the garden he experiences the garden through a continuous series of the sensory tunnel by various senses. All of that creates that sensorium around. With eyesight, you get a sense that it is wide open but in that sense, the blind sees much more than a person with eyesight. The sensorium is the tunnel.

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> Sense Landscape of animals in an intense human habitation - Devarsh Sheth

Cities are not only made up of people but also of the urban wildlife and this urban wildlife exists irrespective of our want and need. In every neighbourhood you walk through you find them inhabiting the intense human habitation. The urban form of the city allows for these multiple inhabitations where the neighbourhood acts as a home for these stray animals.

The thesis aims at understanding the idea of spatiality for urban wildlife, specifically dogs in an intense human neighbourhood and their relationships with humans and if this form of conviviality shapes the spatiality of the urban wildlife (dogs). Additionally, it explores the sense landscape of a dog in the streets of the neighbourhood.

Inorder to do this the fieldwork involved careful observations of my neighbourhood, Lallubhai Park, Andheri West, where I tried to understand the human animal behaviour such as animal moments, their places of rest, space to procure food/water and sheltering along with the different types of interactions with humans and other animals. These are mapped through the lens of an animal creating a sense landscape of a dog. The drawing method that I have explored is that of constructing a sensorium through these smells, the overall smell of the neighbourhood, geometry of the smell, flowy nature of smell, identification of pockets of comfort and enjoyment, layer of conviviality  which led to a sensorium landscape of an animal in an intense neighbourhood.

These strange inhabitations allow different kinds of relationships to occur between humans and animals at multiple levels like feeding animals on a daily basis, taking care of the injured ones, just observing them or petting them, running pass through them, getting scared and many other forms of conviviality. By doing this strangers become friends, friends become family, instead of having one agency the stray animals start having multiple agencies that look after them in various ways and the entire neighbourhood starts making spaces for everyone to coexist. Thus the question that my research dwells in is what is the spatiality of this animal and human coexistence in neighbourhoods and what are the forms of conviviality shared beyond compassion, objectification and friendship between them?

The conclusions of the thesis reveals that the current urban form is odourless whereas the spaces of comfort and enjoyment for the dogs is the life of this urban form which activates the sense of smell through which they navigate. Thus, I further ask how would an activation of a sense (smell) affect the spatiality of the urban form of this human neighbourhood?

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> Pet Landscapes: Spatial awkwardities in human-animal interactions - Paulomi Joshi

Over time, as human-animal interactions have emerged, changed, and evolved, the animal has become an ingrained part of the city. From stray and domestic to house-pets, these animals engage with the urban fabric at various levels. Out of these, the pet has become an emotional commodity and companion or an object of pleasure, and hence a common occurrence. This has brought about shared spatialities within the built environment. The animal understands these shared spaces, on one hand, by their perceptions and on the other through the ever-present control exerted by the humans. This research tries to explore the pet-human bonds and a pet’s inhabitation of the shared spaces emerging from these bonds. It aims to understand the spatiality that is constructed for an animal, particularly dogs, in an intensely domestic human space.

The study is conducted parallelly in two parts, readings and secondary research, and field study. The readings explored are about animal psychology, physiology, sensibilities, etc,  to build an analytical framework for the field study. Reading from the works of people like Alexandra Horowitz, Per Jensen, Konrad Lorenz, Jacob Von Uxkull, Franz Kafka, Natsumi Soseki, among others, identification of the parameters governing the animal in domestic spaces is achieved. These parameters bring forth the idea of the ‘Sensorium’, which becomes the basis for the field study. The method followed by the fieldwork is first - identification of the three cases, and then further building a structure to analyze these cases. Based on the parameters identified through the readings and the observations, the drawings work as analytical tools to map the occupation of the space by pet dogs, by plotting the sensescapes and certain parameters that input into them.

The difference in the perception of the dog and the human means that the space affords different opportunities and possibilities to each. Depending on this, and the underlying level of comfort and emotion, space either becomes a ‘place of rest, play, hiding, exploration, escape’ etc, with different characteristics for each. Depending on the need, space is constructed in different forms. Based on these findings, spaces can be rethought of through these parameters. The approach to design can change from visual and human-centric to a more multi-specie friendly, multi-sensory approach.

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 02 /  Mediatized Environments 

> “Switch”ed city: Architecture of mediatised sensory hardware extensions - Kalpita Salvi

The year 2020 has shifted methods of institutional operations. For years, people used to travel miles to attend a meeting, seminar or a lecture. Today, these tasks are performed  just by sitting home in front of a screen. This has shifted older relations and dismantled clear categories of work, living, leisure as well as neat identity categories such as families, friends, colleagues etc. Over the years, devices with the suffix ‘ware’ have become an integral part of our everyday tasks. Keller Easterling discusses the idea of ‘ware’ as a modifier of intelligence, to suggest a transformation of contemporary culture. Today mediatised hardware devices are enhancing or diminishing our senses to connect to different spatial cartographies, creating various sensoriums around an individual. It makes the human body project itself and interact with hardware, data and space in this new medium of the digital sensorium. Reading from the research and theories by Marshall McLuhan and Michel Foucault, this thesis focuses on the spatialities created by the media extension hardwares and how it affects human societies by expanding their sensoriums. Here, the media and medium are taken as important elements of generators of space. The theoretical framework set up in the dissertation is used to map these spatial changes and the new experiences of space.

The field of study is a suburb of Mumbai called Goregaon. The stories are based in five geographies of the city, in a typical Goregaon apartment, a gated community, on a typical street, on a local transport and in a community event. The thesis works with semi fictional narratives written in the form of scripts and a graphic storyboard that allows for a spatio-temporal retelling of the experience.

The thesis identifies five frameworks of reading this space viz; heterotopias of the frame, city as a panopticon, a space calculator, the hallucinating neighbour and the digital smell. These spatio- temporal narrations allow a completely different reading of the geographies of the Goregaon suburban landscapes that speak of the complex mixing of categories and the new identifications of space produced through the mediatiated interfaces and their extended, often fragmented sensoriums. 

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> Devicing Home - Aditya Verma

Present-day homes can not be imagined without the technologies they are embedded with. Adapting to and appropriating these technologies brings about a change in the occupancy and the social interactions within the lived space of the home. This research aims to understand how emerging technology has been incorporated and assimilated within the spatiality of the home. Further, it also aims to consider the revised and evolving semantics of our everyday domestic environment seen through the intervention of new technologies.

Technological devices become intrinsic to the planning and formulation of an apartment. Physical re-morphing and organization of spaces are ordinarily done in accordance with the everyday devices. My aim in this research is to examine the architectural impact of these technological transformations and provide a critical analysis of how these transformations affect the physical space of a house, structuring of spaces, and hence inhabitation. I will look at apartment houses (BHK Model) of Mumbai over the last 90 years and trace their evolution through three rooms; the bedroom, the living room (hall), and the kitchen by analyzing the domesticities, both imagined and emerging within these houses. Apartment becomes an imagination deeply intertwined in the consumption of a very distinct kind of life that happens around technological devices. They are targeted at the lifestyles which happen around appliances and for the residents presumably sharing the same disposition towards daily life as conventionally implied.

However, the traditional meanings and functions associated with the divisions of the apartment no longer reflect the activities that they hold. Houses have started to lend themselves to all different kinds of possibilities which are being enabled and facilitated by new technologies and with them emerging new kinds of practices and social relationships within the domestic space. Through this study, the thesis aims to open up a discussion on how apartment architecture can be readdressed through a renewed understanding of the techno-social evolutions over the last century.

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> Spatiality of publicness and new media - Tanvi Savla

A personal experience of instances like not allowing the access to a free-entry public place due to the appearance of a person, some places like streets which are too claimed and declared as no-hawking zones and sometimes personally being so engrossed in social media while outside, that there has been a complete re-purpose of the use of public spaces, made me think about it.

In our everyday life, “Public” plays an important role. From the road we walk on to parks we visit, everything comes under the idea of public space. We see various public places emerging over the period of time such as malls, parks, shopping centres, food hubs etc. for people to use and occupy in multiple forms. These spaces are usually built with the perspective of becoming a means of leisure. People are allowed to use these without any monetary investments, or sometimes with a very low maintenance fee. But these new public places are very restrictive to the type of users. Only specific forms of people become active users of these spaces.

Thus, the idea of public produces both, the interventions of anti-public and formation of a new public and that is where ‘Architecture’ becomes instrumental. In the current times, the advent of new media in our daily lives has changed our perspectives of looking at and perceiving the physicality of  these varied forms of public spaces. There is a hijack or a loss of experience of these public spaces due to the dematerialization that has occurred on account of excess usage of internet driven media. Thus the thesis intends to understand these changes in experiences and routines with the coming up of new media and its subsequent dematerialization. What happens to life (routines, physical experiences, transactions, community formation, relationships, etc.) when spatiality of public space transforms on account of new media?

Thesis aims to look at following concepts of
  1. Public and public spaces
  2. New Media
  3. Publicness of media

The method that I employ to draw is that of collage / montage of spatial/temporal collapse using associated images with short annotations. Terms such as peripheral vision and involuntary senses become the driving force in the making of the drawing. New media with its benefits brings in a heightened experience of anxiety that makes our senses disoriented as the surroundings are blurred. Thus, a clear understanding may not be developed and hence generating a stimulus in our minds.

To conclude, new media has made the experience of public space simultaneous. We are in a physical space, but we also inhabit a virtual space simultaneously. The simultaneity that we experience dematerializes the experience of a particular space. The closed boundaries of a public space have thus become an infinite canvas to be explored. Neither the public space nor its edges are fixed. There is a constant reproduction of the experiences when one person enjoys a place physically and shares it to others through various internet driven devices. When multiple people can virtually be there at the same time, the need and form of physical space diminishes.

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 03 /  Of Mobility and Publics 

> The Politics of Commons - Ashi Chordia

I enjoy a sense of freedom in open shared places, beyond the confines of the house. These places are resources, shared by a collective, and inhabited through the practices of the everyday. It is the blurry ownerships that produces the experience of openness.

The term “commons'' refers to open resources that are shared among the public. Cultural theorists such as Elinor Ostrom speak of the idea of the commons as a resource, challenging views like those of Hardin’s that through the articulation of the ‘tragedy of the commons’ speaks of the impossibility of sharing resources. However these articulations are in the context of rural contexts. Very few theorists speak of the idea of urban commons and even when they do so, speak through simplistic relationships. My experience of commons on the other hand reveals them as deeply contested spaces. Therefore the question that emerges is: “How do the commons lend themselves  to be appropriated by individuals who come together to practice their everyday?”

This thesis argues that communities are produced by the associations that are constructed through the practice of using and maintaining commons. The articulation of communities constructs the ‘other’ and therefore produces a politics within the communities itself to contest its inhabitation. It is not through resolutions but through this politics that the experience of commons (i.e. space) is produced. A close scrutiny uncovers the nuances of the politics of commons by analysing five different streets of Malad, Mumbai. The spatiality of these streets is realised through the stories of these shared spaces over the last three decades. These stories bring out negotiations between individuals from different backgrounds and collective communities, which came together to live with each other.

Hence, this study builds towards an approach of decreasing restrictions in the outdoor areas by producing imaginations of spaces which affords negotiations, spaces which allow many more multiciplities to happen, finding ways to soften the existing power structures and hierarchies that they set up in accessing the commons, in favour of a more egalitarian space.

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> The spatiality of urban mobilities: Shaping our experience of everyday -  Abhinav Pahade

The city is a phenomenon, produced in movement. City forms can be viewed as sediments of actions and movements, and the consolidation of these allows for the production of varied spatialities. A different construct of the city exists in people's minds, based on the mobilities they perceive the city through - which can be understood as their spatiality of mobility. Leaning on phenomenological ideology, we understand that an individual’s identity always affects how they perceive the world around them - therefore, attention is consciously drawn to the role of the individual and their identity, throughout this study. Using a framework to understand the interdependencies of the city, its spaces and the multiple mobilities it contains, we can establish a fundamental link between the role of perception and an individual’s lived experiences.

This paper explores the question, “How do contemporary mobilities shape our spatiality and experience of the urban everyday?". The study uses data collected from social experiments, interviews and extended interactions conducted with a set sample of Mumbai city dwellers chosen from across spectrums of age, gender and socioeconomic classes - allowing for inferences and comparisons between spatialities based on identity. The research method was designed to help reveal how the same urban space can instigate varied experiences for the same individual, depending upon the rate at which they conduct their mobility.

The research uncovers how varying speeds alter the extent to which our identities play a role in shaping our experiences. The data collected, hints at the impact of speed on our sensory capabilities and registry which arguably results in spatialities across identities, homogenising at higher rates of mobility. The study positively reveals the role of speed in shaping our spatiality.

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> Highway urbanization: The architecture of flux, uncertainty and anticipation - Ankita Teli

How does a highway reshape the spatiality of a village settlement? This question is framed in the backdrop of an emerging urbanization shaped by the expansion of existing or construction of new highways along India’s inter-city corridors, which intend to reduce travel time for the movement of goods and people, and boost tourism. There are three ways in which existing literature in the urban studies and architecture field discusses such transformations: first, through the dispossession that  the land acquisition for such projects lead to and the challenge for collective action; second, the potential of new land based collectives to establish shareholder cities; and third, the possibilities of manifesting vernacular and regional identities in the ongoing architecture through tectonic explorations in architectural design. At stake in my question lies the challenge to open up ways of thinking about transforming spatialities that raise new architectural questions beyond the above discussions.

I explore my research question in Talere village (2,211 population, 2011 Census) located in Kankavli Tehsil of Sindhudurg district along Mumbai-Goa National Highway (NH66), which runs north-south along India’s west coast. Highway expansion here has led to significant socioeconomic and spatial changes, which is also my native place. Given the context of COVID-19 quarantine, I managed to mobilize my kinship networks in the village to locate fifteen households who owned property along the highway and became my field interlocutors. I conducted audio and video interviews with the heads of these households (ten with builtform + five with agricultural land) along the highway to understand the household configurations, livelihoods and spatiality of each property before and after the highway expansion. I drew on Google Earth as well as archival photographs gathered from these households to make architectural drawings. The narrative of the ongoing change is structured as a story of the spatiality before and after highway expansion in a way that combines plans, sections, axonometrics along with rich quantitative and qualitative data that I tapped from the interviews, which has helped me shape three arguments.

First, I argue that the flux of Talere’s urban transition, which has been intensified by the highway expansion, has led to the demand for new programmatic and spatial types of builtform because its highway node is emerging as a night stopover for travelling tourists, and for short and medium term migrants like micro-entrepreneurs selling goods in the weekly market, students, government school teachers and construction workers. This has led to the generation of new programmatic types of builtform in the village such as hotels, shopping centres and rental housing. A single spatial type has emerged in response to these new programmes: single-loaded corridor attached to multiple cells (units) for living or commerce.

Second, the uncertainty of the economic flux has led to each household’s practice of anticipating the future of their property. Household members speculate their futures and for their properties by calculating their individual capacities within the context of the new possibilities opened up by Talere as a highway node, plot location and adjacencies, and ways in which to stake property shares in the joint family household. Although not completely sure of the profits that the anticipated future might bring, households nevertheless invest into building. The emergence of a new single spatial type needs - single-loaded corridor attached to multiple cells - for a diversity of new programmes needs to be understood in the context of such uncertainty and anticipation in the economic flux.

And third, I argue that in the articulation of the new builtform, there has emerged a schism between the exigencies of the fast movement corridor, on the one hand, and the cultural form of existing living practices, on the other hand. This schism manifests in the grafting of the new spatial types into properties that earlier consisted of smaller shop houses, the edges of the new builtform along the highway which neither responds to the fast moving vehicles nor to their use as commons, and even to the construction of new buildings that might drastically reduce or create new opportunities for adjacent properties. This scenario poses new questions for architects who have largely focused on the village as a source of vernacular and regional identities: How can architects design spatialities and buildings that are nimble to adapt to the practices of anticipation in an uncertain economy? What is the architecture of flux and uncertainty?

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 04 /  Many appearances of streets 

> Street as a Carnival - Simran Panchal

In a city/locality which is planned and follows a strong grid, there are activities that are not thought of while planning it. Some of these activities are considered as “inappropriate” by society and there are people who are considered as deviant bodies who are not allowed to enter within a space because they do not fall under the normative idea of beauty and other norms that are created by the society. This leads to the question: what is a neutral space which can allow all kinds of bodies to inhabit it?

The thesis aims to understand the spatiality of neutral spaces that can allow everyone in, without creating any differences, where deviant bodies, people who do not fall under the normative categories of beauty in society are allowed without anyone judging them. A space where one can enact their activities and practice and produce their own space. It also aims to understand the affordance of space that allows everyone to enact these activities and practice and produce their own space.

The thesis argues that a carnival is such a space that allows multiple bodies to simultaneously inhabit space. The philosopher Bakhtin speaks of the carnival as a space that breaks the idea of hierarchies and allows everyone to escape from the reality without any/few restrictions. The image of the Carnivalesque talks about the playful spirit of the carnival in which there is no idea of authority. It focuses on laughter, role reversal, dressing up, and a place where multiple conversations take place simultaneously.  Here normative ideas of the dirty and unclean do not exist.

The carnival allows and opens up a new world for a lot of people who cannot enact and be themselves in the real world. Bhaktin also describes carnivals as ‘second life’ for people.

The thesis looks at a stretch of a street in Charkop, Mumbai as its field. Though this is a part of the city that follows a restrictive gridded development, life spills out of the grid-like a carnival. When seen through the metaphor of the carnival as the most neutral space, the street opens up many possibilities for simultaneous practices and productions of space.  It allows people to create conviviality amongst each other and enact their activities and practices while producing their own space. It thus tries to establish a relationship between the carnival-like nature of the street in Charkop which tends to behave like a neutral space in the city.

To conclude the dissertation tries to look at a carnival-like support infrastructure that can blur the boundaries between the planned nature of the city/locality and the activities that take place in it that are not planned for, which ultimately lends itself to becoming a neutral space in the city.

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> (Inter-)active Spaces - Saloni Vora

“If space does not have boundaries, do things then extend infinitely?”- Tschumi Bernard. 1989, Question of Space. New York: Architectural Association Publications.

Cities are formed by various forms of boundaries. Boundary is the ‘in between space’ which should be understood as a space for growing interactions and blurring the boundaries of inside and outside. In between spaces are spread across the city in fragments. They are perceived as dead zones which are under utilised and imagined as filthy, whereas the rigidness of distinct boundaries serve one dimensional use for division of plots but are often apprehended as clean and clear edges. These edges allow transactions to take place and make the space flexible. The continuous fluctuating realm of growing and shrinking, shapes the relationship between the user and the built environment.

The interactions between the form and the function of the space started vanishing as development took over. On comparing the past geographies of my neighbourhood, Malad, a suburb in Mumbai, there is no interaction between the form and the function with the space which used to be in 1980s. Borrowing and building on works of J. Gibson’s theory of furnished environment and affordance of space, Benjamin N. Vis’ book which talks about creating transparency in humans and social interactions and Lukas Smas explaining transactional spaces as the in-between spaces which creates a blur in the inside and the outside. Thus I further want to expand my thesis on the concepts of transactional capacity and affordance of space through strategies which reveals the subjective sense of space.

The interaction with physical boundaries differs from imaginary boundaries which creates a difference in the type of activities performed. To achieve the hypothesis three different edge conditions would be studied through the method of mapping and infographics. This will help to understand time-geography of the place and put together a study in time and space.  Thus a comparison will be created on comparing the transactional capacity of the space and reveal its affordance of form. Through this I have identified that there are specific conditions of not only cultural production and desire but also stationary activities that people voluntarily or involuntarily utilize in their daily routine, which produces pockets of spaces all across the city.

This work is concerned with understanding the relationship of the form of the boundary and urban everyday life in the cities being formed, reformed and interdependent on each other. Within this broad theme the specific focus is on how humans inhabit in the built environment and the social life it creates. Considering the process, observation and inference it is distinct to conclude in two ways, that a human body experience adaptations and adjustments so frequently to the extent that consciously the user isn't aware of its extent and impact and also how the configuration of the form affects the affordance and the transactional capacity of the edge. As architects it's our role to understand what is the form of architecture which allows porosity?

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> Reading the city: fragmenting the narrative  - Maitreyee Rele

If I were to ask you what are the last five things you noticed in the city, what would your answer be? What is the image of the city that forms in your head?  This thesis is an exploration of how cities are registered.

Cities are drawn, planned and understood through master plans and as a group of homogeneous clusters of spaces. They are given one single narrative, but often that is not how people experience and remember the space. In this dissertation, I study the different relationships that people have with the city and how these relations change the way they register the city. Through previous studies of people like Kevin Lynch, Aldo Rossi, Walter Benjamin, Virginia Woolf and Michel De Certeau I understand that spaces are a product of their physicality, their psycho-spatial aspects and how they are practiced. This makes them heterogeneous bulbous masses filled with textures, images, experience, stories and associations.

In order to understand if there are any patterns in these psycho spatial experiences of cities, I studied 10 sets of people from diverse classes, genders and age groups. I recorded their descriptions of their walks and what they registered of the city in the process. I found that there are four distinct ways in which people tend to register spaces in a city, these are – through lists, as sensoriums, as a series of events and as stories, real and imaginary.  I realised that these multiple readings of a city open up multiple imaginations of the ways in which cities are inhabited by a host of people. These textures are often missed in simplistic cartographic readings of cities. The potential that this research offers is a way to build and intervene thoughtfully in a city that will take into account micro narratives, unique histories and specificities.

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 05 /  On Beauty and Culture 

> Interrogating Beauty: In houses of Amravati - Saloni Soni

I held certain ideas about beauty in mind, which have been developed through my four years of architectural education, however, on ground, it manifests very differently. When I observe my own neighborhood with a certain notion of beauty back in my head, what I see is completely different. Beauty as articulated by the client on the field in the process of realizing a home, is different from that through which architecture is conceived in the classroom. What are these gaps and how do they become different?

This thesis pursues the above question within the spatial practice of surroundings which I see everyday. How do aesthetic sensibilities get mobilized within everyday spatial practice by the aspirations and ambitions of a particular class of people while building their own houses. A close study of these everyday environments allow me to open up the concepts of beauty, aesthetic and space.

The fieldwork includes the interviews of seven varied houses in my neighborhood. It aims to understand different stories of these houses, how it was built, what were the requirements, how certain aesthetic and functional decisions were made? The conclusion tries to note the forces through which people settle for the expression of their own houses. It also looks at the similarities and their idea of beauty. The study helps to accept and empathize different ideas of beauty that are held in the field.  It is an exploratory thesis which expands my own biases which I held in space.

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> Space of Inhabitation & its relationship with the Artistic experience - Manish Shravane

The thesis starts with the question how does spatiality of inhabitation shape artistic thinking? For this, one has to define both inhabitation and artistic thinking.

For defining artistic thinking I refer to several philosophers like John Dewey and Gaston Bachelard. According to these philosophers, whatever we see and do in our day to day life is an aesthetic experience. It is the  ‘experience’ that we sometimes ignore, don't grasp or blur out and move on. For better understanding of ‘experience’, I refer to the physicist Richard Feynman's "Ode to the Flower". He tells the story of his disagreement with an artist who argued about who can better appreciate the beauty of a flower: artists or scientists. To hear Feynman tell it, the artist believed that a deep scientific understanding actually removed some appreciation of the flower as simply a beautiful thing. In other words, knowing the processes that created a thing could detract from appreciation of that thing. Whereas Feyman said, “I can appreciate the beauty of a flower. At the same time, I see much more about the flower than he sees. I could imagine the cells in there, the complicated actions inside, which also have a beauty. I mean it’s not just beauty at this dimension, at one centimeter; there’s also beauty at smaller dimensions, the inner structure, also the processes. The fact that the colors in the flower evolved in order to attract insects to pollinate it is interesting; it means that insects can see the color. It adds a question: does this aesthetic sense also exist in the lower forms? Why is it aesthetic?” These are questions that produce an intensity of life. An artist is one who goes through those experiences and produces art. 

Art need not be a mystery. Art involves thinking. Thinking is never fixed. I think ‘artistic thinking’ means the way of looking at a problem or situation in fresh perspective also as an opportunity. For many artists, imaginative thought may arise during the process of making. In this social,cultural practices and beliefs also shape artistic ways of thinking. On studying philosophers like Baudelaire and Nietsche, I further argue that artistic experience comes through the intensity of living life.

‘Space of Inhabitation’, can also be defined in multiple ways. Inhabitation may be temporary space where we spend our valuable time, example, time spent at the work space, walking on street, sitting in public space ( play ground, movie theater, market, gymkhana,neighbours house etc.) In all of these situations we go through unique experiences. Depending on the nature of the space, we learn something, feel, think and then act accordingly. Therefore the question arises here, does the nature of  inhabitation affect our imaginative thinking?    

In order to understand this I studied four artistic practices and their inhabitations. Through the four cases I was able to extend the argument that artistic experience comes from the intensity of living. In the first case, an artistic experience is shaped through the multiplicity of the idea of home as neighbourhood at one scale and the idea of home as universe on the other, and through the multiplicity of stories that shape this inhabitation. The second case shows an artistic experience is produced through intense overlaps of spaces as the home and the karkhana intertwine to produce a density of experiences. In the third case, artistic experience is realised through intense dynamic atmospheres, where the gymkhana is kind of an extension to artistic practices that shapes the nature of space. The Fourth experience shows how intensity of experience is produced through engagements with labour that produces cities and the materiality of the art experience encompasses dust, and tattoos and powadas. 

The  structure of my drawings that record these artistic experiences also  inhabit this intensity and density.

The corollary for architectural design processes, would then be what kind of inhabitation could generate dense artistic experiences?

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> Culture in my backyard - Harsh Vora

As a student of architecture studying in the northern suburbs of Mumbai city, accessing and engaging with cultural spaces like museums, art galleries or theatres within the city has not only been essential academically, but also of personal interest. For a long time, the geographical distance of these cultural institutions prevented me and my friends from regularly visiting these places since most of these are located away from the northern suburbs, in the far downtown of South Mumbai. From the distant suburbs, these spaces seem to be the primary location of cultural production. Historically, the suburbs of Mumbai grew as the city’s residential backyard - to become a place for recluse for its productive south. However, today, unlike the quiet, aloof and low-energy suburbias (as theorized amply) of the West, suburbs of cities like Mumbai are dense, bustling and thriving neighbourhoods in themselves that have made for themselves spaces for recreation, leisure and rejoicement towards their own needs for the expression and celebration of collective thoughts and identity. Yet, the understanding prevails that suburbs remain culturally bereft neighbourhoods with the city centre being the sole nucleus that generates and houses all cultural activity. The thesis unravels and examines this assumption and redirects its gaze to attend to culture in my “backyard”.

This led me to closely look at Goregaon and Dadar, two neighbourhoods in Mumbai, where I studied a 500 M x 500 M space in each to understand the kinds of cultural infrastructures they house. Some of these spaces seem to be doing a lot more in a lot less space in a suburban neighbourhood that sits as the backyard of the city. These forms of engagements produce distinct typologies of spaces for cultural consumption having unique spatial features. Many versions of these get formed in various infrastructures such as schools/colleges, playgrounds, temples, community(samaj) buildings and act in varied ways working around and taking on institutional logics within themselves.

The studies point to a very different dynamic of cultural infrastructure in the suburban neighbourhoods of Mumbai from the high art infrastructures in South Mumbai. However many of them are still bound to caste, class and gender hierarchies. While they provide clues to more democratic and flexible infrastructures by their sheer access and popularity, one finds that they need a new push to break them from the shackles of societal hierarchies. The thesis asks what new cultural infrastructures could be generated in the suburbs that allow art to become a part of everyday life but to be able to ask fresh questions about life and living.

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 06 /  Of Screens and Projections 

> The Dream House -  Sneha Pawar

A home of our own is something that everyone aspires to have one day, a house of our dreams. We all have an idea of it which we imagine, how it should be, where it should be and we work towards achieving that. How do we construct this idea of a dream house? What is it for us? Where does this idea come from? There is a perception of a dream house that is alluded to ownership, a house with a front yard, a backyard, a house close to the sea, with a garden/balcony. Is then the idea of a dream house so monotonous, where every single person consolidates the same idea of a house.

This study revolves around the development and the architectural practices associated with it, aspirations, and dreams of people in the small town of Malegaon in Maharashtra. Life practices and routines of people here become instrumental while conceptualizing the idea of a home. However, the recent development in the housing sector mimics the larger practice of housing as seen in major metro cities like Mumbai, the apartment type. With the notions, beliefs, and aspirations of people here being so diverse, I think it's unfair to impose them with a certain type of housing where this concept of living is still new, finite, and not necessary considering the opportunities. 

To explore this notion further I decided to look at what people actually dream of, look at their inner selves, what they actually desire, which happens when they sleep. I looked at nine cases of people living across different class groups and did a detailed interview asking them about their dreams and true them as they spoke about them.

The dream space which they spoke about was different from what their aspirations were. The term dream house which people generally talk about seems to be emerging from the aspirations put together through economic consumptions. However, the actual dreams which are about their desires, strokes, anxieties appear to be absurd, vague, and scaleless. What they spoke about is an aspiration, not the dream because our dreams are the work of our subconscious and they are very intuitive. It is an intense act of reconciliation of all our thoughts, actions, and memories which then reflect back on us. Our dream house/space is something we actually dream of, which is constructed through our thoughts, memories, experiences, fears, and desires.

We from the very beginning inculcate this whimsical idea of an ideal or a luxurious house to be into the greens or into the mountains which we consider to be our dream house. Also because the notion of that place is as such that it should provide us peace, calm, and comfort. But in the hustle, we forget about the other dimension of space that could exist, our dreams. This thesis aims to explore that space of dreams which is different and beyond reality and to bring out the spatiality of the dreams in the real world.

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> Cinema Space - Arkdev Bhattacharyya

The technology of cinema, introduced about a century ago has fundamentally resituated humanity’s notion of physical reality. We inevitably exist within two realms today: the physical realm shaped by practices of architecture and building and another one that we visually experience and inhabit through cinema. These realms closely resemble each other even while they are produced quite differently. We experience the cinematic realm and extract out of them meanings that are structured by our experiences in the physical realm. We also keep referring to the cinematic experiences to shape our own perspectives to understand the world around us.

This thesis makes a three-fold analysis: Firstly it discusses the key cinematic aspects responsible for creating the space of a film. Secondly, it focuses on the various meanings and emotions that are generated through the aspects of mise-en-scene and montage - the essential space and time constructing devices through which cinema is produced and eventually consumed by the audiences. Lastly, it looks at how these aspects are used to make a shot or a scene cinematic to have a lasting impact on the viewer.

A set of eight film shots/scenes are chosen that predominantly highlight one aspect each. It is due to these aspects and the generated meanings through their use, that cinema becomes an important filter with which one then perceives the physical reality in which one exists.  
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> Affordances of Screens: Between fear and desire in suburban streets - Anshuli Kadam

How does difference interplay with the affordances of builtform adjoining streets to shape experiences of fear / surveillance and pleasure / escape? My observations of women who experienced fear or discomfort in my suburban neighbourhood from different forms of street gaze shaped this question. At stake in it lies the challenge to open up the associational relationship between public space and social difference - class, age and gender.

Given the COVID-19 quarantine, I engaged with the neighborhood that I live in - Siddharth Nagar, Goregaon (West) - in suburban Mumbai asking little questions vis-a-vis streets: What is the character of the urban form? What is the character of urban society, their routines (movement, pauses, escapes) and their experiences (opinions)? I mapped the urban form while conducting sporadic neighbourhood walks and mobilized my friendship networks to access people of different class, gender and age groups in the neighborhood during and after the pandemic lockdown. I conducted forty eight telephone and online interviews of individuals aged between 12 to 80 who included teenagers (12-15, 16-19 years), young adults (20-25 years), married (25-35) and middle aged adults (35-59 years) and senior citizens with equal numbers across class and gender categories. My study makes the following findings.

Urban Form: In addition to playgrounds and parks, public space along street edges in suburban neighbourhoods. Along with building skins, parked vehicles, compound and parapet walls, pavements, benches and other street furnitures around which activities play out temporally act as screens to give form to public space.

Character of Urban Society: The neighbourhood’s urban society comprises low and middle income households. The former own or rent a one room kitchen or one Bedroom-Hall-Kitchen (BHK) apartment and can afford a bike or a car. The latter own one or more apartments bigger than one BHK (or rent such a house) and can afford more than one car or a bike. These groups can also be distinguished from their spending patterns: for the former, visits to parlours, dining and shopping are once in two-three months; for the latter, they are once a month. Both genders perceive the neighbourhood playground as public space. In addition, women also perceive neighbours’ houses while men perceive paan stalls (tapri), road junctions (nakas), shaded street edges, less illuminated streets as public spaces.

Routines of Urban Society: The routines of movement, pause and escape overlap but also differ across different class, gender and age groups. Middle and low income groups both choose main roads as movement routes for work, groceries and leisure. The latter also use internal roads for leisure. Pauses for both groups include playgrounds, parks and neighbors’ houses. However, the former associates pause with gymnasiums and clubs while the latter associates the same with the pan stalls (tapris) and road junctions (nakas). Escapes for both groups include shaded or less illuminated streets. 

Men and women choose main roads as routes for both work, groceries and leisure. In addition, women also prefer to use internal lanes. The former associate pausing with tapirs, nakas and places with less pedestrians. The latter associate pausing with neighbours’ houses and shops. The former choose escapes outside their neighbourhood while the latter escape from streets with less pedestrian movement and street illumination.

Teenagers, young and married adults choose main roads as movement routes for school, college, work, groceries and leisure. Middle aged individuals choose both main roads and internal lanes while senior citizens choose internal lanes for all movements. Teenagers pause at eateries, compound edges, and for play in parks and playgrounds and escape from shaded and less illuminated streets. Young and married adults associate pausing with playground and park edges, and escape to places away from their neighborhood. Middle aged people associate with walking around parks, pausing by houses, tapris and nakas. Senior citizens associate pausing with parks and neighbors’ houses. Both these groups escape from streets with less pedestrians and  illumination.

Experiences of Urban Society: The experiences of fear / surveillance and pleasure / escape of the builtform adjoining streets are relational to social difference (intersections of class, gender and age) and are mediated by the affordances (screens) of builtform. For instance, one middle income, middle aged woman expressed her opinion of fear as “City Center (shopping center) kade kalokh aslyamule mi nahi yet ratri tithun” and the pleasure of sociability as “Prabodhan (playground) madhe chalayla bara vatta, maitrinnina bhetayla milta” whereas the same was expressed by a low income, middle aged woman as “Sirf andhera hota islia dar hota hai warna logo se kya darna” and the pleasure of sociability as “Prabodhan (playground) me chalne aur naye logo ko dekhne milta hai”.In another instance, one middle income, middle aged man expressed his opinion of fear as “Ratricha rasta neet disat nahi mhanun jaat nahi gallitun (internal street)” and the pleasure of sociability as “Joggers park madhe loka decent vatat, chalayla bara vatta” whereas the same was expressed by a low income, middle aged man as “Hum to yahi naake pe hote hai ya Prabodhan (playground)  jaate hai chalne, joggers park me highfy log lagte he”.

Drawing on these findings, I therefore argue that social difference mediates the associational relationship of individuals to public space along street edges in Mumbai’s suburban housing neighbourhoods. This relationality diverges from architectural propositions of universal ideas of public space, or its memories in the form of paths, nodes, edges and landmarks, or even propositions to make porous builtform edges for safety - all of which are based in a singular idea of public and community. Community is formed by intersections of social difference, and therefore, the architectural imagination of public space along street edges in neighbourhoods needs to respond to it.

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 07 /  Of Community and Spatiality 

> Transforming spatialities of houseforms in a temple town - Janhavi Shinde

What is the spatiality of housing neighbourhoods in a temple town that lends itself to various dimensions of religiosity? This question is situated in the backdrop of widely viewed perceptions of small cities as places of unproductive local economies and inward looking culture, on the one hand, and housing interventions that have resulted into a landscape of efficiently produced, repetitive units for living devoid of cultural specificity, on the other hand. 

My research was conducted in Trimbakeshwar, a small temple town of approximately 1.89 sq. kms. and 12,056 population (2011 Census) located on the foothills of Brahmagiri mountain at the origin of the Godavari river. I studied houses in five neighbourhoods structured around caste hierarchies that also defined occupations: Trimbakeshwar Mandir Precinct with Brahmin priests’ houses, Kushavarta Precinct with trader shop-houses, Mahajanwada Precinct who were earlier money lenders now perform pukas and rituals, Dalit Vasti Precinct with helpers / cleaners houses and Kumbharwada Precinct with potters’ houses. I analysed housing spatiality at multiple scales: city, neighbourhood, street and housing unit. At the first two scales, I analysed how occupations based on religiosity and caste shaped housing geography, urban morphology and building typology. At the street scale, I analysed how economic and social transactions are shaped between different caste groups. And finally, I focused on how practices of religiosity and gender found spatial manifestations. Zooming-in helped me make three arguments.

First, houses in each neighbourhood exhibit different typologies. The Brahmin House in Trimbakeshwar Mandir Precinct is of a courtyard type where religious rituals were historically performed in the open space. The Coach House in the Mahajanwada Precinct is a wada type house of a joint family now subdivided into long, linear houses. The Sonar House in Kushavarta Precinct is a linear shop-house type perpendicular to the street. The Dalit House in Dalit Vasti Precinct has one common space for all functions amongst all closely packed houses. The Kumbhar House in Kumbharwada Precinct is a linear house with open spaces used for kilns and pottery making. A very few number of properties in these neighbourhoods are changing hands or amalgamating into larger plots by larger tourism entrepreneur interests or gentry from a higher economic class. In a majority of cases, houses are being retrofitted, extended or redeveloped depending upon the demands placed by the new economic context which also causes a change in household configurations.

Second, the edge modulation of builtform corrodes the caste boundaries of neighbourhoods and performs the role of shaping economic and social transactions. The shop-house modulation along the streets in Trimbakeshwar Precinct in the form of verandahs, plinths and kattas allow economic and social transactions of people from different castes including activities such as trading, sitting, chatting, sleeping, lingering and even begging. In Mahajan Wada Precinct, the parapet, katta and benches allow people to sit, chat, rest and walk around the lake edge while compound walls and open grounds allow people to smoke, lean on the walls and park vehicles. Plinths, kattas, shop displays, vendor carts, dead walls allow for activities like shopping, observing, loading-unloading, talking, parking of vehicles, sitting and begging in Kushavarta Precinct, which has shop-houses and the large open space with street vendors in the main market. Small kattas, shops with stools, houses with plinths, low roofs allow the people from the neighbourhood to sit, chat, wash clothes and utensils, play, park two-wheelers and also defecate near the wall in the peripheral road of Dalit Vasti. Kumbharwad’s inner roads have workspaces outside the house as open spaces, sheds, plinths, compound walls, selling and storage corners, and allow activities like working, buying, selling, sitting, passing-by. A porous public realm in a temple town thus emerges at the precinct edge. 

Third, each housing typology also exhibits an intersection of entrepreneurship and sociability that has emerged from the cultural specificity of the temple town. The Brahmin House, Coach House and Sonar House - the houses of the upper castes - exhibit a distinct gendered segregation of spaces where spaces used by women and lower castes who entered the house are separated from the spaces where religious rituals as work is performed by men from the house. The spatiality of the Dalit House and Kumbhar House did not exhibit such spatial segregation, and specifically in the Kumbhar house, both men and women participated together in the workspace of the house. The new economy of religious tourism is creating a context for such spatialities to transform.

These findings compel architects to ask: What is the architecture of housing in a temple town whose spatiality responds to the changing cultural specificities of entrepreneurship and sociability in the new tourism economy?

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> Post-industrial neighbourhood: Transforming spatiality & community - Riddhi Mahadik

How did the transformations in the spatiality of Mumbai’s mills in Mumbai impact the structure of communities residing in the mill neighbourhood? This question is framed in the backdrop of the closure of textile mills four decades back and their subsequent redevelopment into malls, new luxury housing etc. At stake in exploring the relationship between spatial transformations and community structures lies the challenge to articulate relevant spatial interventions that minimize their dislocation or allow them to tap into the opportunities of the emerging context.

I explored this question in the Ganesh Galli neighbourhood of Morarjee Mill. To study the changes in the spatial structure of the neighborhood, I studied the change in urban morphology, open space structure and building typology and edge conditions of the neighborhood in the years 2000 and 2020. I further conducted interviews with the people from five buildings in the neighbourhood to understand changes in the economic (occupation, assets, spending patterns, new households etc.), communal (linguistic, religion and caste etc.) and social (interactions) structure in the years 2000 and 2020.

This study focusing on the years 2000 and 2020 comparison points presents the following findings. There has been a change in the urban morphology in the form of the transformation of a low-rise residential neighborhood into a neighborhood which has almost 40 percent of highrise buildings. The percent of ground cover and the open space with the buildings has remained the same over the years but the new built form has changed the scale of open spaces. The earlier building typology consisted of chawls whereas the new buildings are of apartment type. Along the edges of the neighbourhood, new small commercial enterprises have emerged that cater to the new economy. There is a distinct change in the occupational patterns with the closure of the textile mills as household members have found new jobs. As a result, some households have shifted to other neighbourhoods of the city whereas others have stayed put by finding new jobs or starting their own businesses in nearby areas. As new households have come to live in place of older ones and in redeveloped buildings, there is also a change in the economic structure of the neighbourhood and communal structure of the neighbourhood. The earlier chawls were occupied by a linguistic community of Maharashtrians belonging to different castes whereas a we find the moving in of households of the Jain community who have chosen to live in a segregated manner in one of the highrise apartment buildings. The change in builtform has resulted in a change in the social interactions between households as household members used to spend more time outside their house in chawls whereas in the highrise apartment type  social interactions have decreased and largely find manifestation in the open ground or at nodes of pedestrian pathways. My thesis, therefore, argues a change in the spatiality of a work (in this case, Mumbai’s mills) hasan impact on and results into a change in the structure of the neighbourhood community.

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> Architecture in tourism -  Aditya Panchal

What is the spatiality that produces and holds tourism in precincts that have a cultural heritage and a religious importance? This question is situated in the backdrop of tendencies towards either deterioration or preservation of heritage precincts and even their gentrification, all of which affect tourism.

I explore this question in one such precinct of Mumbai, namely the Banganga Tank Precinct, which is the only remaining religious tank in Mumbai. Bangana has always been known to be a religious spot with over a hundred small and big temples, and housing within its boundary. Several activities associated with religious and pilgrimage tourism such as oblations, holy dip etc. occur side by side with residential activities, heritage walks and occasional festivals. The builtform of the precinct is largely managed by various charitable trusts, welfare organisations and temple trusts while the open space and the waterbody are managed by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. Due to its unique topographical conditions, big real-estate developments have been slow to invade the housing along the edge of the tank and much of the old fabric continues to coexist with skyscrapers of the surrounding Malabar Hill. My research included a study of seven nodes and spaces  that cater or are being adapted for tourism. These nodes include various types of buildings such as a residential building with a temple, a dharamshala with a temple, temples with multipurpose spaces that caters to various ceremonies, the streets that attract heritage walkers and the illegal shanties and huts with shops that come up to cater to the tourists visiting the tank. The fieldwork for this study included a series of interviews of the local residents, heritage walk organisers and visual observation in the form of drawing and photographing nodes, temples and buildings.  

My study has uncovered the following findings: (a) the old built fabric comprising of the stepped tank, temples and houses create a spatiality that draws tourists for cultural and religious reasons; (b) Houses and dharamshalas surrounding the tank show entrepreneurial practices of increasing livelihood opportunities by retrofitting and extensions to accommodate an increase in tourists, particularly during festival seasons; (b) Entrepreneurial practices by temple trusts to increase income by modifying spaces like terraces and temple courtyards to accommodate religious ceremonies during the monsoon season; (c) Change in the characteristics and the purpose of certain nodes such as temple gates and deepsthambs (pillars for lighting lamps), which have become selfie points for tourists; (d) Increase in the informal sectors of entrepreneurship that sets up shops and huts; and (e) Touristification, tourism gentrification: An increase in the number of tourists have led to proposals for the beautification of the tank as well as redevelopment of surrounding buildings exclusively for cultural and religious tourism resulting in fears of evacuating residents and leading to gentrification. I therefore ask: How can the spatiality of heritage buildings and precincts be designed to tap into the benefits of tourism without displacing the everyday life of local residents?

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 08 /  On Home: Association, Negotiation and Escape 

> The Politics of Dwelling - Ashwin Gupta

House has been conflated with the idea of home, dwelling and haven, romanticized by the popular media, and institutionalised by the idea of household and family. My experience of the house on the other hand has not validated these ideas. Instead it has articulated the house as a contested place, inhabited through a series of negotiations. These negotiations happen not only in cajoling, jokes, and deception, but also includes disputes, quarrels and silence. Dwelling within any house is thus political, through which one consolidates power..

The thesis argues that the modern imagination of living compartmentalises dwelling into components, contained in a space. It analyses the type of family that the apartment produces, and  therefore tries to nuance this container idea of inhabitation, through the politics of dwelling that the apartment affords.How is power constituted and experienced in a domestic space? How does power and domestic space shape each other?

Through an examination of 8 apartments, occupied by 4 different family types, the thesis maps the intersection of lived geography with the physical cartography of the home. The thesis therefore argues that it is the modern idea of segregation of space that institutionalises domesticity, and produces specific spatial hegemonies. On the other hand, it is the negotiations, i.e. the practice of inhabiting a place, that nuance these hegemonies socially. Given these negotiations, could the apartment be reconceptualised as a perpetually reappropriate-able space?  The thesis thus attempts to unpack home as a field of power and its constant negotiation which in effect, produces its spatial orientation.

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> Government Housing Quarters: Work Cadres & Ecology of Associational Spaces - Asmita Kubade

The residential accommodation provided by The Central Government for its employees is known as General Pool Residential Accommodation (GPRA). Within the “general pool” there are around 10,000 central government quarters across Mumbai. For every public service provided by the government (like the Railways, Airports, Police Force etc.), there are government colonies where the housing quarters are allotted to the employees based on their grade pay. These colonies house employees from various organizations and departments working in the public sector.

The paper attempts to understand the ecology of life form that gets shaped in these secularly conceived housing. The colonies are planned as per the work cadres. In the absence of any religious, regional, ethnic or familial basis,  what form of social life is conceived for such residential quarters and how does it unfold as its inhabitants develop their own patterns of living within these government enclaves? What particular relationships get forged with people and environment in such quarters?
Through an intimate mapping of lived patterns within the colony, I attempt to discover the ways in which communities get formed, routines get set, associations are forged and friendships evolve within the people of the government colony. Government servants continue to make their life meaningful through various tropes with full cognizance of the fact that their possession of their tenements shall change with their cadres, and are merely temporal. Such a condition produces a distinct spatiality of the government quarters.  The colony holds a sense of separation from the outside world. Life seems to be paced slowly and there is softness in the soundscape. This thesis looks closely at ways in which the architecture of the government housing quarters, works itself out and in turn, institutionalises life.

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> Practices of Escape - Herin Vora

The Phoolpada neighborhood in Virar, has observed a drastic condition of urban sprawl over the last two decades. It has evolved into a rather inhuman, inhospitable, and unhealthy living environment. The built fabric shaped by different actors has not only disregarded the environmental patterns within the region, but also not provided enough breathing spaces for its people. The nature of the built form in this neighborhood almost bordering this lake is so densely packed that it disrupts certain ecological flows of water, natural light and air. The built form obstructs the downstream of the water to the lake because of which low lying areas are vulnerable to floods during monsoon. This has seriously compromised livability in the area. To relieve themselves from such congestion people devise ways to recreate or release within distinct pockets and corners of the neighborhood, producing new routines that I understand as “practices of escape”.

Engaging with the neighborhood and interviewing people living here was one of the methods. The thesis argues that there are various ways in which people are escaping from that unhealthy environment and inhabiting the neighborhood which I call it escape pockets. The idea of home is extended in new ways of inhabiting and negotiating within the neighborhood that produces new practices and routines. Hence the home is found in various ways of inhabiting these escape pockets which allows escape practice of work, play, leisure, worship, socialize, pause, exchange, interaction, care, refresh, respite and recreation. Hence energizing them every day to maintain or control their mental-physical health.

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 09 /  Urban Memories 

> Retrofitted Domesticities - Nikunj Dedhia

What pieces of our past remain with us?

In the event of a voluntary shift to a new place of living, one often tries to reshape, repurpose, readjust and recreate to fill the gaps between ‘what was’ and ‘what is’ which translates into an ‘act of remembering’. This act of remembering generates memories through which earlier spaces are remembered and narrated. We keep projecting meanings and significance to everything we encounter. Our recollections are situational meaning they are memories attached to places and events- we tend to remember through various modalities of objects, fragments, people, events and even insignificant things. Thus, built environments inevitably trigger memories that generate different meanings over time and stimulate the past.

In revisiting my own memories of space through my older place of living, I tried to explore the overlaps between what is real, what is imagined, what is created and what is experienced to understand its influence on my interpretation and imagination of space. This thesis aims to map the traces which people carry from their older environments into the new ones. To accommodate  the memories and spatialities of the past in the new space of inhabitation is what I term as ‘Retrofitted’ Domesticities.

In order to situate this research I interviewed people who had shifted from one place of living to another place of living across various typologies. The thick interviews of people were analysed and then summarised into short narrative stories based on their memories around space and their re-adjustment in the new urban environment. In this transition, new moments are generated between the remembered and the aspired which are unique and distinctive for each individual. Addressing these urban memories, I draw that people recreate their past in the present based on: Spatial overlaps, Object overlaps, Overlapping acts & behaviours, No overlaps.
The study pushes us to consider an architecture that could work with memories in a more nuanced and empathetic manner for its new occupants.

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> Encounters between the native and urban - Tanishqa Rodrigues

Ancestral homes and native places are an archive of stories, memories, traditions, rituals, histories and experiences. Each person inhabiting it has her own story which on telling makes it so real because of the emotion and nostalgia attached. Over the years people have become more mobile. They have started moving to urban environments and creating their homes without the basis of land, territory, property or community. There is a subconscious effort to reproduce the practices and rituals from the native in newer homes. The need to do so comes from memories that are invoked because of nostalgia. The planned urban spaces are often not able to house such practices and hence there is a negotiation of space at the places of these encounters, causing inhibition and selfing of places to be appropriated in certain ways.

The concepts I was working with were remembrance, belonging and place making. I started by understanding the difference between space, place, object and image and their role in memory. The different types of memory and the systems in which they are remembered. Referring to the works of Kelly Baker, Peter Geschiere and Arjun Appadurai, I studied the part identity, belonging, emotion and physical environment play in place attachment. And how the practices and experiences of the native help in shaping oneself and space. I referred to Bachelard and Proust to analyze what it meant to ‘belong’ and to ‘be rooted’. How space is produced through memories and imaginations and how they then get translated into urban geographies.

For my field study I had conversations with three people from the same family about their ancestral homes and the native places. I made memory maps of how they remembered, these were then translated into narrative drawings of how I imagined the space. These are drawn across different timelines and comprise various experiences, stories, practices and objects of the native. Each drawing is also accompanied by a short story that talks about the same. For the method of drawing I referred to the works of Nilima Sheikh, Pieter Bruegel and Miniature Paintings.

Memories get triggered by basic senses like touch and taste. Connections between the past and the present can be made through recognition of familiar shapes, smells, textures. Native memories often consist of symbolic objects of the past and their influence helps create associations and build an identity. The space planned in the native is based on how one lives and the practices. In the urban setting the lived maybe different from the planned space.

The focus of this study is to understand how the memory or imagined space of the native home becomes instrumental in the way we think about and perceive space. And how does remembered space encounter the new inhabited space. This thesis becomes important in understanding and rethinking the requirements and form of the planned, urban, domestic households.

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> Spatialities of everyday heritage - Aashika Vijayakar

What role does local history play in the production and imagination of space? This question is framed in the backdrop of tendencies of architectural production which either blatantly disregard the role that architecture plays in the collective memory of the city or tend to freeze and preserve historically produced builtform without any regard for the transformation it needs to undergo in the contemporary context.

I engage with this question in Aram Nagar,  a neighbourhood in suburban Mumbai. Aram Nagar, a military transit camp built in 1935 and known earlier as the Kakori Camp, was converted into a refugee camp in the context of India-Pakistan partition. The settlement of Aram Nagar was occupied by refugees from Sindh and West Punjab along with migrants from within the country in the later years. Today, Aram Nagar is transforming into a place where commercial film studio units are setting shop. My dissertation attempts to map the memories of Aram Nagar’s residents of their house, neighbourhood, work and cultural practices. I engaged in deep conversations with residents to develop a thick description of their memories and close visual observation of the builtform based on their memories during my fieldwork. I represented these thick descriptions as spatial vignettes of residents' memories and the form of life that such spatialities hold.

Drawing the representation of these vignettes, my dissertation argues that the memory of home and neighbourhood emerges as a series of thresholds at multiple scales ranging from the house to the neighbourhood. Thresholds, in the memories of Aram Nagar’s residents allowed for observation, dreaming and idling; social interaction from scale of two individuals, a group of individuals and even the entire community for everyday chit chat, celebrations of festivals; setting up livelihood enterprises; as a forest for play and so on. Thresholds thus defined the mental map of memories of Aram Nagar’s everyday life that drew in memories of ancestral homes, dislocation, childhood, work and cultural practices. Discovering these elements led to understanding the engagement of the individuals taking place within the neighbourhood. I, therefore, argue that while much ink has been spent in architectural discourse on discussing the role of building type, paths, nodes, edges, landmarks and districts in shaping the collective memory of cities, Aram Nagar’s residents’ focus on thresholds perhaps draws attention to a new possibility of engaging with collective memory. A focus on thresholds may  allow for interpretative capacities of everyday heritage as against disregarding history or pickling an unaltered archive of built heritage.

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 10 /  Transience and Home 

> Home in Transience - Sanika Kedar

What is a nomadic architecture? When discussing this topic with my parents and friends, my father replied, ”They just have tents, right?”, and  my mother replied, ”I didn’t know there was any?”

The idea of home for nomadic groups differs from groups who settle in a place, including migrants.  The question that arises is why and when did humans start settling? Why did nomads still keep migrating?

The idea of home for nomads differs from group to group. Some groups are settled in a place for longer periods, which may also include migrants. The other type of group is nomadic tribes, which constantly move from a place to another place seasonally or monthly. There are segments of nomadic tribes that still practice nomadism. Sedentary society often looks at them as homeless because they lack permanent habitation infrastructure. They inhabit the walls, bridges, pavements, and other similar unused/unoccupied spaces of the cities. But in reality, these people have appropriated infrastructure in the cities to build a home for themselves. These migrants are so mobile, that within a few months, they shift to some other place and create a new home at a new place.

This study aims to excavate the spatial associations of a home that are practiced by the Nomads. To explore and learn from the nomadic idea of a house in the contemporary ways of making homes. Stepping aside from the sedentary settlement, this study will try to understand the nomadic practice and notion of home as an alternative way of imagining human life and habitat. The thesis looks at three concepts of a nomadic home: Household, Lifeform and Home

For the field study, I interviewed three nomadic families in Amravati city and studied their annual routine. The drawings are a time-space narrative that is creating geographies of the home in transience. The different aspects of work, play, and life come together. It is a Montage of Movements and Partial Settlements which illustrates nomadic journeys, energies, and temporary settlements.

To conclude, the thesis aims at understanding the nomadic practice and notion of home as a way of imagining human life and habitat. It collapses geographies, time, and dynamics of the space. Nomads have no idea of a permanent home. Sometimes the materiality of the space makes it more temporal. The home for nomads is not just the enclosures where they sleep at night or keeps their belongings. It is the landscape that includes the journey from one place to another, the temporary settlements, objects and belongings they carry, the land on which they build their houses, transactions, and networks to the neighborhood, etc.

Because of these reasons, there is a shift in the idea of a home. There is no idea of permanency. The spatiality that emerges from there is beyond our idea of home, inside-outside, property, tenureship, etc.

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> Making Home: Of Runaways and Escape Stories - Maitreyee Moghe

How do people who have run away from one context to another make their new home? What is its spatiality? These questions emerged in my mind when I happened to talk to a few street vendors in my neighbourhood who stayed put on their carts and refused to go home during the pandemic lockdown. The escape of the figure of a ‘Runaway,’ runaway life and its spatiality is widely sketched through the conceptual extremes of bodies engaged in shady, immoral activities and associated spatialities or toiling labour bodies and their associated spatialities sincerely as labour. The escape of runaway life and its spatiality requires a conceptualization beyond such extremes.

I draw on Gregory David Roberts novel Shantaram to explore the psyche, escape and spatiality of runaway life through three cases: a cyber scam victim, a virtual game addict and an illegitimate child. Given the context of COVID-19 quarantine, the central characters of these cases are my friends who had chosen to run away from their earlier home. I conducted several informal, unstructured conversations with them through telephone and video calls to understand the psyche, escape and spatiality of their life. I analysed these conversations and translated them into the form of a fictional graphic novel. Drawing on the visual and textual stories in my graphic novel help me advance the following learnings in my dissertation. Runaways mobilize sympathetic kinship and friendship networks to escape from the context that they consider as suffocating. These networks help the runaway to secure food, livelihoods and housing in the new context during the initial days.  The neighbourhoods that runaways come to live in after their escape become the sources of new social networks that they tap into to better their life chances in terms of daily wage work to earn extra money, arranging food, water and sanitation facilities, enhancing their home, and even trying to teach their skills to others and earn more money. Such tapping into networks occurs in informal conversations in transitional spaces of the neighbourhood where breaks between work are taken together, stories about life and aspirations are exchanged, investments are forged together in a group etc. The transitional spaces are found in staircases and front-yards of buildings, auto rickshaws parked next to compound or parapet walls along road edges, informal chai shops and road junctions etc. Runaway life thus presents a new spatiality where the making of home emerges in an ecology of transitional spaces in the neighbourhood where associations are forged Their home is thus not only the unit in which they reside but all of those spaces that afford the possibilities of social networks that allow them to better their life chances. 

This dissertation therefore provides pointers for the need to mobilize design questions on housing in the realm of porosity in the physical spaces of neighbourhoods, transitional spaces, and an ecology of associational spaces that make home.

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> Home away from home - Swagat Shekokar

How do non-local students make a home in the cities that they study?

There has been an increased migration of students in the recent past within the country, especially to cities. It is crucial to understand how students make home in the city as they experience a transition from their parental home to a new place. The idea of the home that they carried with them changes drastically as they discover how self-dependent living works. They seek shelter in rented term-time accommodations like hostels, paying guests or shared apartments. For the first time in their lives, they have to visit grocery stores for themselves, wash their own clothes and live alone. This adds a different dimension to a student’s life and builds a character. Besides attending classes, students spend the maximum amount of their time living in their rooms. For students who leave their native home for the first time, living away from a family is an unforeseen challenge they will find very hard to shrug off. Thus, the choice of room becomes accurate, as that becomes their new home for the coming three or four years.

Different accommodation offers different perks and cons. Students choose which type of accommodation is most suitable for them. It could be a hostel which is popular because of the sheer number of students that live together in one building. After leaving home, some students like to be a part of a more communal environment where they can feel relaxed. In a hostel, a student is rarely alone. His/her friends or roommates become versions of an extended family away from home. Every option has its own benefits and perks, and the choice of rented flats comes with a list of its own. While hostels do offer a lot in terms of a vibrant community, they lack one key aspect. Privacy. Staying in a hostel means giving up personal privacy to a certain level. Most things in hostels are communal, from toilets to mess and washing areas. This situation becomes problematic for many students. Rented flats solve this problem. Students have complete privacy. They can live as they want to, without being confined by the rules and timings of hostels. A PG on the other hand is in many ways a combination of a hostel and a flat.

Regardless of the type of accommodation a student chooses, there is a struggle to find homeliness in these term-time accommodations. It can’t be simply viewed as different people living together, student accommodation can be a more complex living environment than other shared living spaces in that their arrangement comprises the performance of multiple and heterogeneous actors in a single space. Understanding the dynamics of student housing means recognizing the multiple iterations of ‘home’ that exist within them. In this research, I am trying to understand how these multiple ideas of home coexist, and thus various acts by the inhabitants of making home can be seen.

Five pairs of roommates were interviewed to understand the behavioral patterns that affect how these young adults shape their space and to put together their various acts of making a home. Research papers by Mark Holton and Mark Riley (Lecturers in human geography teaching in University of Plymouth) were used as a reference to further understand student behaviours within a shared living environment. By interviewing students I was able to understand the complex nature of shared student living environments and reimagine it. It is necessary to understand how different behavioral patterns coexist and shape a space. The objective of this research is to put together these various acts of making a home and explore the possibilities of home making by the students living in shared term-time accommodations.

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 11 /   Bodies in Space 

> Towards Cellularization - Bindiya Waghela

Having stayed in a joint family, I experienced both the opportunities and obstacles of staying in a shared environment between the realm of discipline and rules to many merrymaking and joyful events.The dilemma of nostalgia and resistance often creates tricky and uncomfortable positions in the society which leads to first societies breaking into large communities, to joint families, to nuclear families and to single-hood within families.This process of Cellularization (act of division).

Which is reflected in the society through the builtform (physical environment) which houses these families with an  imagination of a homogeneous  community and does not reflect and takes care of the need of individuality of the person, which leads to various uncomfort in the house/ shared space. Giving rise to invisible, visible boundaries of aesthetics of mind and space, affecting the personal values, relationships, living environment, shared spaces, communities and further so.

So this thesis aims at making a fresh start and looking at home as an embryonic unit and reflecting on the ideas of a home as suggested by French philosopher Gaston Bachelard and various other writers, scholars, activists from a variety of fields in the book “The People,Place and Space Reader” to make sense of the makings and meanings of the world we inhabit.How people create and inhabit these micro worlds they create for themselves through claims, arrangements, daily habits, body postures, language, words, ideas etc. The idea to allow oneself to be at home within a home. The contention of the thesis is that each person within a household carves out one’s personal space in order to create a space of physical and mental comfort. The tracing of such a space is what I call “microcosm” - one which is real, and virtual at the same time.

And to conclude with how architecture allows the person to project one’s individuality in the physical fabric of a home and accommodates the differences of people without compromising on the intimacy or togetherness spatially.

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> Choreography between body and space - Aparajita Bhowmick

Dance and Architecture have always fascinated me, two different and distinct forms of art. However in the process of becoming an architect and getting a deeper understanding and knowledge of, I realised that these weren't as distinct after all. Dance is usually defined as human behaviour composed from the dancer’s perspective of; purpose, intentional rhythms and culturally patterned sequences of body movements other than ordinary activities. This human behaviour or the movements creates a sense of space in a story or creates an aura that fills the act with sentiments and emotions that can be easily communicated to the audience. Dance has been performed in various forms and in various performance spaces each having its combinations and components that creates the aura. Dance does not have its essence by performing on stage or in a restricted space or in front of the camera but is an experience of a space that is given to the audience, whether it's performed within the four walls  or in open space (for example, in places of worship and sacred spaces or garden or beach).

Dance is an art form that completely engages the body. It is the most creative medium for understanding the human body and its interactions with the spaces around. This thesis is a theoretical and physical research of dance to study the engagement and the chemistry between the body and space.

In this research, through a series of dances, I have tried to demonstrate and analyze the choreography of the body in a space through factors such as Movement, Geometry, Rhythm and Expression, that can lead to a better understanding of the relationship between the body and the Auratic space. Drawing on texts on Body and Space such as Sandra Reeve’s ‘Nine ways of Seeing’ the thesis traces the evolution of the classical dances in terms of the ‘body as an object’ to ‘body as an environment’. Also this thesis tries  to  explore and develop the knowledge of dance and its phenomenal language, so that the performance of the body can be explored, for the purpose of creating a sense of space. The dancer defines the space through invisible lines between the bodies or the body parts, these lines in space are tossed, bent and modified. The movement from a point A to point B in a plane or a volume generates geometric space. These get interconnected by folding and unfolding the movement and positions infinite number of times. The phenomenological relationships of body and space can be used to analyse how structures from the discipline of dance shape spatial thinking.
Further, by studying the shifting genealogy of infrastructural spaces for dance performances, the research asks what a contemporary form of cultural infrastructure could be.

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> Shared Personals: Manifestation of the personal into the shared - Raksha Srivastava

The sense of ‘personal’ is often associated with privacy that is imagined as being alone or having an individualized space, whereas that of ‘shared’ is understood as its binary opposite. In several contexts however, the shared and the personal do not exist mutually independent of each other, rather are interwoven in complex ways. These instances can be studied at various public spaces for eg., a park, market, a shared apartment or any other social space. Here the common space is open for all but exists as a condition of numerous overlapping physical or invisible individual claims. The frequencies of claims and the need for having one’s own space plays out actively even in large public spaces. People demarcate their zones in a shared space which blur strict categories of ‘self’ and the ‘common’.

This thesis aims at understanding the mechanics of devising personal spaces within a shared domain. In order to study this phenomenon, three market spaces within the city of Kanpur are chosen. Within these markets, narratives of particular individuals are opened out. These narratives are then elaborated on the basis of four key aspects of physical and non-physical claims, which include the occupied space, the claimed space, the movement patterns and the sound. After this, a comprehensive drawing is laid out that stitches the micro narratives into the macro narrative and talks about the aspects with respect to each other. This drawing seeks to create order, in the functioning of multiple bodies simultaneously in a shared space. After analysing each site, comparisons are made on the repeating and diversifying conditions found on these sites, which would be used to pull out conclusions and give reasons of why a particular thing functions the way it does.

The conclusion chapter thus lays out specific details of the above mentioned aspects and establishes the ‘loop’ in the multiplicity of personals. This thesis exhibits how the elastic nature of the body or the energetic self pushes the environment to make an affordance. The invisible rooms (or boundaries) have more of a dynamic and shape shifting nature rather being static.

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 12 /   Selfing in the City 

> Intimacy and Home - Priyanshi Bagadia

As someone who has grown up in a chawl, I have noticed that most of the activities are carried out in the corridor, which becomes much more than a circulation space. But one thing I have always realised, since my childhood, is that there is a lack of privacy in these spaces. While studying I would often sit near the window. The neighbors used to peek inside my house through the window while loitering around in the corridor, which was not at all comfortable , as I felt their constant gaze. I personally did not have my own space, where I could work and sit freely and comfortably because of the crunched space in a chawl. So, even though there is a community that gets supported through the chawl there is always gendering that is experienced through gaze.

Following up on that experience, the thesis aims at understanding the spaces in a chawl and how the spaces can be made comfortable by decreasing gaze and creating  personal/intimate spaces. Through the field study of three different chawls in the neighborhood and through observations and  interviews with people especially women, I mapped how people occupy every space of their house and how private and public spaces are formed in a chawl because of gendering. The interviews further helped me in building my argument that though there is a community which is formed in a chawl there is lack of privacy, through the constant gaze of the people around. The thesis further argues that gaze is connected to power and surveillance. The person who gazes is empowered over the person who is the object of the gaze.

Because of this people, particularly women, living in a chawl behave according to the space they are in, constantly trying to avert this gaze. It also discusses how private and public spaces are formed because of gendering, and how people occupy and shape their own private/intimate or secret spaces.

To conclude, this thesis  is a study to understand the spaces of the chawl and how people negotiate, adjust in tight and crunched spaces because of the gaze and gendering that is observed. The study finds that it is in the leftover spaces in the chawl - the vestibule space used as personal space, the corners, the garretts, nestling spaces, corridors, courtyards and the in-between spaces, where intimate worlds are created, as they are occupied and claimed in unique ways. These inhabitations give us clues for how to think of decreasing gaze and creating intimacies in small architectural spaces.

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> Selfing the city: Practices of single women in claiming spaces - Gargi Chauhan

In recent years, there has been an increase in migration of women especially in the cities. Women migration's most distinctive characteristic is traced to various social, economic, cultural, and environmental factors. One of the noticeable reasons for these migrations is the wed locks. A lot of women are taught that her home is not her own, it either belongs to her parents, her brother or her husband. This encapsulates a basic feeling of homelessness in them. For most women their identity and future is already assumed by the society. Most of these ideologies that are imposed  are generated due to social norms set by their relatives, neighbors, and ancestors. Nowadays, however, women not only choose to lead their life on their own terms and circumstances, they are not really afraid to live alone and take obligations to reinvent themselves to run away from their already assumed identities. There is an ever-changing effort to reconcile the differences of identity reflected in the standards of gender roles. Migration can empower women, enable them to access employment and education, improve gender equality, and the ability to make independent decisions to achieve the desired outcomes. Conversely, migration can also cause transgression, including harassment and exploitation.

Understanding the intricacy of gender and migration will contribute to effective services and strategies that improve opportunities and minimize barriers for women migrants. The initiative highly emphasizes the significance for women arriving from outside, as it is important for them to find a space in the city to make it habitable, both physically and metaphorically, through means of contest and claims. The thought of living alone may sound a little overwhelming, especially from a woman's perspective and that is what led to my question of “How do single women self the city?”  The aim is to explore ways of selfing amongst women to experience liberty, equality and justice.

Through the fieldwork, I collected five stories of women living independently in a city to expose fragments of their lives in a way for us to understand their contest, moves and aspirations towards making a home for themselves.  In their temporary homes they adapted and personalized the spaces as per the surroundings but they never felt like home. There is a desire to have a property of their own to get away with the feeling of homelessness.  It can be concluded from the stories that the city is a collection of many situational spaces linked to work, home and leisure. The personal and emotional responses to selfing lead to interstitial spaces such as attic, terraces and balconies which they occupied when they felt like spending time with themselves and detach from their public charecters. Walking through a new city becomes a form of introduction and appropriation. Larger operational spaces are preferred to have a sense of freedom. Solidarity was the key to the process of surviving in an alien city which was achieved in the threshold and other shared spaces. 

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> Women’s claims: Stories of domesticities - Foram Shah


How do women occupy domestic spaces? How does architecture define domesticity and how does gender figure in this discourse and practise? How does gendering shape the spatiality and practice of domestic spaces? Hence, How do domesticities work out through gendering.

My concerns and interest, which led to the aforementioned questions arose from observing my mother and sister at home. While all of us shared our one-bedroom apartment, our behaviour and patterns of occupying space in the house differed. This difference was observed in various situations like the presence and absence of my father, finding friendships with the neighbours and wanting our own personal space in the house.

Hence, acknowledging that gender and space mutually construct each other, this thesis looks at the domestic households across various housing types and opens up possibilities for new interpretations. The thesis goes beyond theoretical frameworks that looks at gendering and spatiality for women through lack and discrimination, looking for ways in which women transgress, subvert or expand norms of spatial boundaries beyond traditional binaries and hierarchies. It also takes a broad approach to pleasure and includes any act through which women individually or collectively experience enjoyment.

Through the fieldwork and the exuberant interviews with the women, I mapped 20 different homes of various scales located in varying types ranging from a chawl, a row house, an apartment type and a bungalow, inhabited by different kinds of households. This provided me with an insight into the everyday life, the routines, the ambitions and struggles of  the women staying in these spaces.

To conclude, the thesis expands the ideas of how women subvert power relationships and constitute spaces of resistance at various scales. Through the interviews and the field work, it is revealed that there are specific patterns that have emerged in the ways women claim space. The relationship of the body in space where furnitures as objects are occupied in ways not intended for them, the threshold spaces where the gendered life starts to get lived and the interstitial spaces like the terrace, courtyard and verandah that get occupied by the women create an entirely different idea of a fluid space. The idea of a spatial continuum where the homes of people in the day, lend themselves to unfolding and imagining,l to become one big home, which generates spaces of conviviality. In order to create personal spaces in crunched homes, use of elements like curtains and bathroom as hiding spaces, occupation of a nestling space that is a small space within a large space are methods of subtle transgressions.

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 13 /   Urban Elasticities 

> Urban Artifacts - Akshay Savla

Aldo Rossi in his book “Architecture of the City”  talks about the City as an artifact, which is in turn made up of many smaller  urban artifacts. Urban Artifacts work as a primary element, which acts as a catalyst in development and growth of the city. These artifacts are not only the built environment but also constitute  the empty voids, where cultural practices create the everyday of the city. The spaces where the urban artifacts and society produces interactions are the lived space. Lefebrve in the ‘Production of Space’, talks about  lived space, which is produced largely by society and social dynamics.

As these artifacts are important links to the social dynamics of a place, the aim of the project is to design ‘Urban Artifacts’, which are culturally responsive and not limited to their utilitarian property. This disquisition intends to understand how people use Urban Artifacts to make spaces. The thesis thus investigates what urban artifacts afford so as to find new ways to make spaces amenable and accessible to people.

The field of study being located in Charkop, a western suburb of Mumbai, finds ways in which urban artifacts are appropriated and claimed by city actors. It investigates what architectural features and characteristics allow for these appropriations and what don’t. The thesis makes a case for urban artifacts to be culturally responsive and to be designed as scaffolds for claims and appropriations to take place.

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> Elasti-City: A cartography of space and time - Divya Vaidya

The city of Mumbai is densely populated and is a pulse point of religiosity and hope.  In spite of being this dense and compact, every now and then it is able to stretch itself to hold more during these festivals and added events. One such event that occurs annually is the festival of  Ganesh Chaturthi. Every year as the festival draws near, the neighborhoods in the city undergo a rapid flux. These neighborhoods transform into becoming nodes of energy and beliefs. They start attracting attention, people and resources like magnets. The neighborhood starts swelling and stretching and folds layers of systems and negotiations into itself to accommodate this volume. It starts transforming when it is time  to prepare and procure resources for the festival, till it is dismantled and absorbed back into the city. It gestates and holds a whole plethora of energy, hope, rituals, colors, chauvinism, aspirations, desires, power relations and fear all overlapping till it finally gives birth to the grand event. For that period, the lives of the people in and around the neighborhood get re-organized. The community does not sleep. The enthusiasm starts setting in and can be seen in the voluntary compromises, shifts and changes almost unconsciously made by people for the long-awaited event.

Once the event is delivered, the structure, routines and enthusiasms start shrinking, almost rapidly, till it fades to its previous state of being. Resting, till it’s time for it to give birth again.

This thesis documents these phenomenons in an attempt to look at how urban nodes within Mumbai behave during times of added events. It tries to demonstrate how streets and neighborhoods are altered architecturally in order to accommodate the swellings within the city and the changes they induce within public behavior. In addition to this it also documents various layers of negotiations, permissions, etc in the space time continuum of the recurring cycle of Ganesh Chaturthi.To analyze the fold that makes the fabric of the city elastic, the thesis attempts to draw a set of charts, diagrams and maps layering the various folds that place this elastic fabric in time and space.

These readings and data further help understand the ability of urban forms to fold, stretch and be elastic, in an ever-evolving city. It challenges the notion of permanence.It provokes one to think about the city as a complex overlay of non-rigid, non-definitive spatial and logistical systems that are light, temporary, reversible and adaptive to change, leaving no or little trace on ground.

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> Hybrid-Scapes: Topography of spatial overlappings - Soham Tondwalkar

This thesis aims to understand the spatiality of hybridity and the kind of social relationship it produces. In order to do so, I chose to study the neighbourhood of Charkop in the northern suburbs of Mumbai; which was announced as a site and service scheme by the Government during the 1980s.

Unlike insular zoned, vertical societies, which segregate working and living, recreation and regeneration into separate compartments, Charkop’s spatiality emerged quite differently. Here, all boundaries between the above category of activities blend. This happens because of the particular kind of architecture shaped by the people living here producing a distinct hybrid landscape. The hybrid  landscape refers to distinct typology / architecture of the settlement which ties up the interior and exterior activities into a continuum. It forms a continuous landscape that can afford multiple activities. The thesis aims to look closely at the characteristics of this ‘continuous’ landscape and the way in which it produces these affordances.

Methodologically, I am studying the site at three scales: the home, the house cluster and the street junction/ chowk. In each case mapping the built form of neighborhood which allows these multiple activities to perform. The thesis focuses on the way in which one activity seamlessly folds into another, producing a community that sustains on shared spatial resources, close knit relationships and spatial tolerance. These aspects make the urban form of Charkop worth studying where they allow an alternative emerging sense of hardened claims and individualising environment in urban areas like Mumbai. This hybridity allows give and take, constant communication and multiple engagement in the neighbourhood.

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 14 /   Urban Frontiers 

> In-distinct boundaries: A compilation of urban relationships with water edges - Ruchi Dixit

What are the different configurations of space along the river edge and what relationship it produces?

Metropolitan cities are constantly affected by the mutations and fluctuations of urbanization.Rivers, being a mediator between the cities and its hinterlands, have always shared an intimate relationship with each other. These relationships have interrelated and shaped each other in multiple ways. As an individual being born and raised near one such river in the Mumbai city i.e the Dahisar River, a change in the relationship with the river and its edge was constantly felt. Under the various “Beautification and rejuvenating of Dahisar river schemes” that came over years, the proposals of the waterfront were always imagined as them being a leisure commodity. These schemes were basically developed to boost tourism with major clearance of houses,tabelas and existing landscape along the river edge. Similar such clearances and rejuvenation projects were also undertaken along the Sabarmati Riverfront, Godavari Riverfront, Patna Riverfront where the waterfronts were developed as a new public realm connecting the city’s urban fabrics. So with the curiosity of understanding the relationship between the form the edge and the life that happens in the adjacent land, this thesis works with an objective of compiling various spatial configurations and therefore life that has emerged historically along the Dahisar waterfront.

As my theoretical framework I have referred to three works. Soak- Mumbai in an estuary by Anuradha Mathur and DIlip da Cunha which opens up the Idea of Wetness, J.GIbson’s theory for the Idea of Affordance in relation to form and function and Elic and Roland’s theory of affordance for Idea of Behaviour. Drawing out from my field I look upon three different water edges transects through five instances of change, comparing them over the timeline of hundred years. To strategize the methodology I work upon the act of architectural storytelling in a form of sectional narrative scroll, for which I refer to the Chinese Landscape Drawings where they capture the essence or spirit of the space. Through the narrative scroll and sections I further analyse the conclusions for this thesis.

There is a relationship with the economy and social life where the agrarian society affords their livelihood along the soft edge, the industrial sector along the hard edge and finally in case of settlement based sectors as a place for comfort. The research helps to understand that there are constant fluctuations of the land use patterns and their relationships along the edge. From being  an active part of an agrarian economy to a backyard and finally as a space of leisure, the water edge adapts multiple imaginations.The attempt of developing water edges through a singular imagination not only transforms the fuzzy nature of the edge but also fragments multiple affordances of the edge. Thus the thesis aims to develop spatial configurations of water edges that can accommodate multiple imaginations of the waterfront.

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> An urban frontier: Coexistence of contradictions - Sai Kelkar

What are the spatialities that allow for the coexistence of multiple kinds of productive work which may be contradictory economically and environmentally? The question is framed in the backdrop of urbanization on the outskirts of the metropolitan cities whose experiences have largely been framed through the debate on dispossession and degradation, on the one hand, and promiscuous urban frontier, on the other hand. Drawing on the latter, I open out the forms of spatiality and affordances of physical space that allow for economic and environmental contradictions. 

I conducted this study in Vasai fishing village, a small settlement in Vasai-Virar on Mumbai’s urbanizing outskirts. This settlement is surrounded by environmental features such as a creek with mangrove edges and a Portuguese fort, which is a heritage monument of national importance. The study was conducted at three scales - the settlement; settlement edges including the creek, marshland, and fort edge; and, individual houses - through field notes made in the form of detailed visual observations, sketches, and notations, unstructured interviews, and photographs. This dissertation advances two arguments: one about the strategy of representation of the coexistence of economically and environmentally spatialities and the other about the form of such spatialities.

First, I argue that, in order to move beyond narratives of dispossession and degradation, one requires the framing of multiple vantage points to observe spatiality and a strategy for their representation. I developed two strategies from a reading of the work of Gulam Mohammed Sheikh whose narrative paintings work with the idea of multiple vantage points. These included the use of changing scales to open out the relationality of people and (un) built form according to their narrative importance and multiple shifts of horizon line on the picture plane to draw attention to the coexistence of contradictions. This helped me to develop a strategy of a drift that is able to draw selected parts of the whole simultaneously with one another as against a strategy of layering where parts of the whole are arranged separately. Such representational strategies, I argue, are better able to capture the experiences of promiscuity and coexistence of contradictions on the urban frontier.  

And second, my dissertation uncovered that porous boundaries, modulations of building skin, and flexible and non-programmed spaces are some of the spatial forms that allow for the coexistence of multiple kinds of productive work which may be contradictory economically and environmentally. Porous boundaries are seen at the edge of the marshlands and the edges of the creek, which are unbounded open spaces used for public activities. Verandahs and the terraces are instances where building skins are modulated which allow for a multiplicity of uses - a verandah gets transformed into a general store, and in case of the terrace, where the terrace is used for drying fish in the morning, and space for karate classes in the evening. Flexible and non-programmed spaces often allow for a wide range of temporal transformations such as the use of a desolate church for prayer and for tourism. 

The architectural use of this dissertation will therefore explore the possibilities of advancing spatialities that allow for the coexistence of economic contradictions in environmentally sensitive contexts.

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> Urban Farming - Dimple Mistry

What is the spatiality when pastoral activities take place in intensely urban areas? This question is framed in the backdrop of unsustainable farming practices whose expanding ecological footprints in mechanised modes of production have created a false sense of food security, on the one hand, and the potential and limitations of growing food in intensely urban areas, on the other hand.

In this dissertation, I examined four spatialities in suburban Mumbai where pastoral activities take place: railway edges, nurseries, apartments and site and services schemes. These are dense urban environments where pastoral activities have been conducted either for a long time or have emerged anew. I asked five questions of each spatiality in the process of conducting my fieldwork: What is their physical character and spatiality? What is the size of the plot where the pastoral activity is conducted? What is the pastoral activity conducted? Who is conducting the pastoral activity? Who is receiving the pastoral product? In order to address these questions, I documented the above spatialities in the form of sketches and photographs, and conducted interviews with people who are engaged in the business of these pastoral activities.

My study has led to the following findings. The settings where all the pastoral activities are conducted present dense, varied urban typologies such as open spaces between city infrastructures and low rise apartments that have been designated for the expansion of infrastructure, open spaces and backyard gardens of incremental housing schemes, and the terraces of low rise and mid rise apartments. The plot sizes on which the pastoral activities are conducted are typically of two scales: first, between 1000-3000 sq. m. in cases of open spaces, and second, between 20-50 sq. m. in cases of backyards and terraces. In cases of large plots, micro-enterprises are involved in the process of production and sale of pastoral produce to local markets whereas, in the case of small plots, households engage in pastoral production for self consumption, or for their kin and friends. The produce for households are various kinds of vegetables (tomatoes, brinjal, bhindi, dudhi,methi, palak, lal math, vaal, papdi, dodka, mirchi, cauliflower), flowers (hibiscus, brahma kamal, roses, aloe vera, chandni, sadabahar, shevanti), fruits (chikoo, papaya, grapes, mango ,banana) and herbs (lemon, kothimbir, ginger, kadipatta, tulsi, pudina). The micro-enterprises produce greens and leafy vegetables such as bhindi, lal math, palak and methi. I, therefore, argue that along with older activities of pastoral produce, new small-scale open spaces are being used for similar activities in intensely urban areas. These activities are geared towards small scale production and may not address the self-sufficiency of food production in the city. Nevertheless there is a potential to address the making of urban form that affords for pastoral produce in intensely urban areas that architects could consider in the making of new builtform or retrofitting old builtform.

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 15 /   Pandemic Spatialities 

> Post Pandemic Spatiality - Krutika Dhelia

As COVID-19 spread from China to the world, and became a pandemic with devastating effects on national health-care systems and the world economy, we all found ourselves shut indoors, nervous about the future . The very ways in which we live, work, learn, and even play have transformed drastically during the last few months. I observed many changed practices in my neighborhood at micro and macro levels which were due to a virus that is not visible with the naked eye. The objective of my thesis is to identify contemporary practices that have emerged during the current pandemic and observe the change in behaviour patterns of people along with recording the panic responses. The study revolves around the following research question - How does a health pandemic change the imagination of space ?

The first part of this research attempts to understand the spatial changes that have occurred as a result of four major pandemics historically such as cholera (1832), tuberculosis (1850s), The Bombay plague (1896) and Spanish Flu (1918) at the scales of the household, the building, the neighbourhood and the city. The subsequent  results were  the idea of segregation, sanitation and standards that got introduced in the making of space at these multiple scales. The current ongoing pandemic unlike the rest  has struck the whole of our planet at a time and has propelled spatial practitioners to rethink the nature of indoor and outdoor spaces. Thus the second part of this research is the collection of these contemporary practices emerging at multiple scales that are then put together into a COVID glossary. The piecing together of the archive and thus drawing out a constellation of the diverse practices helps me make sense of the ongoing pandemic and its impact and transformation of space itself. Thus drawing from the glossary, It was observed that there is a de-densification of spaces and secondly a single space which had a specific utility earlier has multiple uses now. An annexure to places like shops, temples, grocery stores, clinics has been observed, meanwhile there has been an Increase in dead infrastructure/spaces that are not functional at the moment because of the lockdown like schools, colleges, offices, gyms etc. Even the human demand for open and semi-open spaces has increased tremendously. There is a need to upgrade our dwellings, neighbourhoods and cities as per our changing requirements.

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> Shaping Publicness: Recreational grounds in Mumbai’s suburban settings - Priyanka Neve

What exactly is the idea of the green in our city?

During my visit to Shanghai a couple of years back, I couldn’t help but notice the difference between their definition of open spaces and public parks, than our city. It is almost like these green spaces in between the city are small pockets all over, networking together to make a unified larger public area. Most of these parks, or rather open spaces, didn’t have a physical boundary or restricted timings to use them; like these spaces gradually mixed up with the rest of the city.

Public spaces, parks and recreational areas in our city, in the present day, I feel are these individual fragments of the space. A lot of these parks and open spaces are unplanned public spaces used by a huge number in the city. Most of the gardens and parks around our knowledge, comes in with their limitation and restrictions of timings. The whole system of these greens being a conditional space, is what makes me comes to this question.

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> Environment Recast: Glossary of revised spatialities in a pandemic - Tarishe Singhal

The way we do things and use things, occupy space, or go about our everyday lives, talks a lot about our society, a time in history in which we are living. These practices have the power to transgress the notions of space, society and time. These transgressions are amplified if seen during a certain frame of time or an event. These might be called catalysts, which help us look at space from a different perspective. These new lenses can be deliberate or just an incident in history, fortunate or unfortunate, but nevertheless tells us a lot about the potentials of space and the unusual ways of using it.

The purpose of this thesis is to look at the practices and ways that started coming up during the time of a pandemic. The pandemic leads to the generation of a new environment or a new normal in the everyday, through the emerging practices. The title suggests the change in roles of a space, and its users and audiences; by exploiting its potentials through ways of transgression. It also makes us realise the various hats we put on ourselves, through the pandemic because of an amplified awareness and recreation of boundaries.

These practices transgress the notions of space, society and architecture. Then what kind of relationship with space does these activities have? Do they have the potential to have an architecture of their own? How are these spaces being reimagined, with the varying transgressions? In this research, we look at transgressions that are generated through everyday activities. This is done by studying the neighbourhoods of Borivali West and collecting the various practices emerging and amplifying during the pandemic. The practices are analysed  through the experiences of the residents and the author, and expressed in the form of diagrams that seem to be reflecting the new meaning or the new use of a space.
After analysing the bigger picture emerging from the analysis of the diagrams, the author questions about the form taken by the city. Has it become a zoo for the citizens? Or is it a better place to live? Where do we stand vis-s-vis the use of space? Was there always a potential to these spaces? What is the morality of transgressions, good or bad? Nevertheless, it is a function of time that can be essential or dangerous.

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 16 /   Beyond Pathological Space 

> Experiences of Retail Spaces in Mumbai’s suburbs - Mayuri Mistry

Mumbai is a city with one of the highest densities in the world as well as one of the highest intensities.  While there are few designated open spaces per capita for people in Mumbai, (0.3 sq m per person) the city accommodates for this lack by making intense public spaces and everyday spaces of transaction. Retail spaces are one such example.

The thesis is rooted in my own experiences of loitering around the markets of the suburb of Charkop, where different configurations of retail space and the everyday relationships of people come together to form multiple kinds of experiences that shape public life and individual behavior. The thesis aims to understand the idea of intense experience in different types of retail spaces. The analysis begins with understanding the evolution of markets in Mumbai. Setting up the different types of retail spaces then begets the research question, “How does the architecture of retail shape the experience of transactions?”

The thesis argues that the intense experience of retail is shaped by its type. Type is understood as a particular configuration of form and space in architecture, which this thesis intends to study. This understanding is explored through a reading of the work on the concept of typology, experience, and transactional capacities. The understanding of typology is through Aldo Rossi, in ‘Architecture of the city’ Anthony Vidler in ‘The Third Typology’, and Rafael Moneo, ‘On the Typology’. The understanding of the concept of experience includes readings of Daniel Koch in his paper, ‘Changing Building Typologies: the typological question and Formal Basis of Architecture’, , Juhani Pallasmaa in his book, ’The Eyes of the Skin’, Walter Benjamin in his ‘The Arcades Project’,  which connects with the idea of spaces and retail. The understanding of patterns of space and transactional capacities is through the reading of Christopher Alexander, in ‘Pattern Language’ and ‘It Takes so much for a city to happen’, by Prasad Shetty and Rupali Gupte. The understanding of the retail experience is through different readings on Charles Baudelaire, ‘the Bad Glazier’ and the projects of ‘Retail Apocalypse’ and Rem Koolhaas in his ‘Junkspace’. Through these readings, a consensus on the definition of type emerges as a relationship that form and space have with life and living.

To understand the relation between type and the experience of retail spaces, the study was limited to the suburb of Charkop. Here six different types of retail spaces were identified. These types are representative of retail spaces in the suburbs of Mumbai. Due to limitations of movement in the time of the pandemic, Charkop, which is my own neighborhood was chosen.

Since the thesis argues that type is an integral relationship between form and experience, mapping this relationship sets up its own concern since cartographic drawings fail to fully chart these relationships. The thesis, therefore, draws on narrative drawings to understand the relationship between architectural form and experience. The drawing references include Bhupen khakkar and Gulam Mohammed Sheikh’s method of multiple perspectives and details of the space, Sudhir Patwardhan’s idea of a triptych, and simultaneous landscape in Mughal miniature paintings. Each of the drawings speaks of the pattern of space that the type affords and the kind of experience related to it.

The dissertation hopes to draw on the observations of the patterns of space that create an intense experience of life and living to draw into the design studies of a new retail space in Charkop. What would be the next type of retail space in Charkop that draws on the intensity of everyday life and learns from the existing types of retail spaces in the neighborhood and their patterns of space-making as it connects to the life of people and the city?

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> Hybrid Houses: The cultural practices living and work in a village - Rushikesh Hirulkar

How does the cultural form of work shape the house form in a village? The fascination and interest in this question emerged from my everyday life where my father, a welder, works in the small house that I and my family live in. His workspace and our living space happens together in the same house in our village, Dinoda, in Akola district, Maharashtra. At stake in this question lies the challenge to understand spatial affordance of work and living in village houses, and developing conceptual openings for imagining culturally responsive house forms in the context of their transformation.

I studied thirteen houses in my village belonging to households that were involved in doing different kinds of work: milkman who belonged to the Dhangar caste; gangkari, shopkeeper and chef who belong to the Vanjari caste; tailor and barber who belonged to the Nhavi caste; saree seller, cycle repair wala and mat maker who belonged to the Nath caste; carpenter and patra karagir who belonged to the Dalit caste; welder who belonged to the Sonar caste; and, police patil who belonged to the Kunabi caste. The research methods included intense field notes, on site drawings and detailed participant observation that would help me analyse and represent the affordances between different people and  the spatial capacity of the house form to the provide for work and living relationships. More specifically, I analysed house plans and sections, their programming, household configurations and routines, building typology and spatial affordances. Drawing on this analysis, my dissertation advances five arguments.

First, all the thirteen households that I studied were involved in one work specialization in addition to being cultivators or labour on agricultural fields. These specializations were carried out either from the builtform of the house or its open spaces, and in some cases from both. This narrative presents village houses as complex spaces in contrast to those where village life is understood under the blanket umbrella of agriculture.

Second, the spatiality of work associated with each house shapes a metaphorical imagination of the house form connected to it. For instance, the milkman’s house where work and living takes places in the courtyard is an outdoor living room; gangkari’s house works as a waiting room for labour gangs; shopkeeper’s house works as a public theater; tailor’s house works like a workshop; saree seller’s house works as a display room; the welder’s house works like a street theater; and, the chef’s house works as a men’s addah. It is in the metaphors of the ‘house as a …’ that we notice the complexity of the house form that allude to the intermingling of public and private spheres in the space of the house.

Third, the intermingling of the public and private spheres of life in the house form is afforded by specific architectural elements such as courtyards, otlas, vasaris, verandahs and baithaks along with a set of rooms that can be used flexibly. All of these come to act as spatial affordances that shape the possibilities of the cultural form of work within the house form. 

Fourth, apart from caste-based norms that may have settled over a long time, the cultural form of work shapes gender relationships and practices whose spatiality manifests in the house form. In this regard, the role of women’s labour in the production and reproduction of life manifests in gendered domestic spatialities where women come to occupy the front space of the house in one of the following three scenarios: when they are centrally involved in the production work (for example, milkman’s house, shopkeeper’s house), when the production work does not demand the presence of numerous men who are not a part of the household (for example, carpenter’s house, patra karagir’s house) or when production work starts to separate from the house (for example, tailor’s house, barber’s house). In other instances, where women’s role is imagined predominantly as labour in the reproduction of life, the spatiality of their workspace is located in the back spaces of the house.  

And fifth, in the ongoing transformation in the village, there are aspirations to separate work spaces completely from the living spaces of the house. One can expect such a separation to have significant implications on the workings of the public and private spheres of life in the village and gender in space. 

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> (Un)learning a Mofussil: A glossary of institutions, urban practices and architecture - Srushti Karale

How does everyday language describe institutions, urban practices and architecture that shape the form of life in small cities located on the outskirts of India’s metropolises?  This question is framed in the backdrop of pathological perceptions of such cities as unplanned, unproductive, unruly and non-modern that have a colonial origin, specifically the Anglo-Indian term mofussil. This pejorative language shapes interventions largely concerned with cleansing, sanitation and beautification, which flatten porous city spatialities. If language has the power to shape interventions, then at stake in my inquiry lies the challenge to articulate whether and how vocabularies that emerge from everyday life can become a tool to construct a new map of relationalities and affordances of porous spatialities.

My dissertation maps the social institutions and urban practices in Bhiwandi, a small city on Mumbai’s outskirts based on small-scale industrial clusters, which have given form to its architecture. I have drawn on two bodies of literature from the urban studies field, viz. the mechanics of enterprise and explorations in defining keywords, to flesh the substance of my inquiry around entrepreneurship, work, living and cultural life in Bhiwandi. Given the context of COVID-19 quarantine, I found fifteen field interlocutors through ‘snowball method’ and engaged them in semi-structured audio and video interviews. The narrative analysis of this interview material generated descriptions of twelve terms which I have organised in the form of a glossary. More specifically, each term’s narrative is structured around a textual and spatial analysis through which my dissertation makes four arguments.

First, my distance from the field produced difficulties but also presented strengths. Finding myself unable to access material that thick architectural ethnographies usually rely on, I began to ask small questions to construct the experience, relationality and spatiality of the form of life in Bhiwandi. For example, I knew that  the term compound meant a place where industries functioned but my field interlocutors explained how the large space allowed even the smallest entrepreneur to participate in it and how it had spaces of residence and work.

Second, in focusing on current meanings, etymologies, sociocultural use and communities that interpellate the use of terms, my glossary opens up the changing patterns of meanings over geographies and time. For example, the term ‘compound’ originates from the Malay-Indonesian word “kampong” or “kampung,” which means ‘village’ or ‘enclosure’. Its use developed from specific to fortified areas in Europe, America, to non-fortified areas in British south asia colonies and now as an ensemble of various activities. One can suspect that new developers have come up with conceptualisations such as ‘Integrated Industrial Areas’ as a strategy to sanitise such messy spatialities. But are these really integrated? In asking thus, my glossary opens up the power of language through twelve terms: Compound, Karkhana, Service Shops, Bissee, Pan Dabba, Chali, Integrated Industrial Estates, Godowns, Talkies, ‘Kahin Beech Mein’, ‘Kamgar’.

Third, the map of a so-called mofussil emerges as constellations of institutions, urban practices and spatialities. This provocation isn’t based in twentieth century cartographic visions of constellations such as satellite cities. If glossaries have the potential to continuously expand as the authors of Gurgaon Glossaries have argued, then my glossary of urban constellations has attempted to give form to a dynamic map that emerges from the textured forcefield of everyday language. I submit: higher the intensities of constellating forcefields of institutions and urban practices, higher is the porosity of spatialities associated with them.

And fourth, the porous spatialities of the so-called mofussil emerge in the form of a sponge. The pores represent different constellations of terms such as the compound as a quilt, integrated industrial areas as corridors of efficiency etc. The relationalities that the glossary presented became the basis for conceptualizing the map of the sponge. The drawing of the quilt emerges from identifying symbiotic associations between various metaphors linked to the compound like the presence of the plug-in shops that complete the network, the softer edges of roads and factory walls that allow for the presence of smaller nomadic practices, the affordable housings units of the chali and so on. Through a similar method other pores are drawn that represent associations and affordances of various metaphors through a spatial drawing of the site that has moved beyond the cartographic map of the city. The metaphors and maps that have emerged from my discussion of everyday language work as devices to conceptualize new spatialities that architects can draw upon to make relevant interventions into urban constellations beyond pathological space.

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