Our new motto is EMPATHIZE: Think Learn Share which led us to study Aya Nagar as a settlement for, of and by the people. The idea was supported by the focus on informal settlements in the UN and other forums as well as numbers which say that the majority of Indian cities live in its informal settlements.
The prevalent paradigm of high-rise developer housing has run into obstacles resulting in a large housing stock of unoccupied units which has slowed down new developments. Government focus on affordable housing for all is one of the paradigm shifts while the conversion of existing stock into rentals, service, paying guest, dormitory is another. Therefore, we are shifting the focus of the housing design studio to respond to the situation and expose the students to an alternative paradigm which is contextually relevant.
The different living options in Aya Nagar catering to the contemporary city dweller like student, single person, nuclear family coexist with traditional joint families allow us to study this phenomenon efficiently. Issues of gender, ethnicity, age, religion and culture impacting the city dweller, especially a recent migrant from rural/traditional environments are on display for study and analysis. The close proximity of diverse inhabitants to each other is the hallmark of urban housing which generates a set of parameters and constraints including binaries of privacy and community. Given its evolutionary nature, housing is explored as a set of experimental options of inhabitants to live in.
The focus of the studio is on generating possibilities in urban housing for all. This is explored to produce possibilities which may be adaptable to different contexts such that an experimental prototype is generated. Students explore generative bottom-up design process which focuses on the dwelling unit as the basic design unit. Iteration and shape grammar guides the formation of clusters and streets which populate the site as required with contextual parameters. Structure and services are integrated with a focus on efficiency and sustainability.
The student is encouraged to innovate & improvise within parameters of information required for comprehension of design idea.