This study was conducted as part of CEPT Summer School 2014, a collaborative effort between CEPT University and Aarhus School of Architecture, Denmark. Field studies in Calcutta were undertaken for a week where students documented, observed and analyzed various urban and spatial dimensions of the settlement and community interaction patterns embedded therein. We presented our documentation of architectural spaces and inhabitation patterns of the Chinese community in Calcutta in a monograph titled Cheenapara: Cultural Identity & Urban Heritage of the Chinese in Calcutta. It serves as a primary account of the formal, aesthetic, and cultural resources that become potential assets for any future urban conservation efforts.
The eclectic history of diverse immigrant communities shapes and leaves an indelible imprint on a city. Kolkata is a ‘melting pot’ of migrant Armenians, Chinese, Jews, Anglo-Indians, and Greeks. Their traditions, reflected through cultural and occupational practices, food habits, dressing, and architecture, lend identity to the broader landscape of the city. Passage of time and altered socio-economic circumstances threaten to erode this shared cultural heritage.