Drashti A Thakkar


Socio-Culture Expression

Institutional vacant lands are like memorials that have witnessed the city’s transformation pre and post institutional era. The introduction of these several institutional establishments in Ahmedabad was a path to upgrade the city’s image through education. Similarly, today these reserved institutional lands hold the potential to act as a medium to preserve the city’s public spaces. ?By utilizing the vacancy of these educational institutions which allow various social and cultural practices to play out, we can introduce several of these alternate hybrid public spaces in the city. Accessibility to these lands is the critical tool that ensures the co-existence of cultural, social expressions of the people of the city.

View Additional Work

Report Content

Manifesto-With the constant expansion of the city and reduction in public spaces, it’s cultural and social activities are endangered. The city needs breathing spaces where it freely expresses it’s social and cultural practices. Institutional vacant lands can act as reserves for such public activities . While t0he city fails to accommodate for several public activities, institutional vacant lands allow them to flourish. These large sites have been informally allowing many temporary activities ranging from celebrating cultural festivals to temporary exhibitions, transforming themselves into cricket grounds on Sundays to casual playing spaces during the evenings. These vacancies hold more value than just being land for the purpose of building luxury private institutions while repressing the multiple narratives of the city,its people and their culture. People’s claim on these lands should be recognized and harnessed for an active urban public life. ? These Institutional vacant lands

Site Analysis- Built Use The existing building use on site was done to understand how the presence of temples and shrines on site attracts the public activities along its margins margins making different parts of the site active for public use.The presence of crematorium and public space next to it with the presence of kiosks attracts specific kind of regular social gathering.

Site Analysis- Land Ownerships on site There are three different institutional owners present on site which owns the maximum site area. These owners are AES , Nehru Foundation of development and Sardar Patel Institute.Each of these institutions are present as an individual isolated island from each other separated with boundaries.

Site Analysis- Boundaries Analysis The site is bound with different kinds of boundaries restricting or limiting the access to the site within them. Even the major land on site is owned by different institutions or institutional trust. They stand as an individual island with no dialogue between them. Hence the site can only be accessed through definitive access points.(Each institution limiting access with entrance and exit gates)

Site Analysis- Activities On Site The site edge along the SPIER activates in the morning as it opens itself for people in morning allowing morning walks on site. Attracting the temporary Vegetable market on adjacent street. The presence and opening of food kiosks on the adjacent edge of the crematorium becomes active in the evening. This space is hence identified as a second anchor point to propose the design strategy.

Existing Site Collage And Site Strategies. Collage depicts how the site has different public activities. The site narrates the stories of how it becomes active for different users by allowing a vibrant range of activities. The temples on site attract the elderly people as it acts as an everyday space for them along with the cow feeding activity. Simultaneously, it also engages with the people interested in biodiversity through the activities of tree walks and morning walks when the institutions open their gates for early morning hours and weekends to the city people while the crematorium edge becomes an active gathering and eating space due to the presence of kiosks. To make the site accessible to existing people who are part of the activities on site through proposing 3 different strategies- Paths , Public spaces, and Rethinking of existing edges and boundaries.

Detail Design - Edge design. This edge is usually active with the presence of vendors. These vendors serve both the street user and the people who come for morning walk to SPIER land. Hence the edge is redesigned to accommodate these vendors along with the public spaces along the edge.

Detail Design- Public space around temple. -As the presence of temples attract the public gathering, parking and vendors,This edge is designed as a precinct around the temple transforming itself into a hybrid public space These public spaces can merge into paths allowing people to move into the site.

Detail Design- SPIER Canteen The Different types of proposed paths intersect near the canteen with the canteen being reimagined as a public space with the seating responding to topography and tree cover on site.

Proposed Master Plan. The design Intervention starts with proposing paths allowing people to have an access to the rich biodiverse site along with the diversity of activity already happening on site.