Design with Nature, Kabirvad Island

Instructors: Anne Feenstra, Priyanka Kanhare, Reza Ghafouri
6 June 2017


Biodiversity and cultural diversity are interconnected through cultural meaning (1), the use of language (2) and local ecological knowledge (3). Such biological and cultural diversity is thus connected by the various processes of the integrated social-ecological systems that make up the biosphere (4).

1. Posey, 1999; 2. Maffi, 2001; 3. Berkes, 2008; 4. Berkes and Folke, 1998

Kabirvad, a river island, is located 16 km east of Bharuch. It has a 300 year old gigantic grove full of Banyan trees that are mysteriously merged together as if they were one. The grove shades more than 2.5 acres and is visited by thousands of people every year.





Understanding surface undulation/modulation and scale

Nature has a lot to teach us from the way various elements, that may seem individual and separate, work in harmony to make the most complex processes happen and with such effortlessness. Humans realize that they are heavily dependent on nature, yet they also destroy it. Most environment friendly architectural solutions today are limited to the reduction of carbon footprint and energy consumption. This studio takes a step further. Students work with the local community that partly resides on the island and partly comes for agricultural purposes to conserve biodiversity that is imperative to protect their livelihoods. Students are encouraged to think as innovators and inventors by learning and understanding from nature.

This studio focuses on proposing built interventions by understanding local people, available skills, materials and most importantly local ecology. It lays thrust on conceiving experiences for the visitors and protecting and nurturing the biodiversity.  Students undertake rigorous exercises for research and interpretation as the springboard for their ecologically responsive design solutions.

(Graphic on the left)

Students set out to make clay models to re-create terrains that they had studied and documented. Next, drawings were derived out of these models. This hands-on exercise helped them in understanding and reading contour lines on maps with a certain amount of fluency. They learnt – to represent 3 dimensional information in 2 dimension and at different scales; to gauge variation in levels; and differentiate between steep and flat patches. 

-By Himani Joshi

Documenting the place’s character

Interpretation map
Overall Site plan Proposal
Seasonal Variation
Planting phasing

Final Proposal

-By Himadri Panchal

Interpretation map


Initial sketch

Final Proposal

Site Sections

Joinery Detail

-By Khushali Gelani