Reconnecting Ahmedabad to its River

by: Chandani Patel
Instructors: Uday Andhare, Surya Kakani, Leo Pariera, Vishwanath Kashikar, Íñigo Cornago Bonal
21 July 2016

‘Bridging the matrix of the hardware and the software of the city’ as I’d like to put it, this design intervention is an attempt to reconnect the city dwellers to the river Sabarmati, in a diverse and meaningful way. The program draws from the plural nature of the street, as the quintessential Indian public space, and applies this to re-imagine the relationship between the River and the City. One of the initial exercises that also served as an inspiration/ starting point for the project was to design the cover of a local newspaper using an urban issue, in a bid to reach out to the citizens.

Playing on the thought ‘street as a place of agreement’, these ‘notional streets’ begin to make inroads to the river, by burrowing through the reclaimed land and the thick concrete barriers of the riverfront. Upon reaching the river, the path transforms into a floating pathway across the river, to the other side of the city.

The site chosen to demonstrate a part of this process is the original ‘Ravivari’ site (the Sunday market), near Ellisbridge. The ‘notional street’ retraces an ancient path to the river, originating from Raikhad Darwaja (gateway) along the old fort wall near the Sunday market site.

The carving of the path has been done in a way that it tries to create a receptive nature on the street edge; corners are created to afford diagonal movement, allowing pockets of activity along the path; the walls are made with plinths and niches, allowing for vendors and hawkers.

As one nears the river, the land softens and darker spaces attempt to frame the journey. The riverfront wall is then carved with cave like spaces where people can recede into, in the scorching heat during the day, before crossing the floating modular bridge.

The heterogeneous and cyclic nature of the street demands that the floating bridge be modular, enabling it to be dispersed, flexible and extend to more than one point along the river edge. These are eventually leased to people of the city, to adapt into a multitude of purposes that would transform the bridge into a floating pathway across the river, to the other side of the city.