Excerpt:Siddhi Agarwal’s SAMMILAN is an urban housing academic project that aims to unite underprivileged communities, develop a feeling of belonging, and improve their quality of life while preserving their traditional way of life. Siddhi Agarwal is a student at the Faculty of Architecture at CEPT University in Ahmedabad. This idea goes beyond typical housing by utilising nature to encourage serenity in renters’ lives. The main goal was to provide poor people with access to possibilities for progress within a supportive environment.
Introduction: Sammilan is an urban housing project designed to unite disadvantaged groups, foster a feeling of community, and enhance their quality of life while preserving their traditional way of life. The challenge was to establish a balance between ancient history and modern comfort in order to produce a cohesive environment. A sense of community was built by developing gathering places for social occasions and leisure activities that bring individuals together as a larger family. These vibrant centres then served as catalysts for peace and group strength.
The idea was to go beyond traditional housing by integrating nature to bring calm into renters’ lives. The goal was to give the impoverished access to opportunities for growth within a supportive ecosystem. This project aimed to eliminate cultural barriers, honour the human spirit, and create a fabric of unity.
In the thriving town of Jodhpur, India, Rajiv Gandhi Housing, a marginalised housing society that has arisen next to a rich enclave, is a monument to the variety of groups and occupations that coexist there. Industrious people working in small enterprises, domestic help, factories, construction, and other service-related fields are present in this area. Pakka and semi-pakka homes make up this suburb, which is home to a mixed population of Muslims, Bheel, Harijan, Rajputs, and Hindus. Some people work in the construction industry, while others make bracelets, and yet others own small businesses like general stores and grocery stores.
With a population of 1000 people living in 200–220 units, the housing is dispersed over a 22,000 square metre area. The ground serves as a multipurpose area. It serves as a storage facility, a playground for kids to play, a Cow-bada where they keep their cattle, and a gathering spot for people during festivals. Most of the inner roads are kaccha roads.
The foundation for identifying the needs and guiding the path of this new intervention was a thorough understanding of the existing settlement on the site. A thorough site-mapping was done to record the people’s way of life, the built environment, and their relationship to one another. Based on the site mapping, a complete programme was developed that included different housing unit types, common areas, and certain architectural considerations resulting from the local social climate.
Considering that it is located in the culturally rich state of Rajasthan, which is renowned for its architectural marvels of havelis and courtyard dwellings, this urban housing project set off on a creative adventure that embraced the spirit of the area. An intentionally designed hierarchy of courtyards and Jalis took centre stage, paying particular attention to how to deal with Jodhpur’s dry, sun-drenched climate. This architectural plan offers a practical response to the harsh heat and arid circumstances.
This urban housing project has several considerate elements in its goal of economic efficiency, including
Hierarchy of courtyards
Strategically staggered units
Sunken green cool pockets
Together, these components create a cosy indoor environment while consuming the least amount of energy possible.
By embracing the idea of inward-looking clusters, this urban housing society encourages meaningful interactions among its different people. Its central courtyard, a pleasant oasis divided into two parts, is shaded. One invites adults to take leisurely strolls while the other is alive with children playing on swings and their cheerful laughter. Planters and chairs are distributed along the courtyard’s edge with vegetation.
The residential cluster contains joint family and nuclear family residences with Otla (entry plinth) and balconies that encourage neighbourhood interaction. Planters that are cleverly placed and serve as sentinels along the edge of the housing unit help to create privacy. The staircase shaft emerges as a great conduit on the opposite side of the cluster, connecting all of the housing units located on various floors. Inviting seatings have been smoothly included at the staircase landing, providing a lovely area for brief moments of relaxation.
The units on the upper levels each have a beautiful balcony and lush terrace extension that open out to the main courtyard, where peace and community come together. Venturi-effect screens that are painstakingly made adorn these terraces and apertures to protect the lower courtyards’ sanctity from the sun’s intense rays. The creepers skillfully weaved into the ornate jali serve as a compelling example of how architecture and nature coexist peacefully in addition to freshening the air as it enters.
The main staircase runs smoothly from top to bottom alongside a perpendicular shaft that runs perpendicular to it within the cluster. The remainder of this cleverly designed shaft serves as a wind shaft and housing ventilation conduits for the washrooms. It skilfully promotes ventilation by utilising the pressure difference caused by the individual unit’s private courtyards. A channel for bringing in energising air is the central courtyard, which is enveloped in coolness.
The terrace’s appealing seating pavilions are used mostly as public areas. Additionally, it has a lavatory and a washing space, which enables female artists to work together on the terrace while creating different handicrafts like jewellery and saree stitching. The cluster is strategically laid out so that each unit has its own courtyard that is exposed to the sky.
Another kind of cluster, like the residential cluster, has commercial space on the ground floor and residential space on all subsequent floors. With the commercial edge adjacent to the main road, both clusters are carefully placed. In addition, the surrounding institutional structures are artfully arranged around the main ground edge, resulting in a pleasing design.
A well-designed network of vehicular paths with parking edges traverses all site boundaries to aid in site networking. In addition, a two-wheeler pathway crosses perpendicularly across the main road. The remaining space is set aside for pedestrian zones, encouraging both locals and visitors to walk around safely and comfortably.
Sammilan as a whole worked to achieve its objective of establishing a balance between traditional architecture and modern comfort by developing interconnected spaces that promote community interaction and serve as catalysts for harmony and unity.
[This Academic Project has been published with text submitted by the student]
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