During the late 60’s and 70’s, development authorities in India initiated social housing projects in the mould of the post-War initiatives in Europe. Around the same time, in Delhi, under the recommendations of the 1st Master Plan, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) acquired land and started delivering ‘housing products’. This led to overwhelming building activities all over the city. The phenomenon was considered as an immediate challenge for future architects and as a result, ‘Housing Studios’ were eventually introduced in architecture academics all over India.
However, the situation in the production of housing is quite changed today. Cooperative societies and private developers, both small and big, are now important players. Faceless ‘Mass Housing’ is gradually transforming towards consumption-oriented ‘Branded Housing’. On the one hand, provision is being made for exclusiveness in terms of luxurious living style and amenities, while on the other, certain other phenomena are being observed like the formation of gated enclaves, erosion of community places and public places, and the lack of concern for the larger ecological implications of building at this speed and scale.
Gurgaon seems to be a vivid example of this condition.
Gurgaon has evolved in the last two decades from a stretch of agricultural land in the neighbouring state of Haryana to a flourishing suburb of Delhi, catering to the ever growing requirements of the National Capital Region (NCR) of Delhi. Only some parts of the north and north–west regions remain agricultural while most of the other sectors, in their entirety, have evolved as residential sectors interspersed with commercial areas and industrial areas along the main transportation line of NH-8 (National Highway-8) that connects Delhi to Mumbai. The entrepreneur of Delhi discovered Gurgaon as a separate nucleus offering a combination of various inputs of land, material, labor, skill and transport. As transport linkages generally improved, the connections to Delhi gained importance with the NH8, Mehrauli-Gurgaon road and, now, the Metro.
Part of this research was an ecological study that revealed how environmental constraints to development in Gurgaon, in accordance with various natural features, remain unidentified. Ground water research has been particularly ignored and the constantly declining water table remains a sensitive environmental issue which needs planned development.
As parcels of land are set apart and put to appropriate use (and made functionally suitable for activities to be performed thereupon), an urban land use pattern begins to emerge. Habitation defines land use. The term ‘Urban Land Use’ refers to spatial distribution of city functions i.e. residential, commercial or industrial areas. Land value, density and ownership status are three intricately woven layers where a variation in any one adversely affects the other. Change becomes the only constant for these three parameters in this ever changing region of Gurgaon.
There are multiple factors that determine the typology of specific buildings in Gurgaon, which have been derived from the analysis of form organization, spatial organization, building height and building permeability. Thus no singular usage can be incorporated in an individual category of typology and no distinct typology emerges that allow us to put a single building in an individual category. The consolidated image of a city is formed by various images conceived in parts, ultimately emerging as a singular identity of the place. Elements such as path, edge, node, landmark & district interact with each other based on their user and time of usage reconciling the activity of the place.
This research, conducted by the Sushant School of Art & Architecture, studied Gurgaon as a laboratory with ongoing experiments in search of the better ‘urban’ living. The aims of the study were
• To initiate base research and documentation of Gurgaon amidst the incredible pace of morphological change.
• To establish a database on housing projects in terms of /density/morphology/typology
• To investigate, conceptually, existing paradigms of housing forms, based on FAR/density and ground coverage.
SUPTENDU P. BISWAS (Co-coordinator), VISHAL AGGARWAL, ASHISH CHOUDHURY and ASHISH BHALLA.
Akshay Chaliha, Ayodh Vasant Kamath, Shveta Srivastav, Snigdha Jain, Abhishek Bij, Shweta Raina, Rinku, Priyanjali Sarkar, Selvamani Robin, Guneet Raj Singh, Kanava Suri, Shilpa Gavane, Rudrajit Sabhaney, Devendra Rawat, Rahul Saini, Tanveer Sodhi, Pooja Bali, Tanya Sinha, Onima Mudgil, Suparna Sethi, Aman Mehta, Garima Jain, Shweta Kaw, Aksha Fernandez, Vinayak Tripathi, Ginny Sharma, Hirdesh Sharma, Shipra Narang, Poonam Kalantri, Harsh Mehra, Karan K. Chowdhary, Abhishek Rustagi, Piyanka Chaudhry, Gladwin Graces, Aditya Choudhry, Megha Shah, Smita Dixit, Manya Uppal, Kunal Chaudhary, Shruti Bhalla, Ishwak Singh, Upasna Mongia.
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