Published in DASH# 12-13 – Global Housing
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Cross Pollination in the Doshi-Habitat

A Report from Ahmedabad

Students of Delft University of Technology have been taking part in the Habitat Design Studio in Ahmedabad since 2010. The design studio is organized annually by Balkrishna Doshi and his firm Vastu Shilpa.1 For two months, the students work on a task related to the explosive growth of the city together with other European students and students from India. This may involve slum improvement, urban densification challenges or design research with regard to self-build practices. For the 2015 edition, the construction of a new subway line was reason to investigate its possible effects on the existing urban tissue. All studio editions centred on local neighbourhood communities and how these can be best enabled to reshape their own living environment. The students live in Ahmedabad for two months and their work at Doshi’s firm immerses them in the culture of India, the context of rapid urbanization and the conflicts arising between twenty-first-century modernity, growing new middle classes that embrace a materialistic lifestyle, and the influx of migrants who try their luck in the city while still holding on to a much more traditional lifestyle . . .

Notes:

  • For a brief overview, see http://www.vastushilpa.org/international-studio.html. The studio dates back to 2003. Architecture Schools in Australia, Denmark, France and Switzerland have taken part in the Habitat Design Studio. The students are supervised by a multidisciplinary team of teachers. Especially the contribution of prof. em. Neelkanth Chhaya should not go unrecognized.