Selected Entries 2018

Land X Architecture

Mihir Desai
K.R.V.I.A | Mumbai

By studying the relationship between landscape and the built environment, the thesis intends to bring about a change in the ways in which the state, market and citizen community perceive our landscape itself, to pursue their political / economical / social agendas. . The thesis is a three- volume work, categorized as following:


Volume 1: A prelude to the future of landscapes

Examining, layering and comparing a timeline of Goregaon with ‘Thematic Maps, Land Surveys, Development Plans’ produced by different interested parties across time, will show their imagination about land, concerns for mapping and the way a ‘map’ is drawn to represent landscapes.

The relationship between man and nature is embedded & encrypted into this ‘map’ by the cartographer through the discipline of geography. The process of juxtaposition of various maps will help decode value systems, that the state and other parties adopt in cartography to record and mark landscapes.

‘Volume 1’ thus uncovers an ecological history of Goregaon shaped by the creation of public and private property and proposes a new lens to read and experience the city as an ecosystem.


Volume 2: City and the Water’s Edge

‘Volume 2’ lays down the foundation to displace the idea of ‘land as property’ towards ‘land as ecological commons’. The site of Goregaon, p/s ward, a suburb in Mumbai, India, is studied to understand how the creation of private and public property has compromised the urban riparian edge composed of mangroves and wetlands along the city and water’s edge.

For this purpose, instead of treating Goregaon as a set of property lines, the suburb was imagined as a larger transect of catchment zones, which feed the Goregaon nullah. Each catchment zone then became a site to introduce local ecological interventions and strike a progressive dialogue to conserve, manage and safeguard the part of the nullah, which runs in that particular catchment, which today is rendered as polluted.


Volume 3: Displacing the idea of ‘Land as Property’ towards ‘Land as ecology’

One such catchment zone demands a surgical removal of reclamation as an act of ‘Urban Landscape’ design which shall challenge the notion of ‘Land as property’ in pursuit of allowing disconnected swamps and wetlands to establish a connection with the Malad Creek.

Tide cycles flush into the swamps, making water a connective tissue binding the fragmented state of nature in Goregaon West. This calls for an alternative city storm water drainage, which can patch into the wetland ecology, giving rise to questions of how existing form-space-program can synchronize with the wetland.

“What Architecture is born out of this system?”

“Can space in the city be cross-programmed as infrastructure for enabling ecologies to connect and flow?”

The thesis explores how each property (private/public) will now respond to this alternative landscape condition, embedding new values into a ‘map’ of the future city.