Selected Entries 2018

Publicness of Built Form

Netra Bafna
CEPT University | Ahmedabad

Old Ideas can sometimes use new buildings, new ideas must use old buildings.

– Jane Jacobs


Vadodara is undergoing large scale demolition. The city has a rich history since it’s first rulers were Muslims who built a contained city with fort walls and five gates, post that the Gaekwad rule developed the city by expanding and inviting Famous Architects to design Huge Monumental Institutions. Post Independence the city saw rapid growth in terms of Industrial developement . Now the city is developing  in an uncontained manner.

 In order to make it a smart city, It has started cleaning up places and removing illegal structures. Many heritage structures, slums and commercial complexes have already seen its end.

One specific building, believed to be demolished soon is the Padmavati Shopping complex located in the heart of the old city. It was named after queen Padmavati Gaekwad, built in 1970 by the government,  to accommodate 200 sindhi cloth merchants originally having an informal market setup in the maidan where this building was later constructed.

It was a building designed to sit across the Nyay Mandir, next to the Lehripura gate, the Sursagar Lake and several other Heritage structures in its vicinity. It was a great example of how a modern built form made using concrete and  having a frame structure  could respond to the climate, context and the use.

It may not be a Heritage structure by definition but it is an important landmark. It is one of a kind architectural pieces of Baroda that functions and attracts people from different parts of the city since the last 50 years. If demolition of the complex holds merit for the government, this thesis is another way to look at the same structure without demolishing it.

The complex  Context surrounding the Padmavati complex has changed over the years and so has the relation between man and the city infrastructure. Urban Settlements are in great need of legal parking spaces, defined spaces for informal market, commercial spaces, breakout spaces, accessible larger public spaces connected to the city and its context, more spaces to co work and produce – this thesis aims at exploring them through adaptive reuse, additions and subtractions to Padmavati complex and a change in its surroundings too.

The redefined Padmavati complex aims at being a precedent for other built forms of Baroda which are now defunct but can be creatively used again. The Ultimate test of this project is its ability to define a  lively and  colorful public space in the complex and inviting visitors to go to different levels of the built. The blurred edges of the threshold and circulation is explored to achieve it.

To be able to redefine old structures in a new capacity would be very important for the future of Urban settlements in Asia where cities are being overloaded with structures and many of them are becoming defunct at a fast rate.  City dwellers would have to be more cautious of limited resources and rethink demolition of large scale structures as opposed to reusing them.