Selected Entries 2018

Cultural Archaeology searching for presence in absence

Rishabh Jain
Malviya National Institute of Technology | Jaipur

the river, the forests, the waterfalls,
the flora and fauna, the paddy fields,

the tribals and their charming dance
the melody of their tunes,
the strength of their lance
the shimmering rains put into a trance

the waterfalls can catch your breath
the memories registered will last until the death.
too much to be described in a single song,
such is the place where I belong.

Cultural Archaeology
Experience the bereaved landscape of Chhattisgarh

The journey
It all started while exploring the exotic landscape and tribes of Chhattisgarh. Its story begins with a tropical forest, of dense vegetation and rich fauna (findings of singing Mynah, elegant Nilgai). The riverine landscape, the paddy fields, the tribes; some of the best-kept secrets of Chhattisgarh.
With the passing of the journey, I discovered a sudden offset of the dense vegetation – the patches of the destructive
In the process of ongoing construction in cities and the need for minerals in industries, we cannot completely avoid engaging in the activity of Mining.
Why are we not concerned about the tragic effects it has on the natural environment and landscape of the region?
Why don’t we feel the pain of the natives who are forced to relocate?
The topic taken up for my thesis derives inspiration from the background to which I belong. The present condition of my native place and the hidden treasures which it preserves acted as the driving factor which inspired me to return the favors which I received from the place, by the means of Architectural innovation.
“Chhattisgarh” – a land rarely recognized for the treasures it preserves. It is endowed with a rich cultural heritage and attractive natural diversity. Its scenic beauty and the awe it binds you in is beyond expression.
I grew up observing and imbibing the culture of Chhattisgarh. As I grew up I started developing an understanding of the problems at hand, which had started distorting the true identity of Chhattisgarh. Mines encroach the potential agricultural, forest and tribal lands and render them infertile and useless. Rehabilitation of people for mining is a very disturbing phenomenon. I started developing concerns for the land and the people who had to face such difficulties.

Can we not think of a solution by which these lands may be used to create awareness among people?
Can we not think of a solution by which these lands may be brought back to their richness?
Can we not think of a solution by which these lands may benefit the people around?
The vision of this thesis is to develop an Architecture that would

Create awareness regarding the after effects of mining through contrast of dead and live landscape,

To plan for the rejuvenation and rehabilitation of the landscape that would otherwise be lost with the expansion of mines,

To preserve and promote the age-old native cultural heritage of Chhattisgarh.

I wanted to develop architecture so contingent in its character and so strong in its purpose, to learn from the past, to act in the present and to look at the future in a positive light.

Furthermore, it makes the assumption that destroyed landscape will be renewed and put to better use for the future.

Site and the surrounding
Bastar is the southernmost district of Chhattisgarh, rich in mineral and forest resources. It is home to various skilled tribes that are expert in metal, wood, bamboo and terracotta craft. Due to the natural environment, climate and the cultural heritage, Bastar provides an attraction for recreational activities.

My thesis involves the study of an inactive stone mine of Kirandul, Bastar. The proposed area lies between the city of Kirandul and the old railway tracks (to the south and north respectively) and the Bailadila range and coal mines and surrounded by small villages.

i went to site open minded and form a brief anfter interviewing locals,.communities are integral part of design process, Therefore, after a thorough study of the region and relying on the construction of an Industrial Park, in a surrounding area, which aims to become a center of raw materials for Iron industries, I consider it would be necessary to collect and house the history and the civilization of this region in a one site-memorial, a cultural park in the inactive quarry of the area. .

The program
The landscape surrounded by dense vegetation, Industrial and temporary settlements, has a transient character and the changes that occur every day are so dense that they create a feeling of liquidity and variability. This research calls for a program for Conservation and rehabilitation of Biodiversity, creating awareness of mining and celebrating and enhancing the local culture.

Focal point:

Conversion of the deserted quarry site into a network of research, recreational and cultural centers with a view to boost the local economy and protect the local ecosystem.
The creation of a space favoring mobility, simplicity, and flexibility. A space that will combine static and dynamic elements.


Cultural Archeology is a multilayered program to minimize the effect of mining.

The cultural park will have three zones: the first comprises Mining museums, the second, Biodiversity conservation block while the third is Training pavilion.

In particular, the first zone – Mining Museum, would include Visitor Center, open air museum, mining museum, geological museum, and observatory.

The second zone, Biodiversity conservation Center would include: Galleries for new technology and alternative energy source, seminar hall, library and research labs.

The third zone, Culture Center would include Workshops, Training pavilions,
Galleries and Organic Groceries.

Architectural Character
With the value of experiencing space through our senses, I propose a linear reconnaissance walk and a remembrance site that is crucified with rustic Industrial cage and showcases the transitions of interior elements and light.
The walk of the senses serves two purposes: the enhancement of the experience we are currently having of this surreal landscape and the sudden transition experiences, and also the inner workings of the quarry. During the course of the walk, the only constructed elements that the visitor encounters are the Blocks floating on the truss creating a play of dark shadows in the landscape and the path.

The design concept of the museum is to blend in with the quarry’s landscape, by using the mined raw material and Industrial steel turning it into a building material.

The site becomes a Museum and Building Becomes the site. The approach was to have a minimal Impact of built form on the site. The form is simply inspired by the linear dance form of bastar tribes made from industrial setup surrounding site depicting the Industrial cage in the destructive landscape.

The landscape complements the quarry and the minimal vegetation, surrounded by abandoned industrial buildings, some of which are in a rustic condition. .

The aim of this work is the creation of a community recreation area, a space in memory of the quarry, its activity, and its results. My intention is to highlight the existing landscape and to reinforce the experience and the sensations caused by wandering in it.