Selected Entries 2019

Into the Graveyard, Alang

Shubham Mahadev
Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute of Architecture, CEPT University  | Mumbai

At Alang, in India, on a six-mile stretch of oily, smoky beach, 40,000 men tear apart half of the world’s discarded
ships, each on a sump of toxic waste. Alang has the identity of worlds largest ship breaking yard with 183 ship
breaking plots. The basic identity of the site is the ship and the scale of the industry. Ship breaking is a labour
intensive industry where the labours work within the toxic shores having heavy metal, lead, asbestos making
it one the worlds most dangerous jobs. As a result of the extreme work and poor housing conditions, the
workers are at high risk of life threatening risks and diseases which commonly results in death. The benefits
of the ship breaking industry in Alang is that it provides the region with an economic opportunity that allows
the recycled steel and other materials to be used by many other industries.
The poor living condition and the poor working conditions of the labours have also become the identity of
the place. The design response was to change this identity of Alang by finding a solution that will improve
the working and living environment without affecting the economic development of the yard. The labourers
working in the yard stay in slums outside the yard. the yard itself has a dynamic identity of the scale of the
ship and the breaking process. The design approach was to introduce a new prototypical mobile shipbreaking
facility to the ship breaking a community of Alang which modernises the process of shipbreaking by introducing
a various interconnected system that prevents using the traditional life threatening methods of dismantling
a ship that allows for self-sufficiency. The design was driven by the process of shipbreaking, a highly dynamic
approach was achieved by structural high-tech aesthetics. The main focus was on the yard zoning which
was to be designed considering the requirements of the Conventions. Creating familial housing conditions
that provide a sense of community and allow families to live and work together which replaces the current
housing slums. The housing will be incremental and will be designed in such a way with open spaces for
interaction using the shipping containers.
The projects get its identity from the scale which changes from a micro level which is the static container
housing for a human scale to a dynamic large scale machine that docks the ship which is designed according
to the scale of the ship. It also has a material identity as the housing is built using the shipping containers
from the ship and the utilities like the marine tarps are used as a roofing material for the dynamic structure
, the marine wood is used for the fenestration louvers. The furniture from the ship used in the housing for
the labourers. Thus the project tries to change the old identity of Alang by making this process safe for the
labourers as well as environmentally safe and creating a hazard free, more productive work environment.