JJ: Affordable Housing (Mumbai)
Affordable Housing Programme at Sir JJ College of Architecture, Mumbai (2011-2012)
Curated by URBZ/Urbanology @ Sir JJ College of Architecture, Mumbai
Sponsored by Lafarge Studio+
Affordable housing is seen as both, a high social priority by the government and NGOs as well as an unprecedented financial opportunity by developers. The result is the large-scale production of low-cost housing blocks which quickly turn into vertical slums. In the meanwhile, local contractors and end-users are building far more numerous housing units of better quality at lower prices in Mumbai’s many unplanned settlements. Often dismissed as slums, locally developed neighbourhoods produce a powerful counter-narrative to the mass production of low-cost housing. This program brings together architects, engineers, contractors and end-users to explore this dynamic sector and innovate in the field of affordable housing.
Lafarge’s Studio Plus sponsored a four-month long programme on affordable housing that combined seminars, fieldwork, a workshop, a studio, a conference and an exhibition. This programme was held at Sir JJ College of Architecture in Mumbai and organized conjointly by URBZ/Urbanology and JJ Faculty members. About 60 fourth year architecture students participated in the programme from start to finish and made it a success. The programme was organized as follows:
Affordable Housing Seminar: Dec 5th, 2011 to Jan 22nd, 2012
Faculty and guest lecturers: Mustansir Dalvi, Yashwant Pitkar, Rahul Srivastava, Matias Echanove, Ayaz Rajgara, Ashley Fiahlo, Supriyo Bhattacharya, Jal Arya, Alexis de Ducla, Poonam Mulchandani and Sonia Faleiro.
The seminar was held twice a week over a 3 hours period for a period of six weeks. It involved guest lectures, discussions and fieldwork in various parts of the city. It aimed at giving a theoretical and practical introduction to the field of affordable housing from the point of view of incremental, local development. Students interacted with contractors in groups and studied the construction of small houses in locally developed neighbourhoods around the city. The houses they studied typically cost between INR 2 to 8 lakhs. Students used their architectural backgrounds to document and analyze everything that is related to house-building, including construction techniques, materials and finance, with a focus on processes rather than final products. In this phase of the program students were given lectures on the production of housing and habitats in unplanned neighbourhoods in Mumbai. They also engaged in fieldwork, spending as much time as they could with contractors in Dharavi, Shivaji Nagar (Govandi), Bhandup and Nerul.
Contra-CT Workshop: Jan 23rd, 24th, 25th, 2012
Resource persons: Rajeev Kathpalia (Ahmedabad), Rakhi Mehra (Delhi), Marco Ferrario (Delhi), Sameep Padora (Mumbai), Poonam Mulchandani (Auroville), Alexis de Ducla (Chennai), Ritu Mohanty-Padora (Mumbai), Jean-Michel Laye (Chennai), Thomas Demschner (Lyon).
The workshop was held over 3 full days. It included practical work in small groups, collective brainstorming sessions and a mini-exhibition (internal to the school). It aimed at digging further into the conceptual, architectural, technical and creative aspects of local construction. It allowed students to express their own visions through the development of proposals. They had the opportunity to confront their learning from the field with the expertise of professionals in the field. At the end of the workshop, the students had a good foundation for their studio projects. The workshop happened between the phase of deconstruction; when students learned from the field, and before the reconstruction phase; when they were asked to imagine a larger affordable housing project based on their learning. Students presented the documentation they had produced in the first 6 weeks of the programme. Then they talked in greater detail with the guest resource people about all the aspects of housing development (finance, labor, materials and technical) and tried to imagine how they could optimize the construction process of a typical house, to the maximum extent possible. The students’ proposals were then presented to the contractors with whom they had worked during their fieldwork.
Homegrown Cities Conference & Exhibition: March 29th, 30th, 2012
Speakers: Claudio Acioly (Nairobi), Michael Bell (New York), Bijal Bhatt (Ahmadabad), Amita Bhide (Mumbai), Mustansir Dalvi (Mumbai), B.V. Doshi (Ahmadabad), Alexis de Ducla (Chennai), Matias Echanove (Mumbai), Marco Ferrario (New Delhi), Pankaj Gupta (Mumbai), Rajeev Kathpalia (Ahmadabad), Rakhi Mehra (New Delhi), Marc Mimram (Paris), Rajiv Mishra (Mumbai), Sameep Padora (Mumbai), François Perrot (Paris), Yashwant Pitkar (Mumbai), Rahul Srivastava (Goa).
The exhibition gave the students an opportunity to showcase their work in the two phases of the programme. It not only features their documentation of local housing construction, but also the ideas they produced during the workshop and their proposals for a 100 unit affordable housing project. The conference brings together affordable housing experts from around the world and from various fields including architecture, industry, research, non-profit and international agencies. The aim of the conference is to look at the potential for creative collaborations between actors in the field, to support the local production of affordable housing and enhance its quality.