The intense sessions of observation, immersion, dialogues, became the fodder for the sessions in Goa. The office of the Institute in Aldona was formally inaugurated through the workshop. Debates about the informal and formal divisions that shape most perspectives on urban spaces today were critiqued and argued around threadbare, the concept of the tool-house was given the treatment by fire and the complex realms of economic activities and spatial arrangements – resonating at abstract and concrete levels – occupied much thought. What was particularly rich was the perspectives that came from the range of disciplines the participants represented, and the conversations across the Francophone and Anglophone social science realms.
The workshop is a start of a series of collaborations between the participants who will continue to interact and communicate with us to deepen, sharpen and critically evaluate the concepts and ideas that shape our practice. From April onwards, we shall be putting up short blog posts that frame the themes and ideas discussed and emerge from these ongoing discussions. These broadly center around the idea of the tool-house, which acts as a touch-stone for building bigger theoretical frameworks on cities and urbanism.
We are particularly thankful to Vincent Kauffman and Luca Pattaroni, from Lasur, EPFL who provided the basic infrastructure and also bought in a big group from their institution. To Peter van der Veer of the Max Planck Institute for supporting the attendance of their members, to Mark Wigley Dean at the Graduate School of Architecture and Planning, Columbia University, for supporting the participation of Yehuda Safran and Smita Srinivas, and to all our friends who came on their own.
We are grateful to our advisor, the writer Amitav Ghosh who so generously opened his house to welcome the guests in Goa and whose intellectual contributions that evening remained with us all through the sessions the next two days.
Photos by Julien Gregorio. More photos of the workshop here.