018. Incremental Intentions

More often than not, in our times,  an architectural work is thought as a complete object -a work which is complete to the T. Any modification, appropriation or incremental act to the project is seen either as merely incidental to the social context or an unfortunate life of the project -with a rare exception in housing projects. In that sense, there is a certain sense of sorrow that is expressed when the project does not match the imagination of the project. This implies that there is an ideal form that the project must take in order to be precise and perhaps even beautiful. Contrary to this way of understanding and working with architecture, this project emerged from the possibility of an absolute certainty that it would never meet the projected idea.

The trigger for this project was the clients interest in using this project as a way to promote a small housing layout situated in the peri-urban regions of the city of Belgaum. Like most architectural projects, there was a dire difference between the budget of the project and clients’ ambitions and intentions. Among the list of intentions included following: 1) Shrine, 2) priest / caretaker’s house, 3) community hall, 4) park. Perhaps, amongst all of these, the only certain intention was to build a shrine for the housing layout. 

So keeping this rather ambiguous set of intentions as the starting point, the project explores the idea of incremental intentions. Since it is not clear how much of the project will be eventually built, one of the strategies mobilised in this project is to translate each of the intentions as specific and distinct forms. Each of the forms are then articulated in such a way that they can be worked out whenever they would get built -or not. This opened a possibility to design the project in a way that it would be a complete idea at every stage of the project. In other words, the project is, rather, a collection of distinct objects that may or may not ever all come together and yet it would be a complete work -in one sense. For instance, the client may end up building only the shrine and yet the project can be considered as a completed work, at that stage -with no remorse or expectations of ever building any other forms. It would also hold true even if two out of the four intentions of the projects are built or a fifth -or a sixth- one is added to the project, eventually.

To the list of the intentions that the client had offered, we proposed certain architectural elements that would make the project spatially engaging 1) two square plinths, 2) veranda that wrapped along the two plinths, 3) a water body as an extension to the shrine, 4) two identical pyramidal roofs over the veranda-for mass congregations. This list of elements are seen as complementary forms to the list of client’s intentions. In that sense, for every client intention at least one complementary architectural element gets built to give the project an engaging spatial quality -at every stage of the project. 

The proposed design consists of two squares intersected with each other at the corners. Each square consists of a set of these objects. Square one consists of the house of the priest and the shrine where the shrine is imagined to be a sculptural object. Square two consists of the community hall and related amenity blocks. 

Location: Shindoli, Belgaum District, Karnataka. 

Year: 2020 – 21

Team: Riddhi Chavan and Shreyank Khemalapure

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