At first sight, the showcase is intimidating, as you try and read between the lines of the many panels of architectural drawings, lay-outs, analysis, future projections and large models with scores of elements, laid out like a jigsaw puzzle. “These are techniques of urban mapping and the exhibition is a collective effort to look beyond the issues concerning the modern city of Chandigarh and instead, two urban villages— Badheri, which is encrusted in the city, and Kansal, which is on the edge.
Villages in urban areas are considered an eyesore, but we have tried to look at these as a resource, from various perspectives,’’ Sangeeta Bagga-Mehta, Associate Professor, Chandigarh College of Architecture (CCA), steps in to put things into perspective.
The School of Architecture and Urban Planning’s (SARUP) Urban Edge 2015 exhibit has been included on the list of events scheduled to mark Le Corbusier’s 50th death anniversary celebrations in Chandigarh. Over January 2015, grant recipients from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s (UWM) School of Architecture & Urban Planning Urban Edge Award Studio travelled to India, directed by Associate Professor Manu P Sobti.
The team visited numerous sites in Delhi and Agra before their arrival in Chandigarh. Here, they were joined by seven students from CCA for an intensive six-day Urban Edge Workshop on Chandigarh, conducted jointly by UWM and CCA.
“We have been doing several collaborative workshops with under-graduate, graduate and PhD students of both the institutes. Over the course of this workshop, the two “edge” sites were studied, and urban design propositions were presented to the chief architect and urban development director of the city,’’ explains Sobti. As the basis of the India Urban Edge Award Spring 2015 Studio — titled ‘Rethinking the Urban Edge’— these studies investigated the urban edge as both a physical boundary and as a metaphoric concept within the changing, global city. The sites of study are urban conditions that are made and unmade over successive generations responding to complex cultural, economic, political, environmental, and physical transformations in time.
The upcoming Urban Edge exhibit collates this entire work and was highlighted by an opening symposium focusing on this work, titled ‘Chandigarh Re-Think’. The symposium featured local design and architecture professionals, urban legislators and academics and also the students who were part of this project. Population growth, migrant housing, planning constraints, topography, eco-cultural history, view of urban fabric, future development ideas, people in these areas, according to Kashish, a final-year student at CCA, says they hope that through these exhibitions, contexts with people can be developed.
“Yes, we don’t want this to be merely an academic exercise, and these models can be the basis for an urban project,’’ hopes Sobti, pointing to the models which were got here from the US and were stuck at the customs for two weeks.
According to Mehta, the work will be continued at a larger studio and now at the university level. “It’s a proud moment for all of us.’’
The exhibit is on at Alliance Francaise, Sector 36, till October 5.