Developing a Community Space

After the closure of the module: ‘My Childhood Home’, where I redesigned my childhood home based on the memories and experiences my home had created for me, it was time to now expand the scope of the structure created. This time, I enlarged the house of one of my peers, Eyal, to create a space that caters not only to her family, but also to the community in her neighbourhood. This particular exercise was a time problem, and through rapid questions and quick thinking, I learnt the importance of peer discussions and spontaneity.

Through detailed interactions with Eyal, I learnt more about the socio-cultural and physical contexts of her house. Based in the rural setting of Coimbatore, Eyal’s home was surrounded by abundant agricultural land, and the residents of the neighbourhood belonged to all age groups. This included children, the elderly, and middle class men who had business like timber nearby or worked in shops, and a majority of the community worked in the nearby farms or farms far away. Given the people and surroundings in her neighbourhood, I decided to build a skill-sharing space for her community. The concept was to use produce grown in the local farms to prepare food products that can be utilised by the neighbourhood and by others.

For this exercise, we were allowed to expand the house to 6m above ground level. I created three main spaces- a shop on the ground floor at the entrance, a workspace on the level above where the food products are created, and a café at the topmost level where these products can be tried and tasted by all. The shop displays all the food products for sale. The workspace is divided into production, packing and storage and the café provides indoor and outdoor seating and a walkway through a kitchen garden and the food made in the workspace can be tasted here. This institution embodies the spirit of evolution and independence while creating employment opportunities, imparting skill training, involving the entire community and creating a self sufficient community.

Eyal’s design for her home involved playing with levels and the inclusion of ramps all placed around a central courtyard, which I decided to retain. I also retained the structural configuration of her existing home and swapped the sizes of rooms on the upper levels to cater to the needs of the spaces. Watching the building expand above the ground and develop each space of this institution required many iterations and was a very fun exercise.

Axonometric Model: After making a digital axonometric model of the institution, I added furniture, drew the site context, and showed inhabitation by adding humans performing activities and vegetation.

However, there were a few aspects I had to give more thought to. As suggested by my tutors and peers, I had to find a way for my institution to interact with the rural setting, because right now, it seemed cut off from the surrounding. For this, I must play with wall heights and openings. Further, the kitchen garden and green walkway lacked the depth it needed for vegetation to grow. Instead of having a flat terrace, I could make use of stepped terrace or build an amphitheater there. Also, I had to think more about the experiences of people in each room as well as the circulation spaces. I understood how crucial it was for me to analyze and incorporate all these aspects into my design. This time problem was a quick and fun way to tackle a design problem. It has surely helped me a lot and introduced me to multiple design problems and solutions, which I will make use of in the institution that I create in my childhood home.

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