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sP+a at Seoul Biennale

Invited to participate in the Collective City themed Seoul Biennale SBau 2019 by DIRECTOR Francisco Sanin and CURATOR: Beth Hughes, we curated a mini-section of Indian Practices for the Cities Section as well as installed the studio’s research and architectural work within the Thematic Section in the main hall at the Zaha Hadid Architects designed DDP building.

 

 

Cities Section :

The practices presented here from India demonstrate a variety of collective forms classified within four operative formats: 1. Celebratory/ Temporal/Ephemeral Collectives 2. Spatial Collectives 3. Memory/Historical Collectives 4. Activist/Resistant Collectives. Each of the forms of practices brought with them particular agencies and projective capacities – design, art, research legal instruments, mobilization for marginalized communities, temporal events, urban conservation or even provocations- which together keep the plurality of the urban space active and engaging.

 

 

Thematic Section:

In this section we documented though our studio’s work, the evolution of the practice into four distinct formats – practice , research collaboration and collectives.

Image Credits: Tae Yoon Kim

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Sameep Padora: letter to a young architect

Hindsight is 2020, and looking back I probably learned more from failures (and there have been a few) than I did from success. However, if there is just one thing I would recommend to a young student architect, it would be to inculcate doubt. For as long as I can remember, doubt has been the only consistent part of my process. It would not be wrong to say that negotiating this singular condition is the pivotal design operation for almost every project I’ve worked on.

Doubt is the acknowledgment of not knowing, and a jumping-off point for the process
of exploration.

Question everything. Your own ideas included.

Perhaps Richard Feynman’s dogma could be one of the ways to navigate our polarising world of binaries:

‘If we will only allow that [doubt], as we progress, we remain unsure, we will leave opportunities for alternatives … In order to make progress, one must leave the door to the unknown ajar.’

Sameep

Mumbai, India
27 July 2020

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This building designed to flood is a glimpse of things to come

In India, the torrential rains come once a year and can cause catastrophic flooding. And these floods are only going to get worse: A 2017 study found that the monsoon in northern and central India has steadily strengthened over the last 15 years, at least partially due to rising land and sea temperatures. At one metal parts factory in Mumbai, located near a body of water that forms during the rainy season, the architect Sameep Padora has designed a clever solution for when the monsoon flows and the area floods.

Though it’s not immediately obvious, Padora’s design is tailored to the cycle of flooding. Putting the factory’s employees and equipment on the building’s ground floor would mean halting work when the inevitable floods from the monsoon inundated the space. Instead, Padora created a beautiful depression beneath the cantilevered building’s first floor, giving the waters a place to collect and protecting the workers and equipment from the rain.“This low-lying part of our site is hence a natural receiver for groundwater levels that rise up during the monsoons,” Padora tells Co.Design in an email. “We decided to retain this natural seasonal occurrence rather than keep the water out.”

The depression, nicknamed the “Concrete Void,” can hold 185,000 gallons of water, and, if it continues to overflow, the water will be routed into storm drains. A concrete passageway enables workers to cross the void with ease.

The design is also akin to resilience strategies in the Netherlands, where the Dutch government has deliberately created public squares–or even sports fields–that can act like floodplains when the water begins to overflow, doing double duty as public space and stormwater management. The idea is to work with the water, understanding the way it flows and designing structures to accommodate it.As storms get more intense with the impact of climate change, this kind of resilient architecture will be far more effective than simply building a wall to keep the water out.

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(re)Coding: In the works

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The Maya Somaiya Library wins Archdaily’s Building of the Year 2019!

– We were on the Discovery Channel India show, India’s Best Jobs hosted

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WINNER – GLOBAL ARCHITECTURAL COMPETITION Studio Sameep Padora and Architects wins the Global

The National War Museum will be an institution to collect, preserve, interpret and display military artefacts, portray significant events of our nation’s wars and conflicts and related objects of historical importance for education and promoting patriotism. The proposed site for this museum is Princess Park near India Gate.

Check out our entry >>

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FIRST PLACE The results are out. Maharashtra Nature Park​, Team City Collaborative wins the competition

Mumbai, the financial capital of India, is often deemed as the city of dreams, hopes and aspirations. It may be all that and more, but there is one thing that the city is always in dire need of – open spaces. With the imagery of a concrete jungle at large, the city seriously lacks in green spaces.  Some amount of relief is provided by the green pockets in the form of Sanjay Gandhi National Park at Borivali and Maharashtra Nature Park in Sion. The latter, although lesser known, is an important ecosystem, built on a land that was once a dumping ground. It is unfortunate, that in a city that craves green space, there thrives a 37 acres’ park in the heart of the city, yet unused to its full potential. In the hope of tapping into that potential, and enticing more visitors, MMRDA set a plan in motion to facelift the park.

Mumbai’s MMRDA and Observer Research Foundation (ORF) then organised an international design competition to execute the facelift. The recently announced winner all set to redesign the Park, is the Mumbai-based firm Sameep Padora and Associates (sP+a) in association with Design Cell & Ratan J. Batliboi Consultants with Schlaich Bergman & Partner, and Ladybird Environment Consulting. The winner was elected from a total of 30 reputed teams from around the globe. The jury handpicked 8 teams, out of which 4 were shortlisted. After a meticulous screening, 2 finalists were selected and conclusively a winner was decided.

Under the guidance of Park Director Avinash Kubal, the space has been transformed from a wasteland, into a flourishing green belt, supplying much needed oxygen to the city. The combined efforts of the team in the form of conservation and waste management projects have given a new life to the park. Today this 37 acres of solar powered park is a taciturn retreat away from the flurry of the city. Located on the southern bank of Mithi river, around Dharavi, this park was intended to be a medium to educate people about nature. When it was opened to public in 1994, 3 lakh visitors per annum were anticipated but the actual number was a meagre 5000. The main reasons deduced were polluted river, lack of promotion and lowly upkeep. It is estimated that around 13 acres of the park is used for defecation and encroachment by slum residents.

An arduous and challenging task by itself, the brief talks about a clean-up of the polluted Mithi river. Winning architect, Sameep Padora believes that the key to the project is a clean. “For the river bank, we have planned a flood-plain, which is undeveloped land for the river to overflow into. To improve the quality of water, we have planned cultivation of greenery along its edges. We have also planned to check the soil quality of the park.” The brief also mentions expansion to the 17 acres of forest like zone of the park. The architectural language of the proposed knowledge centre and other built forms is expected to be inspired by nature. Due to its location, and the proposed bridge, the project will have to cater to the needs of both; the slum area of Dharavi at South Bank and upper class BKC at the north end.

The revamping of the park that grows alongside the Mithi river, includes a very vital development, the Mithi River Bridge Project. The brief of the project states, “The bridge design must sync with the modern twenty-first century architecture emerging on the Mithi River’s north bank at the Bandra Kurla Complex. At the same time, it should naturally seam in with the forest-like environs of the Maharashtra Nature Park on the south bank of the river beyond which, it must connect to nearby transport hubs. This vital pedestrian connectivity is expected to see over 50,000 users daily and is intended to herald a new wave of pedestrian-friendly infrastructure throughout Mumbai and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. It has a compelling transport case and will support the BKC’s growth in the decades to come. The bridge will also serve as an important feeder to the MNP.”

Padora intends for the bridge to be seen as a destination rather than just a connect between the MNP and BKC. The team at sP + A, spoke to people living in Dharavi, and discovered that they wanted a view of the BKC and the sea beyond it, from the bridge. As for the BKC side, he fantasizes people parking their cars and taking a stroll in the park. Rashmi Parkar, landscape urban designer at the Ratan J Batliboi Consultants said, “We wanted to include as many amenities as possible. So, in our plan, the bridge over the Mithi River would be open to all and free of cost, which will be a boon for slum-dwellers in the area as well as the corporate crowd of BKC. We will also segregate the the activity area from the forest, to retain the greenery. In the activity zone, we have planned Interpretation centres, libraries and welcome centres for kids and nature enthusiasts.”

She also mentioned a pedestrian bridge dedicated exclusively for pedestrians and cyclists, which is a first in the city. “Instead of the usual 9 metres width, we will extend it to 15 metres, with ‘pause spaces’ for people to sit and enjoy.” In the design proposed by the winning team, the pedestrian bridge deviates from the vehicular bridge at some point to keep the noise at bay. It widens at two places to accommodate a range of activities to reconnect people with water and open space.

A matter of grave concern was the obscurity of the park and drawing more visitors. Padora observes that passers-by, who are unaware of the park, don’t get a sense of what lies beyond. Their proposed plan includes elevated structures that give a sneak peek into the park, in addition to enhanced branding.

Also part of the proposal is an Amphitheatre, viewing platforms, a reservoir, cafeteria, library and canopy walks. Involved urban designers have also planned for a floating boardwalk along the fringes to enjoy view of the mangroves and mudflats. The winning team will soon commence work with the MMRDA upon receiving approval from local authorities. As promising as the proposal is, it weaves a different picture in the minds of the spectator. We hope to see the picture shape into reality soon.

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sP+a is a part of Bandra Collective

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Our cafeteria pavilion at KJ Somaiya IT college in Sion on ArchitectureLive.

K.J. Somaiya IT Cafeteria Pavilion, by Sameep Padora and AssociatesThe site for the new building is flanked on the west by an existing adjoining 8 storey engineering college building within which the café kitchen is located and on the North by the studio’s earlier project for an Information Technology college building.

K.J. Somaiya IT Cafeteria Pavilion, by Sameep Padora and Associates
Exploded View

 

The Café Pavilion a partially open dining space, is an addition/extension to an existing indoor cafeteria at the K.J. Somaiya Institute on their Sion campus in Northern Mumbai. The pavilion was designed to accommodate the dining space as well as create a physical link between these two existing buildings with a brick amphitheatre as the central pivot. Designed as a continuous platform, the dining space plinth weaves between existing trees, connecting both the buildings covered by a light translucent roof that floats above. The multi-wall polycarbonate roofing is aligned to match the height of the light shelf of the neighbouring IT building. The roofing membrane is suspended from a beam structure above the membrane so the roof plane appears continuous from below, with occasional shadows of tree foliage falling on it thus animating the space below.

K.J. Somaiya IT Cafeteria Pavilion, by Sameep Padora and Associates
Exploded View

The beam structure is held in place by peripheral circular columns which hold light fixtures as well as a cantilevered fixed seat all along the periphery of the plinth. This single detail of the column to seat, column to beam and beam to the roof membrane structures the entire project. The edge of the multi-wall polycarbonate roof structure hence stands independent of the columns making it appear light and independent of the vertical support.

 

Project Facts:

  • Project Name: K.J. Somaiya IT Cafeteria Pavilion
  • Architecture Firm: Sameep Padora & Associates (sP+a)
  • Design Team: Nikita Khatwani, Subham Pani, Aparna Dhareshwar,
  • Completion Year: 2019
  • Built Area: 1000 sq m
  • Project Location: Mumbai, Maharashtra. India (https://goo.gl/maps/Dzog7Mij1gS2)
  • Photographer: Sergio Ghetti
  • Structural Consultant: Rajeev Shah
  • MANUFACTURERS / PRODUCTS LEXAN multi-wall polycarbonate JSW Steel Sections
    Lighting by Tulip Corporation
    Kota Stone Flooring
    Jalaram Brick
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Lockdown Learnings with the Pritzker Laureate Balkrishna Doshi