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Uncontrolled urbanization, as a result of globalization has led to a change in the original character and true identity of cities around the world. Mumbai, like many other metropolitan Indian cities, is currently experiencing rapid urbanization.
Today’s car-centric planning has neglected the importance of community life and public spaces, especially in a city like Mumbai, where community is central, and festivals are celebrated with great ecstasy. Over the years, Mumbai has undergone deforestation, migration, and new construction of high-rise concrete buildings to accommodate the ever-growing population, putting an enormous pressure on the available resources and public services. Job opportunities and social reasons have triggered the migration of people.
With an increase in the urban areas, green spaces are reducing greatly and thus is the quality of life of the people. There is a disconnect with nature and natural systems.
It can take many years to make up for the impact of demolishing an existing/old building and constructing a new one. Cost of constructing new buildings along with cost of living in Mumbai is exorbitantly high which is not affordable by all. With migration and loss of open spaces, Mumbai also has a burgeoning need to efficiently manage its waste. Current waste management pattern follows a linear system and most of the waste ends up in landfills.
The proposed design is a community-oriented, eco-friendly model in an underdeveloped region of Mumbai, which will address the social, economic, and environmental aspects as a way to enhance the public realm in changing times. ‘Placemaking’ is emphasized as an important catalyst in the reuse and revival of an underutilized commercial complex. Also, a circular economic waste management center for the community has been proposed in which materials will be reused or recycled and useful items will be diverted away from the landfill.
Four existing buildings have been retained with minor interior alterations and new uses have been proposed which would bolster public welfare. The existing layout of the complex has a large central open space (repurposed as a courtyard) which responds to the local hot and humid weather of Mumbai and single-loaded corridors provide a great visual connectivity, along with a buffer from the scorching heat. Adaptive reuse has been thought about not only at the building scale but also at the site scale due to the growing concerns of stormwater flooding and improper rainwater management in Mumbai
By retaining the existing structures, embodied carbon, resources, and waste can be reduced significantly. Likewise, Operational carbon can be reduced by the proposed sustainable systems and strategies for energy efficiency.
A global level crisis, like the ongoing pandemic, is an extreme, yet crucial factor to consider how architecture can respond to the changing times and situations. The future, flexible re-use of some spaces from the community center has been considered to make the place functionable during any crisis which can accommodate a larger gathering of people.
The proposed design will help transform the existing system from degenerative to regenerative.
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Rhode Island School of Design
TU Delft / The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Delft University of Technology
School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi