The traditional poem For a Want of a Nail, which concludes with how a kingdom was misplaced, is a reminder of what’s at the moment unsuitable in our strategy to farming, farmers and our cities. So when a college in a Delhi slum, alongside the Yamuna, wins a global award, it gives hope that issues may search for with inclusive imaginations for our cities. ‘Modskool’, by Social Design Collaborative, which just lately gained the Beazley Award for Architecture 2020, did simply that. It hit the nail on the top by asking a easy query: what if a constructing may very well be dismantled and never demolished?
It all started in 2015 when a social employee with Housing and Lands Right Network, Abdul Shakeel, approached architects Swati Janu and Nishi Sohane. A 25-year-old faculty that doubled up as a cowshed had been razed by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), together with properties and crops of the residents of Chilla Khadar slum. A Delhi High Court order referred to as for rebuilding the varsity. But with evictions as a relentless, may there be any hope of a everlasting resolution? That’s when Janu and Sohane, with the farming neighborhood, imagined a college constructed utilizing metal frames that may very well be bolted collectively and dismantled as nicely. Using bamboo, reused wooden and dried grass, with a gaggle of volunteers and workers, the varsity was hand-built inside three weeks.
However, by 2018, the varsity needed to be dismantled due to land possession points. It was relocated south of the Yamuna and a 12 months later it was rebuilt to accommodate its 200 college students. This time, the staff used the native strategy of charpai weaving, which was ubiquitous within the space. “Not only was this approach the most affordable and employed local skills, but it also helped create a sense of ownership and pride within the community when they saw their building materials and processes adopted in creating a sustainable school for their children,” says Janu.
This is the second 12 months that India has gained the Design Museum-led Beazley Design Awards. Last 12 months Mumbai-based architect Sameep Padora and his staff gained the structure award for his or her undertaking, Maya Somaiya Library in Kopargaon, Maharashtra. Previous winners embody Sir David Adjaye and Heatherwick Studios. In the jury remark, Edwin Heathcote, Architecture and Design Critic at The Financial Times stated the Modskool undertaking is “an elegant piece of design addressing a real critical situation and providing genuine social good”.
But for Janu, that is just the start. Currently, she’s approaching the DDA to current various imaginations to the riverfront. “In 2008, DDA had drawn up plans for the Yamuna riverfront which included biodiversity parks and jogging tracks, and sure we do need that but will it be at the cost of sustainable food production? Many cities across the world are adopting urban farming, especially in the global south, in Latin America and Asia too. In a country like ours, the urban and the rural are intertwined. We need to find ways to ensure our cities can integrate both these aspects. While they may still allow urban farming, there is no room for the farmer in our pursuit of the world-class city,” says Janu.
She goes again to post-Independence accounts of how farmer cooperatives may develop tracts of land alongside the Yamuna on quick leases, given by the Delhi Improvement Trust, at this time’s DDA. Over time, as ambition and strategy modified, evictions adopted and with that elimination of farming communities alongside the riverfront. “This project is about education and questions on participation and right to the city. The school was only incidental,” says Janu.