Friday, April 22, 2011

Swarm City- The city of my dream...

This project  according to me is a very high benchmark, in the timeline that it is set in. But this is something, I revisit to assist me in working backwards to visualize the city of today.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


The village is almost like a miniature version of a vintage English hamlet itself, where everyone's life in the village revolves around the Home Church, physically and emotionally. The Church bell reminds the villagers of the Sabbath on a Sunday morning, Wedding Chimes or announces the death of one of its villagers. As a matter of tradition, it has been passed on from generation to generation that every relegious ceremony be followed without question. This is in a way a great way of communal harmony that brings together all men, women and children together to share joy or sorrow.

People are of the simplest kinds... far away from the qualms of an average urban man. They are primarily doctors, professors, teachers and a few lawyers. Well, they love to pass on that tradition too. However, they live very simple lives primarily being of noble professions and not wanting more than a stable life, enough to live with their heads high.

Now here is what I love about the village. When I say simple, I mean their lifestyle means straightforward. They embrace nature as a part of their existence. Each house is a natural garden with some of the best plants that grow in its terrain and a mini orchard of atleast one coconut tree, Jackfruit, guava and Curryleaves.

The village became well-known as Monday Market, because in the years between 1950-1980, it became a huge market place, when all the produce of the ghats would be sold for very cheap in whole sale rates on every Monday at Neyyoor.

Neyoor, the vacation town as I call it, buzzes every Christmas, while the village which sang 'Peace and calm the night' suddenly sings 'Wake O Earth, Wake everything'. Children who left for good, come by visitng parents and loved ones from every corner of the world. And whats best, its the season of weddings. Whats followed as a 'Oor Kaadu' tradition, every villager is invited to bless the couple.

Well, I wonder at the diversity we still live in from huge city jungles to humble villages. I am still amazed at the connection and attachment we have towards a place so primitive from complicated urban scenes and leave it behind with the same peace it sustained till then, only to come back another year and awaken it.

Cant cities have a bit of that flavour too? Is it too hard?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Neyyoor, Vacation Town

So, It's been a while. Happy new Year! 11 days too old.
Havent been around for close to a month. Home for Christmas.

18 Dec 09, I headed straight to Chennai from Bangalore. Was there for a few days before preparing for a long journey ahead. The day is 22 Dec. I was heading towards the Cape Comorin to a village called Neyyoor, about 20km from town limits. Its a linear village extending about 5 Reasons that take me to one such far away place is the emotional attachment that my father has to towards his birthplace with a constant reminder to both his children that we should never, ever abandon this place long after they are gone. I guess this is a narrative to every vacation parent to their vacation children.

Neyoor, is a village developed by English missionaries and thus goes without saying that life in Neyoor revolves around the church. They came like a saviour at the time when local backward caste people here were tortured by high cast people over rights and laws. A village with close to 5000 people mostly composed of a the retiring community in majority propostion almost doubles its strength in summer vacations and more so for Christmas. The crowds are from returning baby boomers and their families meeting parents and in laws or attending a relative's wedding.

More interesting things to come... but I am too sleepy to keep my eyes and brains up.

This could give you some insight before I continue this to my next post.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Sunday, November 29, 2009

First Sights

The first instances of taking a deeper look into the city came to me when I came to the city of Bangalore in December 2006, the city I had visited erstwhile in the year 1998 about the same time of the year. For anyone who visits the city leaving 2 years shy of a decade in between, especially on two sides of a threshold of the revolutionary software industry, it would come upon you as a culture shock. It happened to me. The calm garden city of the retiring defence community had turned into a rave of what is now a buzzing business centre. It is an amazing phenomenon to see how the city has flexes, reshapes and accomodates pressures of a growing economy and population. A city's change waves appear in the form of stacks of commercial houses in close clusters arranged along less shadier roads and huge densities of traffic coupled with towering residential complexes to accomodate the huge infiltrations of rural and sub urban population that move in everyday.

Buildings clearly represent a changing timeline, the city's vibes and its history. The question I first posed to myself is where is the Indian city heading while seeing through such rapid urban agglomeration and does it require its people to act and behave in it in a certain way to see better urban spaces? more...
-What is the near future of cities look like?
-What does urban design mean to India? Is it about making plazas or platforms?
-How much of this knowledge is required by the common man?
- Where and how are urbanism, economy and sustainability connected?
-Tangible solutions for the now and then. What should architetcs and urban designers set out to do?

These are just a few random picks from a huge box of questions. I am going to set out to answer these questions from my away of understanding urban scenes in India.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

On the skyline

Its almost 17 days since i last updated by brand new blog, but ever since, i have just been waiting for the right thread to begin with. For sometime, I have been thinking, I could spread out my dissertation project on the table and debate it inside out, but today I was determined to write my mind on some unstoppable visuals we are forced to see in most Indian cities. I am taking the context of Chennai to spark this discussion.

These are thoughts based on visually compelling images advertised in most builders websites, which later transform to stand tall and blatant. I am not here to corner anybody, so for those who want a realtime experience of what I am talking here about, seek them out on your own and read the following lines, keeping one of those images side by side as you read.

Here you go.

Monday, November 2, 2009

My first blog. I have started this as a rather impromtu expedition, however with great optimism that writing my thoughts will unwrap many more thoughts hiding and hibernating deep in my mind. I think of an age in the present where we are in constant conflict with infrastructure and concepts of sustainability and an age a little ahead of our times which most of us can only fantasise a telescopic gaze. Another associative interest would be the sense of all that we discuss in its 'Indianess', which is by far, a way of life than a society and a context more than place.

Just a snippet to introducing myself, I am a little over a year out of graduation and I am currently working in Bangalore as an architect. I must say that the time elapsed since has been the one of many, many questions of multi layered intensities bombarding with self derived debates which is one reason why I have opened this blog, to open my debate to a larger arena.

It will take me a while to figure the right argument with which I want to inaugrate. Will find one very soon to keep it flowing.