Date of Award
Master in Interior Architecture [Adaptive Reuse]
Eduardo Benamor Duarte
Architecture of the past was regarded as a concrete entity, both in its materiality and approach, unresponsive to change within a city. Climatic and societal shifts greatly impact cities ill-prepared to adjust. How can the intractable architecture of the past become flexible? Does the current environmental devastation we’re witnessing demand architecture that can embrace, rather than neglect, such shifts?
Situated in Chennai, a densifying coastal metropolis in India, the adaptation focuses on two key shifts. Firstly, the climatic shifts: the alternating patterns of severe flooding, and periods of droughts. Second, the transient youth population within the city. They both share a ‘need for space’ and the characteristic of being ephemeral or passing.
Historically, the city was constructed over a sensitive interconnected ecology of rivers, streams, and marshes that were resilient, constantly shifting through the seasons. The concretization of the city’s surface has disrupted the natural balance and Chennai highly prone to the impacts of severe climatic effects, often making it dysfunctional under crisis like seasonal flooding. This thesis is situated in one such area. How could the impact of architecture be repaired, to better move into the future? Could the lost ecology on the ground plane be revived vertically as the city rises? Could the lost porosity of the surface be replaced through repair as the city densifies?
The design strategy focuses on closely studying the properties of the water, the terrain, and the marshes as ways of deriving functional gestures from the very character of ‘the lost nature’. Alongside this effort, a porous space is imagined as symbiotic pods within the revived nature to accommodate the transient youth who share a similar need.
Through research and speculations, the architectural adaptations are positioned to unfold over time and are investigated as a way of gradually undoing the effects of the existing urban fabric, while creating space for the climatic and societal shifts as means to provide agency for change.
Thamilarasan, Abinaya Sivaprakasam, "Dear City, give me some space; creating space for ephemeral forces in a city" (2022). Masters Theses. 975.
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