|Structural Design||Descon United Pvt. Ltd.|
|Landscape Design||Satish Khanna & Associates|
|Mechanical and Electrical Engineering||Kanwar Krishen Associates Private Ltd.|
|PHE Consultants||R.K Gupta & Associates|
|Quantity Surveying||MRA Associates Pvt. Ltd.|
Group Housing for DDA at Vasant Kunj
DDA's "Housing for the New Millenium" national competition held in 1999 gets built in 2010
The "Housing for the New Millenium" national architectural competition held in 1999 demanded of architects the search for a new paradigm for group housing. S. Ghosh & Associates' winning entry proposed the unification of the distinct high, middle and low income group sections found in most housing schemes into a typology where the smaller unit types occupied the lower floors as walk-ups and had access to more open spaces on ground while the larger apartments occupied the higher floors accessible through lift lobbies. Additionally a street at the 4th floor level allowed for a movement through different towers and connected the entire site at an upper level. The project was unfortunately stalled for seven years while in construction due to administrative complications within the Delhi Development Authority regarding the land. Construction resumed in 2007 with certain modifications to the scheme including reduction of height and the omission of the continuous street at the upper level.
Modern urban life is characterised by such social maladies as anonymity and isolation. Aggravated by class prejudices of urban dwellers, housing societies become enclaves of exclusion: bubbles of comfort where one does not have to deal with differences of income, background, and education. Social life is restricted to the lunch hour at the work place or weekends in the mall. In our approach to housing a large number of people, we laid emphasis on humanisation of the living environment and creation of opportunities for greater interaction between people of different classes. The attempt was to consciously step away from words such as efficiency, security and amenities and to return to concepts like community, social psychology and connecting the house to nature: the ground, sky wind and sun.
Inspirations for the Design
The shaded bazaars of traditional Indian cities with their colourful liveliness and unique spatial qualities inspired a departure from the anaesthetic planning concepts based on numerical standards. Throughout our design we have tried to reintroduce traditional Indian values of community life, which are being slowly eroded by the aping of western patterns.
An attempt has been made to draw on the positive qualities of the traditional Indian street, the 'mohalla' of late nineteenth century Delhi along with the rational concept of social equity and democracy of modernism. By mixing income groups along with adopting a combination of highrise and walk-up blocks we have tried to minimise the dehumanising effects of high rise living. By connecting the roof of the lower blocks and releasing apartments from the fourth floor, a continuous elevated street is generated that houses social amenities like creches, reading rooms etc. The lower income groups are accommodated in walk-up blocks with access to more outdoor areas than the higher income groups.