Founded by three ambitious architects, Pratik Dhanmer, Shardul Patel and Vinita Kaur M.Chiragia Design Jatra is a firm based in Murbad, on the outskirts of Palghar district in Maharashtra. Specializing in intuitive approaches towards rural contexts and construction using natural materials, the organization concentrates at providing equitable and sustainablesolutions. Working closely with villagers and tribal communities, the organization attempts to gain a broader perspective generating employment and economy.
Before proposing a design, Design Jatra indulges in an extensive evaluation involving the drawing and documentation of the surrounding context. In its pioneering years, the firm engaged in extensive discussions with the natives of Murbad, municipal authorities and the craftsmen. These conversations educated the guild about the painstaking challenges faced by the countrymen and also informed potential solutions. By embracing the colloquial culture, the firm cultivated friends later serving as clients and colleagues.
Functioning as a contemporary design practice, Design Jatra embraces the traditional wisdom and introduces more resilient techniques. By affirming to use materials available within 5km of the site, Jatra operates in a dual fashion. Sometimes, the firm resorts to tried and tested methodologies like cob walls, adobe walls and jaali work. At other times, it develops novel mechanisms such as ‘ a random rubble retaining wall with weep holes ‘. Weep holes assist in draining excess water from the soil, capable of damaging the foundation and inducing additional load on the structure. While fabricating organic slabs, Jatra introduces bamboo reinforcement for additional support along with a layer of DPC underneath to prevent deterioration from insects.
Aspiring to promote sustainable buildings and preservation of rural settings, the firm has inaugurated a series of sanitation projects, residences and communal centres. With an increase in environmental awareness,Design Jatra’s scope of interventions keeps widening than ever before.
Sanitation is an essential obligation for any building. Poor sanitation facilities not only contribute to the spread of diseases but also result in foul odour, leakage and general unpleasantness. Jatra demonstrated much-needed sensitivity and sensibility while designing restrooms for the Learning Space, an NGO based in Palghar. The firm proposed a wide range of modules from single latrines sized 15 sq. feet each to 1500 sq. ft facilities inclusive of bathing and washing spaces. To reduce the ecological footprint, facilities were constructed without any cement using bricks. Keeping in mind the promotion of a hygienic environment, minimal use of water,easy maintenance and equitability, these restrooms aim at fostering healthy habits amongst young children.