“We shape our building; thereafter they shape us.”is rightly said by Winston Churchill, in the deeper understanding of how buildings impact us and therefore the surrounding. The very nature of expressing, gives Architecture its position to articulate identities with time. However, in the midst of transforming, there has always been a conflict between Architecture imposing newer perspectives over existing identity of the place.

Project Name: Architecture as Mediator
By: Vaishali Panchal

©Vaishali Panchal

The conflict between the architects to express in the form of newness in the context of existing identity but change in time, demands Architecture to act as a mediation to find a middle ground from going contextual to being contemporary. It is believed, if Architecture values its position in the geographical setting, fits appropriately without creating a stark contrast, versus such a building which is perceived as an object being non-contextual.

“Being adaptive” translates the process of Architecture in building relationships with the built environment. The tangible entity of the place, traces its intangible entity associated with the people. Elements of these kinetic forces: people; in between the static mass: building; forms the base of drawing projections to any development. Transforming cultural identity of the place from their people, their behaviour and hence, their lifestyle manifest the Architectural character for the same.

©Vaishali Panchal

In the hunt of such a context being culturally rich and on the verge of losing their identity in this uncertain way of development, I passed through the memories of my native place: Udvada, Gujarat. My often visits to the place has got me hard edge visualization of growing it as a village to town and city in some years. Wherein, this Parsivillage still exist in its limited radius managing to hold its cultural values rigidly. This urges me to implement and handle the village with utmost sensitivity. Change is inevitable, but growing in a direction in the betterment of the future is what Architect is responsible for.

This Parsi Colony is 200km away from Mumbai. The settlement is the outcome of the migration of Zoroastrian refugees from their original homeland in medieval Islamic Persia. The most important for Parsis is their 1,250 year-old fire that survived Muslim invasion, sea storms and political turmoil, had found a place in Udvada which is now wrestling with industrialisation. Udvada is the main pilgrimage centre for Parsis globally, registering as a heritage village. With youngsters moving to towns and overseas, Udvada’s Parsi population (now estimated at fewer than 100) is dominated by the elderly. And heritage tag, bringing in the tourist, interfering with the sacredness of the precinct.

©Vaishali Panchal

Keeping in mind the current condition and the demand, project here tries to craft new typologies as an urban fitting project from learning of their existing type, a concept introduced by Aldo Rossi. With the understanding of how Architecture is a product of passage of time.


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