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Housing for Shipmakers - HFC1127

HFC - 1127
CEPT University / in India
1 members
Anand Mata

Proposed program is to make the housing/the settlement of the shipmakers of Mandvi. The city lies in the western part of India, in the semi-desert part of Kutch. It’s a historical town which has savored 400 years of traditional art of ship-making.

The whole process of making a ship takes about 4 to 8 months, depending upon the volume of the ship. Normally the industry works from November to June. They have to finish by the June as the monsoon arrives here. The average size of the ship built here is approx. 15m wide, 40m long and 15m tall. The reason it is called an industry is because 300 crore Rs. of turnover right now. In a year, the industry produces average 125 ships of 300 to 1500 dwt. The industry employs around 2000 persons and supports 10,000 persons counting their family members, plus 3000 associated persons. They make 9 to 10 trips a year. The crew goes to Dubai, Kuwait, Iran, Somalia, Mombasa, Tanzania, etc.

This shipmaking industry is left behind in the race of modernism. Handheld wooden shipmaking can’t keep the pace against the metal one. The proposed program is to give the life back to it and make them self-dependent. The only way to it is their craft, the craft of traditional shipmaking. The place needs to be focused as a community place to produce an identity. Tourism is an option for the survival. As the place is focused and if government try to increase the port activity, the place is likely to become a spot for the tourists to see the ongoing traditional heritage industry.

The initial idea of the design is to retain the environment of the old city where the workers stay. Retaining the built-unbuilt relationship is the priority as it is very important aspect in traditional Indian context. The challenge was to aligning the houses in a grid to reduce the cost while not losing the relationship of built-unbuilt and informal spaces. Approaching the minimalist way and inspired by the old city housing spaces, the grid taken was as low as 3.2 m square. Even though the individual plot sizes are low, the open spaces are shared such a way that it appears to be larger on site and it generates the community interaction which lacks nowadays in housing. Other priority was to reduce the cost as low as possible so the workers could afford it. Using alternative technology, recycled materials (like reused bamboo from ship making, Adobe blocks from nearby the site) and community participation in construction did cut the cost to a great point. The construction system and material choice depend on economic and geographic condition, as this is earthquake zone 5. In the end cost came up to 1, 18,000 Rs. (around 2950 $).

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