Reincarnation is the philosophical or religious concept that an aspect of a living being starts a new life in a different physical body or form after each biological death. It is also called rebirth or transmigration and is a part of the Samsāra doctrine of cyclic existence.
The urban fabric of the city of Mumbai with such a great historical and cultural background should experience the similar process of rebirth saving the spirit of the place with its unique context and traditions.
We invent the new typologies borrowing forms and colors from national Indian dwellings but taking into consideration modern rapid urbanization. We install the modules of different typologies into a continuous flexible structural network, which provides Koli and Worli with all the possible scenarios that the inhabitants are able to create themselves.
The new development grows from the Worli Koliwada village, saving all the routes. The territory is divided into two parts, which are flexible, rising and transformable Worli housing with their own facilities for the neighboorhood: the school, public library, a pool, a garden and the floating village of Koli with all the facilities for fishery and fish trade such as the marina, fish farming.
In the center of the territory, the new historical and cultural building appears uniting all the territory and serving as a museum and a touristic and public route, opening spectacular views and leading to the new Hindu temple. We create new open public spaces such as the new fish market, observatory, public squares, open cinema, public swimming pool and the scene to involve both tourists and citizens.
What prompted the project and the approach to this?
There were several aspects influencing our approach. To begin with, during the project development we had urban, ecological, spatial, e.t.c. problems to solve. That’s why the development of our design had to consider all of them. Our task was similar to the task of a screenwriter. During the decisions, we created all the possible scenarios for citizens starting from the life within a single module and ending with a new influx of people.
After finding the right solutions, we had the challenge to come up with a strong concept to unite the variety of functions on one territory, to preserve and to strengthen the unique atmosphere of the whole area of Worli Koliwada. For this, we went deeper into the study of Indian culture, in order to create an architecture that is possible exactly in this place, in India. That was how we came up with the idea of Reincarnation and its implementing into a modular system.
How did you research and explore the site and condition in the city of Mumbai?
First of all, the Arch Out Loud competition was perfectly organized, so we were provided with all the relevant information concerning the city of Mumbai. The competition brief included statistics of rapid urban growth, information about physical and social segregation, the main problems of the area of Worli Koliwada and of the city in general. Moreover, the main threats and other considerations, describing threats to the historic and urban fabric, annual monsoon flooding and rising sea levels, the city of Mumbai guidelines were described in detail.
In addition, we had the expert opinion that was very informative.
As far as we were deeply interested in the cultural aspects of life in Mumbai and wanted to broaden our knowledge, to get more information we found on Instagram and got into contact with an Indian architects from Mumbai who were very kind to answer all the questions we had and provided us with the link to Maharashtra’s building code, so we were able to fulfil all the gaps of knowledge we had during the project development.
How important were the sketches/drawings as mediums through which to test and explore ideas?
First weeks of project development consisted of a constant study of local conditions and searching for a strong general idea and bright imagery. Each of us envisioned bright, but barely perceptible imageries of the future project, so it was crucial to share and explain our ideas in a meaningful way. We consistently transferred each of our ideas to paper in order to share and discuss them.
There was no matter if it was a general concept or an issue of detailing or structure – each sketch was thoughtfully reviewed and discussed by us and our tutors. We implemented a series of drawings, altering them and adding new details after each discussion until we set the key aspects and finally started developing our project using the software. Generally, free-hand drawing had been a long and intensive process of collective transformation of our thoughts and impressions into what our project has finally become.
What defined the language of representation of the project?
The aim of our project was to refurbish and “reincarnate” the environment and lifestyle of Worli Koliwada and its inhabitants. We perceived that as a semi-mystical process, tightly interwoven with philosophical and metaphysical aspects. Thus, it was important for us that images would transfer the atmosphere of a fairy tale – both pleasant and intangible – to the viewer.
That is why our renders and pictures are created in such a bright and sometimes surrealistic manner. We combined lifelike materials and backgrounds with collages, applications, and drawings in different proportions, to show that a border between reality and fiction easily expires, making a fairy tale more achievable than it is usually thought.
You articulate your project through all means of representation, to what extent do you trust that only in this way is one able to fully convey an architectural project?
We used many different means to represent our project because we believe that any single method of representation is insufficient to fully convey our work.
For example, while the final physical model shows an in-depth aerial view of our design for the Worli Koliwada district, the site plan shows in detail the way each of the main public buildings such as the school, historical center, and fish market is connected with the surrounding residential areas.
Also, the layout design of each public building and the residential module is captured in sections in the floor plans. We created colourful eye-catching 3D images in order to show the atmosphere and the essence of the process of rebirth in Worli Koliwada.
We think that these along with our other means of conveying our work are all necessary to successfully convey our project.
What software did you use to both develop and project itself as well as render the final images?
The whole model was made in Sketch-up, from the rough draft to the final idea. We were constantly making corrections and adding more details to it. Our drawings were made using both Autocad and Vectorworks. Using a combination of V-ray for Sketch-up and Photoshop we were able to create renders.