THE INSTITUTION VACANCY
With the constant expansion of the city and reduction in public spaces, it’s cultural and social activities are endangered. The city needs breathing spaces where it freely expresses it’s social and cultural practices. Institutional vacant lands can act as reserves for such public activities .
While the city fails to accommodate for several public activities, institutional vacant lands allow them to flourish. These large sites have been informally allowing many temporary activities ranging from celebrating cultural festivals to temporary exhibitions, transforming themselves into cricket grounds on Sundays to casual playing spaces during the evenings. These vacancies hold more value than just being land for the purpose of building luxury private institutions and burying the multiple narratives of the city and its people. People’s claim on these lands should be recognized and harnessed for an active urban public life.
These Institutional vacant lands are like memorials that have witnessed the city’s transformation pre and post institutional era. The introduction of these several institutional establishments in Ahmedabad was a path to upgrade the city’s image through education. Similarly, these reserved institutional lands can act as a medium to preserve the city’s public spaces.
By utilizing the vacancy of these educational institutions which allow various social and cultural practices to play out, we can introduce several of these alternate hybrid public spaces in the city. Accessibility to these lands is the tool that will ensure the co-existence of cultural, social and institutional activities in the city.
The Coexistence of Institution with the Social and cultural spaces.
The institution Vacant land has been accommodating the diverse activities accommodating a small scale activity like bird feeding to the large scale activity like exhibition center , Navratri celebration (Festival) or city protest. Hence this project is a demonstration how the institute could co exist with Public spaces.
The site chosen to demonstrate the coexistence of Institute and Public space has the presence of 2 major institute CEE on the land of Nehru Foundation for development and the Sardar patel Institute of Economics and Research (SPIER) owned by SPIER with the presence of Prakash school on AES land. The site already has a potential of being a public space due to the presence of rich biodiversity which makes it unique in the densely populated city of Ahmedabad. Which still does not function as the public space as its full potential. But all these huge plots stay as an individual island bounded with the boundaries in the middle of the city.
The presence of these institutes makes the site accessible to people very differently. SPIER opens its gates for morning walk within its boundary to people while CEE opens itself for people on weekends for CEE haats (Temporary Markets) and tree walk but again in its boundary. Due to the presence of crematorium, Public space, shrines and temples on edges the edges remain active throughout the day. While the activity like morning walks attracts the morning market on the edge of SPIER.
Thus the strategy is a curatorial strategy by not destroying the existing site and its function but accommodating these diverse activity along with the access to the bio diverse site through paths (which accommodates the existing walk trails), Public spaces (Exaggerating the existing diversity of existing) and rethinking edges & boundaries (where the edge activities also becomes the part of site).
The different paths start emerging which allows people to pass through the site connecting two edges , While the other paths start connecting the different public spaces on site further some paths connecting all these different institutions on site. While these paths follow the existing traces of walk trails. The design accommodates the diversity of the public spaces already existing on site independently yet connected.
Three Different Conditions
Market Edge Design
These Edge is usually active with the presence of vendors. These vendors serves to both the street user and the people who comes for morning walk o SPIER land. Hence the edge is redesign to accommodate these vendor along with the public spaces along the edge.
Edge Design With Temple
The edge design with temple transform itself into public space As the presence of temples attract the public gathering, parking and vendors, These public space than can merge into paths allowing people to move into the site.
Reimagining Institution Canteen as a Public Space
The Different types of proposed paths intersect near the canteen. While the canteen is reimagined a public space with the seating's responding to topography , tree shade and the existing type of seating.