Representing disjunction in architecture

Exploring the relationship between conflict and architecture   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Human memory is known to be closely related to the place that a person once inhabited. This binds architecture to the core of context. But what happens to these relations with the natural, physical, and sociological contexts in the event of a forced migration? This project tries to throw light on the implications of the feeling of placelessness and loss of identity by highlighting the connections between architecture, place, and living memory.

During events involving ethnic cleansing and forced migrations, people don’t always look for architectural expertise or professional aid to find shelter. This calls for a more permanent solution beyond the present means of emergency aid in the form of curated shelters. Which is why the project lays emphasis on forming interconnections between knowledge of these events and the act of remembrance in order to open up discourse on tolerance.

Therefore the projects tries to capture the vast polarities of the story through the abstraction of the war bunkers (being symbolic of disorientation, discomfort and disjunction) and the forests of Vanni in Killinochhi, Northern Sri Lanka (which served as a place of hope during these hardships). This project was intended to begin a foundation of research and preliminary studies into the relationship between conflict and architecture. The hope for the space is for it to be able to cultivate an active and open dialogue with people — both affected and allied — by providing a much-needed platform for a positive discourse. By exploring the role of placelessness in architecture, an attempt was made to address disjunction of the present through the imposition of the need for critical memory of such brazen events in order to provide platforms of discourse on tolerance and inclusion. Therefore, it becomes important to sensitise ourselves in order to avoid repetition of such brutal histories. For a person constantly under the state of refuge and disjunction in an unknown environment, solace lies in memories of home. The project looks at questioning the need for a critical memory of a brazen incident but on the host soil. Since the project calls for induction of critical memory of a structural condition of society, the site becomes important in positioning this narrative to ensure its easement into the everyday consciousness of people, serving as a reminder of the need for tolerance.

The Nippon Paint AYDA India chapter was a platform where I found myself in great company with respect to the new ideas and concepts that were tackled by my peers and winning the chapter gave me the honour of representing my country at the international finale. The judges at the national finale, along with the organising committee and teams, added value to my project through their strong critique and valuable feedback. It made me realise that a project could be continuously questioned and evolve, as it undergoes the scrutiny of a multitude of perspectives.

Presenting my project to an international panel of eminent architect judges was a privilege. Their outlooks on cultures and human living gave new meaning to their feedback on the project’s current relevance. It felt great to win the award and for the project to be recognised among the wonderful projects from across Asia all of which addressed human-centred issues from different parts of the continent.

The writer is a student of RV College of Architecture, Bengaluru

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Printable version | Oct 20, 2021 4:23:04 AM |

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