Site and Context:
Om’mukha, which in Kannada translates to the act of Convergence, is a cultural hub, located in the present site of Johnson Market in Richmond town. With Hosur road on the East, Curley street on the West and Leonard lane and Hazrath Ali Abbas street on the North and South respectively, the major landmarks include the Fanoos restaurant along with various other street food shops particularly those selling kebabs in the Northern edge of the site and Masjid-E-Askari on the Southern edge of the site. There is a large ground belonging to the Rashtriya Military school on the other side of Hosur road while there are residences on the opposite side of Curley street in the West.
I have chosen to retain the existing BWSSB water tank in the North and a wedge-shaped pavement in the East, which would provide a better frontage to the site. The row of trees on the East and the large Banyan tree in South have also been major site forces, wherein the large tree became a point of meeting and gathering for the people coming from the Mosque, along with the reflective pool.
The intent of this project is to celebrate the congregation of various people coming in, from various parts of the City and the neighbourhood and adds in the flavour of love for Food. Richmond town is home to the largest Shia community in Bangalore and hence various program elements in the project look at not only serving the same community, but to also spread the knowledge of their culture including history, festivals and food to the other users and visitors coming to the site. After identifying the various user groups coming to the site and the kind experience that is to be curated particularly for them, each of the spaces were designed accordingly.
The basic zoning and conceptualization was based on the access of users going from public to the most private part of the site which also later goes on to become the primary axis of the project. Here, the users utilize different scales of open spaces as they move along the same axis with the public realm having monumental open spaces (public plaza) and the private functions having smaller and intimate open spaces
The program acts as a Cultural Kaleidoscope wherein the character of spaces changes with the type of use and the users accessing it.
The users accessing the various spaces are:
- Market users
- Students for the Culinary school
- At City Scale:
- The Incubation Kitchens and the Culinary school caters to the food enthusiasts from all parts of the City.
- While the Incubation Kitchens help the new chefs set up their own practice in a shift-wise rotation, the Culinary school looks at providing small term courses for people of various age and gender, specializing in Shia cuisine, healthy cooking and baking, along with restaurants that would serve the public.
At the City scale, the public plaza provides the primary space for congregation of people coming in from various parts of the City. There is direct visual contact for people accessing the site from the upcoming metro station on the North East corner and Hosur road on the East.
- At Neighborhood Scale:
- At the neighbourhood scale, the Library addresses the needs of the College students from Baldwin's PU College and St. Joseph’s College in the vicinity. It also provides information on the formation of Richmond town and the culture of the Shia community in Bangalore.
- The Gallery or Exhibition spaces cater to the Artists and Art lovers from all parts of the City. This would also play a huge role in the festivities of Ramadan where paintings of traditions in the olden times are displayed.
- A kids’ recreation centre and ground for playing would draw the attention of the children in the neighbourhood to the various interactive and fun learning experiences.
At the Neighbourhood scale, the central open space bound by the Urban wall is connected to the open space with the reflective pool near the Masjid. This brings in large crowds from the immediate neighbourhood especially, the people who come to the masjid during the prayer times.
- At Site Scale:
- At the site scale, the program looks at redesigning the present Johnson market to provide a more hygienic and comfortable experience to the users and a better selling and workstation to the vendors.
- Food courts and restaurants with large open spaces would attract large crowds especially during festivals and special occasions to taste the various cuisines particularly of the Shia culture.
At the Site scale, there is porosity from all sides of the site and at the same time there is a hierarchy maintained in terms of the open space or transition spaces that they come in contact with.
- At Building Scale:
- The functions that are spaced apart to allow for porosity on the Ground floor are later connected in the higher levels either through bridges or transparent glass walkways.
- At Unit Scale: At the Unit scale, the open and semi-open terraces between different functions, frame views that look back into the City, completing a full circle.
Born in Kerala and raised in Dubai, I am a 4th year Undergraduate Architecture student, who is a passionate learner and a self-driven person who is open to new challenges and experiences. Architecture has helped me sensitize myself to the various systems in nature, cultures and values of people that have inspired me to design and solve spatial problems with a creative yet thoughtful and grounded approach. I am a classical dancer and a big movie buff with love for old songs and stories.
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