BOMBAY STUDIO: Urban Adjustments Negotiating the Kinetic and Static City

Location: The city of Bombay (now Mumbai) with over 12 million residents. India\’s financial center, with perhaps the world\’s most prolific film industry. 5 million of its residents live in slums. A city of startling dualities, bizarre adjacencies and phenomenal energy.Context: The Eastern Waterfront or Docklands of Bombay. Once a thriving Port, this area is now in decline with the new container Port of Bombay being moved across the Bay to New Bombay. The area, totaling approximately 1800 acres (the textile Mill Lands are in contrast a mere 400 acres on non contiguous parcels) forms a critical portion of the city which has to inevitably be re-imagined as Bombay transitions into a post industrial economy. Most of this land is owned by a single agency – the Bombay Port Trust. Like numerous other sites, which have experienced de-industrialization, the Eastern Waterfront of Bombay now sits as a pocket of low-density and underutilized land within an extremely dense urban fabric. Furthermore, on account of its location, the docklands and the warehouses are situated at a crucial urban intersection where not only does disparate physical infrastructure intersect but also varied social intersections are manifest in the environment.Site: The Elphinstone estate – one of many estates developed in 1914 by the Port trust for warehousing. Spread over 25 hectares of land, this estate today comprises of some historic warehouse buildings, empty parcels, squatter settlements (housing approximately 300 families) and a vibrant bazaar that ranges from scrap dealers, to steel wholesaler. The site is sandwiched by one of the densest urban fabrics in the city on the west and a waterfront on the east – positioning it between the absolute extreme densities experienced in Bombay. Today many worlds in the city vie for this space. The Bombay port Trust aspires to sell this for profit, developers imagine this as the new space for global flows, the poor need affordable housing and the citizens at large see this as opportunity for open and public space.Problem: The challenge for designers is how to engage these de-industrialized landscapes with the adjacent city fabric as well as exploit their potential as moments in the city where urban adjustments can be made to accommodate the aspirations of the multiple constituents in the city. The studio will explore issues of contested urbanism, cultural significance and historic preservation as well as engage with ways of reconciling bizarre adjacencies, the coexistence of sharp physical dualities and the emergent issue in the non western world of negotiating global flows in local fissures.Like many locations in the city the coming together of the Static and Kinetic city in one space throws up obvious problems for architecture and urban design. The Static City built in permanent material where architecture is clearly the spectacle is challenged by the Kinetic city that is built in temporary materials and where temporal events form the spectacle of the city. This produces an urbanism that is charged with duality where disparate worlds co-habit the same space- different worlds that understand and make the city in completely different ways. The challenge then is how designers intervene in this condition. Can they accept these dualities as being simultaneously valid? Can the Static and Kinetic city co-exist? Can we design with a divided mind?Program: Public space or the common ground between the Static and Kinetic City will become the focus of the program. This would involve designing a minimum of 60 thousand square feet of built space – which could either be one building that accommodates housing and a public function or could be distributed as a series of buildings through the site. Housing will necessarily have to be an integral part of the program and the existing squ