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Nagarkhana: MCR and AHR Studio at Pragmahal, Bhuj

The Foundation studio for the Masters program in Conservation and Regeneration (MCR) and Architectural History and Research (MAHR) at the Faculty of Architecture, CEPT University was conducted jointly this year. Students of both programs dwelled into the historic environment of the Darbargadh complex in Bhuj, which was their site of study for the semester.

The larger intention of the studio was to investigate the built environment as both site and process of habitation. The methodology of the studio involved documentation exercises and rigorous architectural analysis (of spatial configuration, typology, materiality, and aesthetics), overlaid with narratives of people’s experiences. Students identified their line of inquiry to develop deeper connections to specific aspects of the built environment.

Students of MAHR began working towards understanding architectural shifts connected

to wider transformative forces in Bhuj that would culminate into developing an

architectural timeline for the region. Students on MCR began investigating into the built

environment within the context of the Toraniya Naka (Gate). Their line of inquiry ranged

into diverse topics; some investigated structural and material understanding of regional

architecture of the Kutch, while others delved into studying diverse architectural styles

and influences on ornamentation that were layered over time.

A few students also explored community and cultural connotations that were associated with the Gate through exploring various rituals, processions, and daily routines of the people. The Toraniya Naka was also studied through the lens of a public space or a chowk that contributed to the immediate context. Students explored the complexities of the ‘publicness’ of a historic structure, by understanding edge conditions, material differences and activities that contribute to the social quality of the space.


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