Living Collages: Revitalisation of Najampura Precinct of Siddhpur

Living collages is an approach to convert the Najampura precinct into a one of a kind Heritage experience and urban entertainment centre where these older buildings can serve a new purpose.
map showing the major interventions zones around the precinct and the proposed structures.
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Designer(s) : RITIKA SINGHAL

University : SCHOOL OF PLANNING AND ARCHITECTURE, BHOPAL

Tutor(s) : VISHAKHA KAWATHEKAR

“Heritage buildings often die a slow lingering death, but their stories and secrets disappear in a flash and are lost forever”

Vohravaads of Siddhpur, tell the tales of a very small community in Gujarat. These serve as proof of their way of life, culture, beliefs, development in society, and creation of a distinct identity for themselves. These Christian-inspired Vohravaads, which were constructed by Hindu artisans, were ideal for the Vohras’ Islamic way of life. They look for assistance as they lie abandoned, unable to accomplish the task they were entrusted with at one point in time. They are buildings whose function and significance for one civilization have been replaced by the practices of another. Now, these structures that have lost their significance in time could be resurrected from obscurity to posterity with contemporary means which reflect the glory and loss of that period without imitating it.

By allowing the past to coexist in the present without erasure or blame, this thesis seeks to breathe new life into the stale Vohravaads, which once brimmed with life. This area is gifted with a sizable amount of idle and unproductive capital that seeks a better use in light of the requirements and circumstances of today.

The Najampura Precinct will experience a new rise through the project, gain a unique identity, and develop into a unique destination for leisure and recreation while combining very discreetly with historical traditions and whispering its tale as a living museum. With a wide range of programming, it boosts the project’s viability and ensures easy, phase-by-phase development. The design combines master plan level curation, some urban inserts and pockets, and adaptive reuse of pre-existing fabric.

Adaptive reuse: To survive, older Havelis that are laying abandoned look for new and meaningful uses. The adaptive reuse has been planned at a whole neighbourhood level, where the blocks offer a dynamic and engaging mix of programmes for its visitors while keeping the characters of ancient town streets, to breathe new life into the neighbourhood that appeared to be dying.

Visitors and Knowledge Centre: Visitors would need to be properly oriented if they were to experience a unique living museum that was spread out over a broad region. The centre, an urban addition to the historical fabric, makes an effort to blend in softly by utilising different design tenets and form iterations from the vernacular while simultaneously shattering historical cultural assumptions.

Urban pockets: Although the absence of numerous historic buildings and Havelis has left certain gaps and missing pages, which may not physically hold anything, their ethereal qualities scream volumes and provide a wealth of information to tourists. The installations in these tiny urban nooks help to tell the precinct’s story.

Overall, the precinct’s entire structure works as a “living collage,” blending and overlapping the present with various potential futures. When modern functionality and goals infiltrate the ancient structure with the intention of reviving the precinct—not for the present but rather by sowing a seed of life that will flourish much more in the future.

After all, Siddhpur was intended to be unique and must remain such!