Co-existence is a simple principle that we unknowingly comply with every day, from adjusting to the day’s weather to survival amongst 7.8 billion people and twice that many situations.
In India, concept of collective living has been in our fabric since ages with joint family systems. Homes were designed with courtyards in the center and less privacy among family members. With the coming of urbanization, nuclear families became the norm due to urban city lifestyle and ease in far transportation.
In terms of planning, in today’s scenario with the growing demand for habitable spaces and lack of land on the contrary, the once Utopian concept has become the key to strike balance between the two.
The yearning for community spaces even in our individualistic lives is resilient. With diminishing safe habitable gathering spaces in the city decreasing, the onus is on architects to incorporate it in the projects. In our residential designs, the concept of collective living is formulated by demarcating public spaces and private spaces.
In our premium residential project at Siliguri, Darpan 88 is designed keeping collective living at its core. The 2 towers are placed on a podium to create a space at the foot of these towers for community to spend time without being reminded of being in a concrete maze by constant disturbance of vehicles. The podium has private gardens for apartments on that level and public amenities spaces for the entire community. This demarcation of public & private, pedestrian & vehicles and open lawns & closed amenities is pragmatically utilized to go from concept of collective living to applying it.
The terraces are given amenities of varying typologies, such as, the 15th floor terrace at Tower Pegasus comprises of spa beds and yoga area which promotes spiritual living; whereas Tower Cygnus consists of party area, catering tables, open lawn which is for gatherings and celebratory purposes.
Similarly, while planning the residential towers, Ananda at Dumdum, reflects back to the native courtyard houses adapted on a larger scale. The project consists of 5 towers which are placed on a podium in a U alignment with a void that forms the centrum. The total volume is divided into individual entities to improvise circulation and impose visual connectivity. The zoning is kept such that vehicular traffic is only on periphery of the project site while the pedestrian movement is in the center of the project. The project is designed so to inculcate the idea of collective living enabling citizens of the residential complex to gather at footprint of the building without any vehicular interference. The central podium consists of amenities such as , swimming pool, seating spaces, game rooms, open lawns; assigned to encourage informal gatherings where residents of all age groups can indulge, to formulate active and close knit havens. The floors above comprises of residences that look into the central space keeping them involved with happenings in the public spaces.
The success of such a concept, which has the potential to improvise social behaviour of an area, depends upon the strategy adopted to navigate and allocate functions to spaces that can create significant changes in the inner circulation and ambiance. These spaces eventuate into public living rooms, metaphorically tying all units and yet establish a collective privacy.
Collective living is a concept that requires immense discussions, negotiations and strategies for both designing and working. With the constant evolution of living standards, it is to become the imminent future of architecture.
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