Dye & Dustscapes provides a methodology for the urban design of Ahmedabad, responding to the arid desert of the Gujurat climate, the new imperforate edges of the Sabarmati Riverfront Development and the desire to redistribute the water, economy and culture according to enriched ecological relations.
A city regarded as one of India’s industrial and economic hubs is at risk of submitting to the abysmal edge of its New Walled City. The Riverfront project has created a void in the terra, overwriting the temporal flows and fluctuations of the Sabarmati River during the three main seasons, of Summer (March to June), Monsoon (July to September) and Winter (November to February), to a static condition of wet-dry opposition.
Nicknamed ‘The Manchester of the East’, we understand the significance of the traditional processes used in the manufacture of textiles, and the natural dye processes which have been lost with the introduction of automation and synthetic dyes. We use Madder, a plant dye native to Gujarat, as an apparatus to realise a new enzymatic urbanism that reinvests in the textile industry and the historical rhythms of the now overly regulated Sabarmati.
We view Ahmedabad as a cloud of dust, exacerbated by both the crumbling walls of the Old City and the dry landscape of the New Walls. The dust cloud is harnessed by rhythmic redistribution of wetness, with patterns of adherences formed by fragments of the Old Walls, kite strings and stained ground. Through the process of tooling and wetting the dust, the Dustscape becomes a sublime, moist, fecund and yet productive landscape.
Situated on the East side of the Old City, Kalupur Darwaja was often used as a gateway to bring goods into the city due to its proximity to the railway and nearby textile mills. Intensely measuring the gate enabled a deeper understanding of the situation with which we could align ourselves, and from this, we were able to form the beginnings of our thesis. Stepping into the space surrounding the bastion, we found ourselves in an urban oasis. The chaos of the busy junction outside fell away, and the small garden with several tombs nestled inside emitted a phenomenal aura that provided us with much inspiration.
Our measurements were not only empirical but also phenomenological, recording the emotional and ephemeral aspects of the situation. Dust manifests itself everywhere, our path from Rani No Hajiro to Kalupur Darwaja can be measured in the dust we created, moved, and left behind.
We understand the relationship of Ahmedabad and the Sabarmati through the presence of 3 things, the temporality of the river, the territories of the Textile Industry, and
the aura of ancient Ahmedabad manifested through the mosques and tombs hidden inside, and outside, of the Old City.
Dye & Dustscapes seeks to penetrate the hard edge of the Sabarmati Riverfront, and excavate the landscape, making it ready for the coming of new development. The
Dustscape will change throughout the year, becoming saturated with embodied wetness in the form of lush gardens. As the monsoon season ends and wetness drains away, small pockets will emerge where water is held, and oases nestle within the desert dryscape. to penetrate the hard edges and excavates the landscape, making it ready for the coming of new development. The Dustscape will change throughout the year, becoming saturated with embodied wetness in the form of lush gardens. As the monsoon season ends and wetness drains away, small pockets will emerge where water is held, and oases nestle within the desert dryscape.
The School of Dye Technologies is the first in a series of buildings that occupy the new landscape. It is anchored in the ground by deep concrete walls, which rise up to support a skin of clay tiles, made from the Riverbed Clay found downstream in the Sabarmati River. Internally, the building is hung between the walls, internal spaces
are defined by screens that allow air to move laterally through the building without resistance. Internal spaces lead outside, with stairs leading out into dye gardens for the growing of natural dye plants, and to a covered external workshop with dye baths for practical teaching.