Dandi Crematorium

Gandhi and his followers marched from the Ashram through Dandi Bridge and the crematorium site before entering the old city. Similar to how the Ashram Laundry parasites the riverfront and the Sabarmati River, Dandi Crematorium acts as a part of the Sabarmati Riverfront City proposal to re-engage the Sabarmati River with narratology of rituals and narratives of the in-between spaces.

Indian rituals are always respected, and they never completely disappear. In Hinduism, the belief is that life is based on illusion of being in samsara, which is conditioned by karma. Yet souls are able to liberate from samsara by cremation. Cremation is a part of the rituals that reincarnate souls to the next level, to give the souls freedom from their past lives’ sins. In this rite of passage, it requires the combination of fire and water – fire for escape, and water to rebirth. Therefore, dying in Hinduism is not the end of life, it is the beginning.

Carrying this main narrative, this project aims to initiate a rebirth city by re-establishing the relation between the city of living and the city of death through re-engagement with water, boundaries and ecology. The in-between condition of the living and the dead makes up a series of soft boundaries that rely on each other. The new range of liminal transpositions across the territory include the proposal to plant large areas of local trees. Some are coppiced as demand to provide the firewood, and yet, they provide the space for the living, shaping a park with chai stalls and places of rest and repose.

Dandi Crematorium Exploded Axonometric expand
Dandi Crematorium Exploded Axonometric
Project description

Narratologies of Ahmedabad is an architectural proposal based on the inquiry into stories that haunt the city. Traced through narrative figures, structures and places, as well as our own narratives, our proposals draw out a possibility for the future while remaining grounded in the enquired narratologies of past and present.

As outsiders, we uncovered Ahmedabad through the event of The Salt March, an act of non-violent resistance led by Mahatma Gandhi in 1930. Through the study of body and building posture the relationship between the perception of narrative event and architecture was discovered. The anatomy of narratological absence and presence resulted in a series of tectonic speculations in hauntology.

Through exploration and measuring, the unique constitution of the present Ahmedabad was revealed. On a city scale, when put in series, the analyses of the various city territories display narratives of past visions for Ahmedabad, which today are sensed like disparate fragments strewn across the carpet of the city. The proposed Sabarmati City affords the space to bring the fragments together constituting a new possibility for Ahmedabad.

The new assemblage for the Sabarmati City hauntology is tested technologically and ecologically through three projects: Dandi Crematorium, Sabarmati Pol and Sabarmati Business District offer programmes of life and death, dwelling and community, and economy and environment. The new series of enzymatic territories parasite as an architecture of non-violent resistance to neo-liberal compulsions along the riverfront wall to re-engage with wetness to reintroduce the liminality between city and Ganga.

The Carpet of Ahmedabad’s Past, Present and Possible Cities

The Carpet of Ahmedabad’s Past, Present and Possible Cities expand
Narratologies of Ahmedabad Film
Dandi Crematorium Film Collage expand
Dandi Crematorium Film Collage
Dandi Crematorium Territory Elevation
Dandi Crematorium Territory Elevation
Dandi Crematorium Territory Section
Dandi Crematorium Territory Section
Dandi Crematorium Territory Plan
Dandi Crematorium Territory Plan 1:500

The Rituals 

In Hinduism the belief is that life is based on illusion, enabling a person to believe he is an autonomous being in samsara (cycle of life) which is conditioned by karma. Yet, some souls would break through the illusion of samsara from the present life to achieve moksha (liberation). Moksha is freedom from karma and samsara. In Hinduism ritual, reincarnation and cremation are tightly connected. Cremation is to free the soul from the body, enabling its journey to the next level, which aim to let the reincarnated soul liberate from the repeated sins of  samsara. Therefore, the rituals would combine fire (escape) and water (rebirth).

Crematorium In-between expand
Crematorium In-between

“When you spread the ashes in the river, you know it is over. A deep acceptance of death happens for the living – and it is also for the dead.” - Sadhguru

Pavilion Posture

The final step for the cremation ritual is rebirth. It involves the act of spreading ashes. Pavilions are designed to accommodate this part of the journey.

Pavilion Plinth Drawing expand
Pavilion Plinth Drawing
Dandi Crematorium Pavilions Section
Dandi Crematorium Pavilions Section

The Crematorium Order

The concept of the new cremation system is an adaptation of the existing Mokshda cremation system. It aims to have a series of cremation system constructed under one canopy. The local trees are planted around the crematorium, forming a local woodland with chai stalls where it blurs the boundaries between public and private. The trees are also there to supply cremation firewood on demand, which reduces the transportation carbon footprint and unnecessary work labour.

Cremation Render expand
Cremation Render
Dandi Crematorium Cross Section
Dandi Crematorium Cross Section
Dandi Crematorium Back Render expand
Dandi Crematorium Back Render
Dandi Crematorium Wood Tower Workers' Platform expand
Dandi Crematorium Wood Tower Workers' Platform

The perforated brick envelopes the tower and diffuses sunlight during the day, allowing natural wind to speed up the drying process. The wood logs become yet another skin of the tower. The are constantly required throughout the day, and the layering becomes more significant as the movement of the wood logs presents through the perforated brick skins.

Wood Tower Exploded Plinth Model expand
Wood Tower Exploded Plinth Model
Dandi Cremation Circulation Elevation
Dandi Cremation Circulation Elevation

Liminary Boundaries


The continuation of The Salt March narrative and the ritual narrative intersect with the narrative of liminary boundaries. The woodland around the crematorium site can be seen as a park for the public. Yet it is not an ordinary park as the trees that are planted are for firewood production. The chai stalls in the park offer the intersection between the public and the private. For the crematorium visitors, it offers the final chapter for the ritual ceremony.

Woodland Section and Flood expand
Dandi Crematorium Sangath Drawing
Dandi Crematorium Sangath Drawing
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