Tuesday, November 24, 2009

CHANOD











FORMLESS URBANISM



 










There are several ghat cities in India associated to myth, religion & rites. The city close to Bharuch know as Chanod is perhaps less unknown among Indians compare to Banaras, Nashik & Dwarka although it has similar significance related to last rites. The only difference is that Chanod is known for performing last rites for those who met with sudden death. But the most significance difference is that Chanod has Narmada River front with no ghats, unlike the other cities & perhaps it might have emerged with myth which are not as historically deeper like rest of the ghat cities however historical transformation has evolutionary process which may have begun.

How interesting! That we find immediate association with river fronts & new myth. The knocking sound of boats diesel engine across the river banks merged with Brahmins chanting mantras, sugar cane sap squeezer machine & sound of thousands of people moving on white sand along the bank, each is identifiable yet merged beyond recognition. The city comes to stand still during the rain as Narmada floods & an entire region submerges with no traces of its existence, like desert sand dunes. As river begins to recedes, it breathes into life with fresh fragrance of wet sand & calmness of water.

The urbanity deals with agglomeration of people in the natural setting countered with man made built environment in a meaningful coherence. Chanod is different to that. The ancient ghat cities have natural setting, prominent architectural heritage & sense of urbanity which is fairly permanent. While Chanod has huge agglomeration of people in most dramatic natural setting, intervened by formless & spontaneous response for monolithic function, like city rising up from receding water in inherent belief for soul to revisit for its unattended or desirous aspiration during its living years. Chanod has cluster of huge space frame like structure in Bamboo in filled with fabric & hay measuring approximately one square kilometer each. There are number of such cluster on grid iron pattern along the bank. The each cluster is fractured along the grid to form series open spaces & pathways which takes you to several small cluster with place to sit, eat, relax or space for performing rites with no clue of its temporariness. The formation of grid is usually connected to what river has left after flooding & course of new water movement. As monsoon approaches city folds up like mechano set & waiting for new course to emerge after the monsoon & perhaps with new configuration.

The built spaces are precursor to its cultural dynamics while Chanod has its own value preempt the traditional notion of culture & city.

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