The vast built heritage resource in the country is suffering due to disconnect between the role of the layperson and the expert in identifying what is heritage and engaging with it. The premise of the programme is to make built heritage relevant in the present context and intertwined into the everyday lives of communities; along with involvement of private investors, government as well as nongovernmental agencies. This can only take place by a more inclusive and reflective approach towards built heritage that expands the sphere of the discourse that the programme aims to develop. The current frameworks in the existing field of ‘architectural conservation’ are prescriptive rather than being open to reflection. The programme fills the gap of critical thinking in the field of built heritage by questioning what is built heritage, how it can be sustained and how it can be a catalyst of development through an inclusive process.
The application process additionally includes:
The programme not only teaches you skills of physical conservation of heritage, but also focuses on questioning the definition of heritage. There is a very strong emphasis on engagement with various stakeholders such as the community, government, non-government organisations. Studios are focused on live issues and we additionally take up live projects that involve students as well as faculty members. We intend to create a shift from expert driven singular understanding of heritage and create opportunities of connecting with it in a holistic manner. We not only look at fitting into existing jobs but creating repetition endeavours of engagement and employment.
The programme enables interdisciplinary learning through common platforms across the masters. There is a robust pool of faculty at SSAA and SSPD with open communication channels that foster dialogue and cross pollination of ideas.
The Badshahpur Bawdi is located in the present-day city of Gurugram, as part of a settlement known as Badshahpur. Badshahpur was a census town as a part of the 2011 Census of India, but got absorbed in the municipal boundary of Gurgaon, now Gurugram, in 2012. The Badshahpur Bawdi appears to date from late 19th century in terms of continuity of late Mughal architectural vocabulary intermixed with Colonial. But as per a stone plaque affixed onto one of its arches as well as per the dating done by the AIIS in 2008, it is attributed to the year 1905. This was also revealed during studies carried out by our students as a part of their second semester studio project.
The two-storied structure has three points of entrance, known to be for men, women and cattle respectively. As per various studies done by the AIIS and by SSAA M. Arch (BH) students, the structure is approximately 60 metres long and 10 metres wide. An interesting mix of late Mughal and colonial architectural vocabulary, the Bawdi was built by a landowner of Badshahpur whose descendants still live in Gurugram and Badshahpur. The Bawdi is one of the scarce reflections of a layer of history from British India in the region.
The last decade and a half have seen a huge transformation in terms of the immediate context of the Bawdi. The expanse of land around the Bawdi was cut into land parcels and developed over this period of time, affecting its ecological setting. A primary government girls’ school was built adjacent to the eastern edge of the Bawdi and a secondary government girls’ school further beyond
Highrise housing development came up just 200 metres from the Bawdi and a Sector Road was proposed to be constructed close to it in the Final Development Plan – 2021 AD of Gurgaon Manesar Urban Complex in 2012.
Kaman Sarai Precinct, Gurgaon was selected as the site for second semester studio 2019. The focus was on the main Sarai structure located within a precinct which has multiple historical layers and a strong contextual relationship. The studio attempted to achieve proposals for sustaining Kaman Sarai precinct in the future, based on historic research, field documentation to understand the built fabric, its conditions and possible treatments and future use. The process was driven by establishing the significance of the structure and to also create a platform of communication with the stakeholders to raise the awareness and was driven by the participation of community. The outcome was to develop an appropriate approach to conservation of the building as a part of its precinct with possible new uses, driven by its significance and for the local community.