Published: 04th September 2017
Discovering design: These students from Midas Architecture College took their designs to the streets
Over a 100 students from Midas Architecture College were a part of the urban design initiative that involved documenting, analysing and designing proposals for the Chennai Transit corridor
It was a holiday at Pallavaram Sandhai, an uncharacteristic hush added to the tension as a group of final year architectural students stood in a make-shift tent displaying their work of more than 40 days. Over a 100 students from Midas Architecture College were a part of the urban design initiative that involved documenting, analysing and designing proposals for the Chennai Transit corridor. On August 25 and 26, they displayed their proposals to local people in Pallavaram and Tambaram.
For R K Ananya, the student representative at the event, the evening was about taking idle knowledge from the classroom to the people that really mattered. “The idea was to bring a balance between the design that the city needs and what the people living in it want and deserve,” she explained. Ananya was a part of 6 teams that studied chosen areas in Pallavaram, Tambaram and Chetpet.
The idea was to bring a balance between the design that the city needs and what the people living in it want and deserve
R K Ananya, Student, Midas Architecture College
After the demonstration to the public, the proposals will be presented to local governments to implement or not as they see fit. “Usually, urban design is handed out to foreign companies without taking one look at the needs of the people living in those areas,” said Xavier Benedict, Senior Professor at Midas. “We wanted our students to take part in this because we wanted to prove that there is a better way to do urban planning.”
Divide and school: The students had been divided into groups to study the different areas of Architecture
After the initial lull, people in the market came to life. With constructive criticism and their deep knowledge of the locality’s history, they approached the students with a barrage of ideas and queries. “The people’s response was amazing, they had so much to give.” said Rahul Raj, a final year B Arch student. “The only drawback was the language barrier. We didn’t realise that the terms we use in our English syllabus would meaningless to the people here. But we learnt a lot when we had to translate terms as basic as ‘urban design’ to the people. This is definitely something we’ll have to keep in mind in the following years.”
We wanted our students to take part in this because we wanted to prove that there is a better way to do urban planning
Xavier Benedict, Senior Professor, Midas Architecture College
The students had been divided into groups to study the different areas taking into consideration the elements of FEST, the financial, economical, social and technological needs of the people leaving in each of them. “I’ve never looked at a city this way!” confessed an overwhelmed Ananya. “There was so much to each place that we found. Every single place is a structural specimen and it changes the character of the people in it. As a student of architecture, it was amazing to see the people that we were designing for and vice versa.”
The students and their equally excited audience are uncertain about the fate of the proposals that brought the market back to life. But Ananya’s eyes glow with enthusiasm as she takes down notes from a few women who had just arrived on the earliest trains back from work. “As future architects, it’s important to look into the faces of the people we are going to work for. We found so much here that we could never have learnt in the confines of four walls,” she asserts.