Location: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Design Development: 2016 October – 2017 March
Construction Period: 2017 March – 2018 March
Architects/ Designers: SquareWorks LLP Design
Team: Katsushi Goto, Khushboo Vyas
Collaborators: Apartment / www.apartment.gr.jp
Contractors: Nirmaan (Mainak Mushruwala, Husein Khakoo)
Gross Area of Project: 300 sq.m
Project management: Project Makers (Jitendra Jadav)
Photographer: Fabien Charuau
Press Distribution: v2com
Sanitary Fittings: TOTO Handmade Ceramic
Tiles: Yogesh Mahida White Goods
Appliances: Sub-Zero, Siemens
Air Conditioner: Mitsubishi Electric
#7, Southlands is an integrative endeavor aiming to rejuvenate an old 1930 Art-Deco apartment in Mumbai, to accommodate the postulated requirements of a modern-day multiuser collective. The project intends to celebrate the inherent quintessence of a sangfroid ‘Bombay-ish’ precedent with distinct incorporation of consciously designed alterations. Its spatial system has been revitalized to cater functionality, which extends beyond the domesticity of an erstwhile household, assimilating further to reflect an untypical dynamic space that performs in more than several ways.
Like most older apartments, #7, Southlands too, was a typical Art-Deco setup involving multiple rooms structured to facilitate conventional domesticity of an Indian household. The brief posited dynamic multifunctional spaces which served different purposes from time to time, and yet involved preservation of its iconic attributes. This approach called for a conscious restoration proposal which not only would anew the lost charm of a 300 sq.m 3BHK colonial apartment but also addresses the multi-user specifics of a neoteric residential workspace, where
- Living room functions as a multidisciplinary workplace with multiple users
- Dining Hall converts into a gallery or exhibition space.
- Emphasis on contrasting static vs dynamic elements – achieved by a studio- space which is rearrangeable and playful as opposed to beds and storage which portray permanence and stillness.
- Clear segregation of service core from primary spaces.
Despite the pronounced division of existing space, the apartment evinced an ambiguous experience, in terms of internal navigation and functionality. The design principles were thus derived on the basis of five spatial concepts:
- Transparency – through the accentuation of axial geometry; by observing loci of punctures across solid planes
- Natural Light & Ventilation – visual connection across the planes enabling a ‘whole to part’ recognition of spaces in the user’s cognition.
- Centripetal organization – an inward-looking organization with utmost reverence for existing surfaces; to consciously deter any design intervention to the existing envelope.
- Inherent materiality – austerity of materials to show the clear distinction between ‘existent’ and ‘insertion’.
- Simplicity – optimal use of existing spatial elements to create a play between the living and otherwise.
Altogether, this methodological approach tendered a homogenous space, which allowed dynamic functionality in alignment with the variable domesticity of user/s involved. Often when an extant space demands design intervention, there’s a pre-existent spatiality that defines the extent of changes that can be brought about.
Nonetheless, the approach for restoring of #7, Southlands intended to identify and enunciate some of its characteristic spatial traits. With an iconic architectural style such as Art-Deco being articulated through a Bombay-based apartment, the concern was not only limited to what dwelt within the confines of this habitable space but also to reflect the essence of a larger entity – the city, in this case, Bombay.
In terms of methodology, SquareWorks, as a practice, deals with design and research correlatively, emphasizing the specifics of domesticity and its effects on spaces. This project has been envisaged as dissemination of discursive exchange between the two. Here, the aesthetics, render a simplistic finesse with due regard to its contextual synchrony.
Being a residential work-space and an artist’s studio involving multiple users, this apartment conveys an upbeat contemporary expression with aforethought nuances of distant past. All in all, as an assemblage of users and activities, it epitomizes an equilibrium between some paradoxical entities such as ‘personal – professional’, ‘single-multi’, ‘private-public’ and ‘old-new’.
Squareworks, an Architecture, and Urban Design practice focuses on design and research on housing, public space/institution, and urbanism. Based in Mumbai, India and Tokyo, Japan, SquareWorks was founded by architect Katsushi Goto, who has an ongoing architectural practice in both these countries.
Squareworks aims at combining both design and research together, to open professional and academic discourse within the realms of Architecture and Urbanism; whilst keeping ‘drawing’ and ‘diagram’ as forms of knowledge as well as communicative tools. This approach not only supports design development but also questions the limits of professional practice within the current urban environment and city-planning process.
Alongside this practice, Squareworks hosts a collaborative platform ‘SqW: Lab’, whereby creative professionals collectively explore the potential of drawing, as a tool to develop and disseminate multiple approaches of looking at architectural and urban space. https://sqwlab.com/
About Katsushi Goto
Katsushi Goto is a practicing architect/urbanist based in Mumbai and Tokyo and Director of ‘Squareworks’, a design and research firm. He studied Housing and Urbanism at the Architectural Association (AA), London. He has been participating in the BIENNALE OF PUBLIC SPACE 2017 and 2019, Rome, presenting his research on “Public Library as an Urban Public Space” and at UIA Congress, 2017 in Seoul, presenting the research paper “Duality in Drawing – potential of discursive drawing responding to complex city”.
His current research focuses on the domesticity associated with the materiality of an ideal family home and the intersection of politics of public domain and interior urbanism. He is working as a Senior Assistant Professor at Meiji University, Tokyo, to program and coordinate international workshops with seven institutions across South-East Asia. He is also a visiting Associate Professor at CEPT University, Ahmedabad, India.