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The year that was ‘Sustainable Design Principles’

6 December 2012 No Comment

I don’t do bucketlists but this year I managed to fit in the one thing I have been meaning to do forever now- teaching .

So there is the the Master’s program  of Institute of Environmental Architecture, Rachana Sansad, Prabhadevi, Mumbai and I decided to get my hands dirty with them. A class of about 25 odd students in my kitty and I saw it as an opportunity to learn: about the possibility to pass on data and information, to be involved in the dialogue of learning, to play the cruel master with a whip on punctuality and quality and to absorb bits and bytes of 25 walking bodies of life. I had little time with them- four classes in all but boy, did I play Spongebob…

I called my class rather unimaginably Sustainable System Design (Can I promise innovation for next time?), as part of their Sustainable Building Design Principles Course.

(Seriously..) My class lectures focussed on the System Design put forth by Carlo Vezzoli and the LENS competition project that I was involved in: the many tangibles and intangibles of my time in the Creative Sustainability Course found its way in lecture slides. As far as possible with esprit de l’activisme maybe Indian blood running in my vein, I looked for material that was free and open.

The main objective of my course was to bring forward:

  1. Sustainable Product Service System Design (Carlo Vezzoli) in architectural design
  2. Live projects

For the live projects, we worked with Kranti, which is a fairly new and young NGO that works with girls who would otherwise end up in the sex-trade. The organisation empowers these girls with school, counselling and most importantly, a home: stability, warmth and comfort. As with any new organisation, they were in need of ideas:  on how to develop spaces and places which the girls could use and also, provide room for interaction with the outside world. These included the design of a library, living spaces, exhibition space, cafe and bookstore.

To avoid talking-down sessions, the methodology of  teaching methodology was focussed on interaction and discussion. The students got to hear from the Kranti founders and their wee wards known as ‘revolutionaries’. The students arranged a trip to the Kranti residence to get a better idea of how the girls live and interact, their schedules, living spaces- this provided insight that could be used in their own system design projects. And to end with a bang, the Kranti founders and the revolutionaries participated in the evaluation of their works.

In short, the following methods were used:

  1. Lectures- Introduction to Human centric design, system design etc.
  2. Reading assignments with consequent reports- These included chapters from Cradle to Cradle, Natural Capitalism etc.
  3. Final Jury Submission- where the Kranti revolutionaries had much to say.

Five groups were created and here are their works:

Sustainable Design Principles 2012: Group 1

Sustainable Design Principles 2012: Group 2

Sustainable Design Principles 2012: Group 3

Sustainable Design Principles 2012: Group 4

Sustainable Design Principles 2012: Group 5


If all goes well, these projects will see the light of day!!


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