Collaborative Lab is the ideating / research space of the studio, where difficult and impossible hypothesis are tested, calibrated and refined for them to be deployed and absorbed into real time projects. It also functions as collaborative platform, where the studio partners with experts from different fields, Governments and other research organizations to investigate ideas that are impactful.
Recently, Collaborative Lab, along with Building Science Lab, College of Architecture, Trivandrum (CAT) partnered with Government of Kerala’s department of education to Design Audit all the public schools in the state to extensively map the existing infrastructure. The audit shall serve as a base to improve existing facilities and to outline future strategies in designing educational spaces in the state.
The Project Brick is an attempt to map this incredible narrative around brick; as a basic building block that shaped not only individual buildings, but in cases, the entire cities. But, the Brick Story has some unexpected twist in plots in the current reality of renewed environmental goals, resource utilisation and the overarching impact on ecology and environment; particularly in the wake of rapid urbanisation and the threat it poses to the ecological balance, cultivable land and the over-all resilience. Though touted as one of most environmentally and contextually appropriate materials till the later part of last millennia; many countries are restricting and pushing for innovations with lesser carbon and ecological foot print in the manufacturing process. One extreme case may be, China banning the production of traditional bricks all together.
Equally important is the conversation around ecologically and environmentally responsible processes and practices around the world. Wapan may be one of the most poetic ways to reuse and recycle; popularised in the projects of Wang Shu, but it also a reflection of the time and a critique on preservation of heritage or the lack of it, in contemporary societies that are undergoing rapid modernisation.
The exhibit draws attention on ethical relation between urban centres and the surrounding hinterlands and how the latter subsidises the former in its voracious consumption, adversely impacting those communities. The new urban strategies call for re-evaluations of the old models for resilient, liveable cities; while maintaining the ecological integrity of the surrounding hinterlands along with urgent focus on food security of urban centres. The industry has also embraced change and invested in making the process markedly less inclement to the ecology and environment. The exhibit also explores some of the notable examples and their contribution in the production of contemporary architecture.