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Flood Resilient Housing

Copyright © 2014 MAD(E) IN MUMBAI, All rights reserved.

Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh






295 Sq. m

ISET International


August 2013

Flood plains are complex landscapes that lie in between land and water. They enable a fluid space for changing rhythms of river over seasons. Building in the transient landscapes of Gorakhpur must accommodate these transforming water rhythms and make them part of everyday life of its inhabitant.

One must change imagination of water from an enemy to a friend and celebrate it and make peace with it through design.

One must imagine initiating a city scaled resilience as we are talking of a large geography along the river. Let us imagine that each residential plot in the flood plain begins to develop 20 % of land towards soaking and storing flood/rain water. These water bodies become rain water harvesting systems, which collect, store, purify and celebrate water. The houses and neighbourhood spring around these catalysts.

Let us re-imagine a flood resilient house typology of a stilted house. This prototype not only looses relationship with the ground level, but also introduces a stark level difference which one must manoeuvre in dry seasons. We propose a house deeply rooted in its relationship with the ground plane. The house gradually rises above the ground too enable smooth flow of water beneath and all the programs are articulated along that gradual rise in height.

The projects also address the scale of a neighbourhood. Generally the flood responsive houses are thought as isolated houses, which repeat monotonously on the landscape. Our attempt was to create an intimately stitched neighbourhood that revolve around the water body. The site could accommodate two more prototypes along the water body as future expansion. This will also reduce the maintenance cost of the house due to shared infrastructure such as rainwater harvesting and drainage. This cluster of three house and water body could multiply along the landscape in various configurations and develop into a vibrant/lively neighbourhood.

The house mainly uses Brick, Bamboo and terracotta as construction materials that are abundantly available in Gorakhpur .These materials also form an economic alternative for low cost housing over R.C.C. construction. The construction techniques used are also local to the city and reflect the skills of local masons and craftsman. The house grows from methods of assembling brick together and derives its language from it.

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