MICHAEL ANSTASSIADES: One evening we walked out of the studio and Bijoy said to me I’m going to show you something. We walked through this narrow slither, which was basically sandwiched between the outside wall of a warehouse and the boundary wall of a property and in there was a series of dwellings. The light was very low and the lights inside those dwellings were on and it was an amazing experience.
BIJOY JAIN: We sort of define them as unauthorized structures that exist within the city and 50% of Mumbai consists of these buildings. They’re made of found materials from wood, metal sheets, plywood, so these are dredged materials from the city and they are quite noble in their quality for example their entire floor would be made out of marble inside and though the space might be a few meters by a few meters, they have a richness and a dignity I would say within them.
What’s critical actually is we are taking the natural light coming from the roof, which is really how these spaces work also because they are so tight and constricted that they need to draw the light in from above.
MICHAEL ANSTASSIADES: We decided to present these as an architectural study and the outside walls as a plaster cast and the idea is to camouflage this building and create it as an exhibit in its own right.
ABRAHAM THOMAS: … and as you say the façade of the building’s going to be the same colour as this cast?
BIJOY JAIN: Yes, pretty much the colour of this cast.
BIJOY JAIN: When we had the brief we had this idea of refuge, shelter, a place for contemplation, a place for worship and in many ways these dwellings have that quality where they have all these sort of built in.
DISPLAY: Public architecture comprises the schools, libraries, hospitals, squares and other public places where we come together. These places have traditionally given meaning to, and made a setting for, our public lives.