Architecture Inspired by Nature
- Sanket Mhatre
FOCUS ON LAND FORMATION
Amongst many features of Nature, this exercise is focused on landform. A Landform is a natural feature of the earth’s surface and a location in the landscape, as part of the terrain such as valley, hill, glacier, etc. Though most of the landforms are created due to internal forces of the earth, they are subjected to modification by external forces.
Pothole formations at Nighoj in Maharashtra, India display one such phenomenon of Nature. These creations are formed in a riverside basalt rock stratum. Formed due to a series of reasons, these sculptures have been shaped over a millions of years. The formation named due to its resemblance to a pot-like cavity, are common feature along river. But at this location they found in large concentration, leading to formation of totally different appearance, thus adding to the confusion. Therefore, this has been selected as a site for this exercise.
STORIES OF NIGHOJ
This place like any other has varied stories of its own. The folk stories suggest that the Goddess Malganga has come from Varanasi with six sisters situated at different places. The other story describes the local goddess as a re-incarnation of the mother of Parashurama (eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu in Hindu mythology). But what is most fascinating to note is that even the rocks of this place have separate versions of stories behind their formation.
The sharply edged voids have been carved out due to the erosive nature of the river pebbles, reinforced by a great force of water. This process has transformed the flat strata of Basalt into smooth, carved surfaces over millions of years. The underwater cavities, thus formed, gave rise to formation of the whirlpools in the river. The forces generated by these whirls, chiselled the rock further; giving it an indefinite shape. This is how the porous texture on the face of the cliff has been developed over the years.
The residents of Nighoj have an exceptional mythological story behind these formations. Long time ago, there was a demon menacing over the region. The people called upon the goddess to establish peace in the village. The rock formations are said to be a result of the war between the two.
MISSING LINK OF THE CONTINUUM
Now looking at the site of Nighoj, the present context involving the rock formations and the temple, form two ends of a unique continuum. The irregular carved out nature of the formations is very much opposite to the customary built form with its pinnacle rising 16m above the horizon. But what is missing in this continuum are those in-between links, the absence of which presents the difference between the two identities. Therefore the goal of the architectural exercise is to find out those missing links of the continuum.
FINAL PROGRAM (EXPERIENCE CENTRE)
Passage of Experience
Luggage / Offerings Room
Passages / Ramps
This exercise shows the phenomenon of transformation as learnt from the never dying shadows in the formation into the experience of the person going through the centre. It gets camouflaged into the surrounding as a pile of rock which has not gone through the erosion with help of basalt stone as a building material. The stories of the place not only retain their importance in this study, but also are also enriched with the probability of few more coming to the life.