Location: Kiev, Ukraine
Team: Swarnabh Ghosh, Khyati Saraf, Craig Rosman
Status: Competition, Finalist
Babyn Yar is a repository of many histories. The sheer violence and density of its tortured past transcends any attempts at explication or narration to present-day visitors. For this reason, we propose that Babyn Yar be preserved as a living, evolving ground for the perpetual and unresolved process of memorialization that is at once individual and collective, sympathetic and empathetic, continual and fleeting. This intervention recalls fragments of its irredeemable past, not to facilitate casual empathy but to acknowledge the weight of its history and to resist embalming this history with neat platitudes.
This proposal stitches the disparate precincts of the site through a series of horticultural and topographical procedures:
1. Creating a series of ‘subtractions’ or clearings that reveal the artifice of the seemingly gentle temperate woodland that has come to occupy large portions of the site. The subtractions will be created by the removal of existing vegetal material – an inverse topiary that reveals the surface of the ground. These clearings are not programmatic or ‘functional’ but instead a dual-operation of excision and juxtaposition. The legibility of these subtractions will be a work-in-progress requiring the regular performance of tending, pruning, raking, digging, planting and mowing, thus forfeiting any pretensions to permanence or stasis. Partial neglect will obscure their existence and protracted neglect will erase them completely.
2. Consolidating the discordant path network by making minor adjustments, adding new way-finding ‘beacons’ and introducing a secondary and tertiary network of paths and trails. This new path network works in concert with existing pathways to provide a range of pedestrian experiences and encounters. The paths are not meant to ‘guide’ visitors to the new clearings but rather vivify with the presence of humans, the subversive quietude of the temperate forest. The way finding ‘beacons’ take the form of levitating rocks. The rocks are at once a fragment of the site by virtue of their geological antecedents, and also not of the site.
3. Finally, a new field of vegetation will seek to register the original extents of the ravine - a part of the site that represents the hegemony and violence of grading, flattening and in-filling. This field of trees, a new early-blooming cultivar of Norway Maple (Acer Platanoides ‘Babyn Yar’) seeks to gently disrupt the banal orderliness of the most violent part of the site by contradicting its seasonal vicissitudes and its visual consistency.
Location: Gurgaon, India
Project Leader: Swarnabh Ghosh
Architect of Record: ASGA
A residence for a family of five, our First House is currently under construction.
Gujarat Coastal Atlas
Year: 2018 (ongoing)
Location: Gujarat, India
Project Lead: Khyati Saraf
Collaborator: Ishita Sharma
Status: Investigative Study
At 1,600 sq km, the State of Gujarat has the longest coastline in India, much of which is contested territory. Since the late 1860s when the state was carved out of the erstwhile Bombay Estate (as demarcated under British colonialism), its capital has been concentrated primarily in its coastal districts due to maritime access and the availability of vast ‘flat’ landscapes comprising of rich tidal flats and salt marshes – or what is today typically categorized as ‘unoccupied’, ‘underutilized’ or ‘submarginal’ land.
In the public imagination, the Gujarat coast has been framed as an arid and semi arid desert or barren land put to good use in the service of economic growth through industrialization. But the coastline is a site of multiple biomes, ecologies, geomorphologies and livelihoods that confound this characterization.
Jamsil Sports Park
Location: Seoul, South Korea
Team: Swarnabh Ghosh, Craig Rosman, Khyati Saraf
Jamsil-dong is a neighborhood replete with cultural, historical and ecological value. The advent of the Olympic Park in 1988 invigorated the neighborhood as well as the city, creating not only world-class sports infrastructure but also symbols of prosperity heralding South Korea’s growing global influence.
Our proposal builds upon this rich history by allowing the iconic remnants of the 1988 games, notably the Olympic Stadium, to retain their iconicity while preparing them for the future. Instead of attempting to make iconic objects yet more iconic, our proposition seeks to reconstitute the landscape within which these objects are situated. This is accomplished by breaking down the vast and unyielding field of concrete upon which the stadiums sit and reassembling the landscape to allow the site to function as a rich ecological microcosm with a range of habitats designed for native species.
The Jamsil Sports Complex is an archipelago and its stadiums are a constellation of islands, each with its distinctive characteristics defined by size and use. Our proposal engages the existing architecture and infrastructure tactically by building upon the extensive existing deck to create connections between the stadiums and to the rest of the site. It breaks down all four sides of the site through precisely calibrated landforms that engage with the northern and western riverfront and by situating a convention center and new small stadiums on the Southern and Eastern edge of the site.
Our proposal transforms the Seoul Olympics Park into exactly that, a park. We pull the ground out from under the stadiums and replace it with a massive new park that houses world-class sports and convention facilities while providing a highly adaptable platform for a multitude of uses in all seasons for a diverse population of human and non-human inhabitants.
National War Memorial of India
Location: Delhi, India
Team: Swarnabh Ghosh, Khyati Saraf
Designed as the imperial capital par excellence, Edwin Lutyens’ New Delhi has a deeply complicated relationship with the city it takes its name from. The result of as a colonialist enterprise in town planning, it is now the seat of government in a mutinous democracy. We seek to work with this contradictory legacy through an intervention that extends the geometrical characteristics of the Lutyens’ plan while re-inscribing an entirely new set of contemporary cultural and civic values. The war memorial will not be a monument set on a pedestal and kept out of reach from the public. It will be humble in its majesty and descend into the ground. Its will tell a multitude stories and help reinvigorate conversations around the role of the armed forces in preserving the foundational tenets of the Indian nation-state.