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Villages in the Sun

Building new urban villages


AUTHOR: Antorip Choudhury
PLACE: Baku, Azerbaijan
YEAR: 2021
STATUS: Unbuilt
INSTAGRAM: @antorip


From the ruins. Ruins allow us to transcend time and space and reconnect the past with the present. They also allow us to trace different ideas and meanings and our awareness in extremely exciting ways. ย This project convenes with the built-landscape of the prominent cities on the Silk Road and embodies the spirit of it with high sensibility and balance.

The essential idea behind the project was to reminiscence the urban villages of the Mediterranean and West Asia and construct the cultural centre with traces of it.

The centre, an equipment of cultural comprehension, is born balancing the negative and positive dwelling spaces. Negative habitations are born in hollowed earth forms, in courtyards, and water reservoirs excavated from the earth while positive habitation spaces are buildings constructed of local materials above the surface of the earth.

How the buildings are carefully arranged on the plot gives a distinct form of the spaces in between and in this way a balance is achieved between the desired rationality needed to build this complex and the relaxed character that the public spaces should have. Being able to resurrect the memories of the past in the built form felt appropriate in this context.

Spatial Journey. The spatial program is built around two interlinked crossroads, also similar to urban villages. The journey starts where the information and visitorโ€™s centre are inhabited, from there the journey originates, the visitors then reach the cross-roads which acts as a pause, for social interaction, they then step into the meandering path which leads the users through different cultures and experiences. The space between buildings is almost more important than the buildings themselves.

The meandering path represents the Silk Road in its poetic form. The cultural centre is not a place of sequence, but of meandering movement, of discovery and getting lost amongst the functional blocks. The centre is built of blurred inside and outside spaces and is always connected to the surroundings.

The network of gullies and narrow lanes passing through different experiences and activities and sometimes leading to nowhere. Itโ€™s a village where the users become familiar with the different elements prominent during the existence of the Silk Road. Composed of different scales like courtyards, arcades and plazas, amphitheatres around water reservoirs, court gardens and market spaces.

The long road ends at a point of redemption for the users, a space from where they can experience the sea and the horizon behind, experience the sun sets and absorb the experience they went through.


Antorip Choudhury is an architect from Ahmedabad/Kolkata, India. He currently works at BV Doshiโ€™s studio, Sangath.


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