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This Case study was taken to understand the development of crafts’ centre for the artisans of
Khamir in Kutch, and the emphasis laid on promoting the arts, crafts, and cultural heritage
of the region.
Map of India showing Gujarat Map of Gujarat showing Kutch


Site Location of Khamir Crafts

Resource Centre with the context,
(Source: Google Maps; Further edited:

The Khamir Crafts Resource Centre is a joint exploration of architectural capacities to
reawaken the local crafts and impart a meaning to tradition, far beyond its origin, in the wake
of the devastation, wreaked by an earthquake in the year 2001.
Located behind the BMCB Society at Lakhond Crossroad-Kukma Village, which is
approximately 15 km from Bhuj. The immediate context is barren lands (Private property).
Set on the gentle contours of the Banni grasslands of Kutch, the site area is 8093.71 sq.m.
It has hot desert Climate with a maximum temperature of 31℃ during the summers, and as
low as 12℃ during the winters.

History of development
In a region that faces natural extremities, craft, in Kutch, is a means of self-reliance. Where
every community is distinctly different from the other – the Meghwals and Sodhas as
weavers and embroiders of cloth, Khatris as block-printers and fabric dyers, Multani
Lohars as makers of copper plated bells, and Sonis as makers of exquisite silverware and
jewellery among many others; Kutch is home to some of the finest traditional craftsmanship
in the country.
Instituted after the Bhuj earthquake in 2001, the space was developed for the promotion and
sustainable development of crafts, heritage and cultural ecology.
Joint initiative of Kachchh Nav Nirman Abhiyan and the Nehru Foundation for
Development, Ahmedabad
Khamir craft centre works to strengthen and promote the rich artisanal traditions of Kachchh
district. It serves as a platform for the promotion of traditional handicrafts and allied cultural
practices, the processes involved in their creation, and the preservation of culture, community
and local environments.

View of Khamir Craft Resource Centre, Kutch


Architect: Neelkanth Chhaya

Assistant: Sachin Soni
Structural Consultant: Himanshu Parikh
Specialised Building Techniques: Hunnarshala Foundation
-The artisans and craftsperson who practice their crafts
-The musicians for practising their music
-Designers with similar interests of handicrafts
-National and international organisations for collaborating with the locals
-Visitors for learning from the artisans and exploring the setting
Philosophy of the Organisation
The idea was to bring people together through informal exchanges and encounters. Hence,
the context reinforces visual dimension of cultural knowledge in the design logic into scale
and composition, proportion and architectural order. The stance assayed by its architecture is
not one of individual buildings, style or technology, but rather of ideas of architectural
Objectives of the Project
The building was set in the extensive program where not only would studies in Kutch culture
be undertaken, but it would also serve as a multipurpose nucleus for interaction between the
craftsperson and designers, development of craft techniques and use of materials, business
and documentation support, training and enhancement of skill , archiving, data banks and
traditional knowledge systems and sales and marketing.

Site Plan of Khamir Craft Resource Centre, Bhuj, Gujarat

Ground floor Plan of Khamir Craft Resource Centre, Bhuj, Gujarat

Sections of Khamir Craft Resource Centre, Bhuj

USERS (Sq. m.)
1. Reception and Exhibition 130 130 Outlet of products made at Khamir
2. Museum Archive 130 100 Collection and display of products
3. Administration 10 50 Managing the centre
4. Bell 15 82 Conducting workshops, attached office
and storage
5. Pottery 30 115 Conducting workshops, attached office
and storage
6. Block Printing 30 100 Conducting workshops, attached office
and storage
7. Weaving 40 100 Conducting workshops, attached office
and storage
8. Training 35 115 Conference and teaching
9. Leather/Laquer 30 90 Conducting workshops, attached office
and storage
10. Tie and Dye 25 72 Conducting workshops, attached office
and storage
11. Guest House 20 156 Accommodation facility for guests
12. Cafe 12 36 Food
13. Store 100 Storage of finished products for selling
14. Toilets 100
Total Area 1506

A low-rise clustered campus, the overall architecture of such a complex programme is
humbled by the land surrounding it. As a seemingly simple modular orthogonal plan, the
design facilitates a rather complex sequence of movement, revealing only parts of the campus
as one walks through, encountering plausible points for informal exchanges in between-
sometimes under the shade of a tree, sometimes amidst a cluster of buildings- in many ways
tapping into a familiar way of living, congregating and working.

Accomodation Facilities Studio & retail outlet

Display area Gathering areas

Moving through the verandas alongside the workspaces and across a series of shaded
courtyards, references a walk through the winding alleys that are characteristic of rural Indian
townscapes: from a harsh sunlit landscape to a welcoming shaded courtyard, stepping onto an
elevated veranda and finally entering the deep, cool interiors is an experience that is integral
to the rural fabric of the place.

Nature of Spaces Built and open spaces

Functional zoning Circulation diagram


Using local materials and appropriate

construction techniques, the finished
surfaces (built as infills in a steel
frame of the buildings) receive and
reflect a familiar light. The mud walls
when sprinkled with water, emanate a
known fragrance and the thick
rammed earth absorbs the sounds of
working tools.

Responding to the seismic zone, the

buildings are propped on stout plinths. The rammed earth walls rise from the plinth, with
visible layers of ‘making’ thus lending the landscape vibrancy and scale. In parts, however,
the walls are plastered with a mixture of mud and dried cow dung, to keep the interiors
comfortably cool.

Construction of wattle Rammed Earth walls Construction of Earth Walls

And daub panels on the
Upper floors


1. Structure Load bearing
2. Structural Member Wall till intel height
3. Walling Material Rammed earth, CSEB, Wattle and daub paneling on 1
4. Building Material Sub soil, Clay, Sand, Cement
5. Wall Finish Cement slurry and Plaster finish/ Paint/ Exposed
6. Roof Sloping Roof with Mangalore Tiles/ Country Tiles
7. Height of rammed earth walls 3m
8. Wall thickness 300mm
9. Flooring Indian Patent Stone
10. Plinth+DPC PCC and Rubble soling with Lime plaster
11. No. of Storeys 2
12. Type of ramming Manual
13. Electrical service Exposed PVC conduits wiring
14. Cost/cu. Ft. in the year of Rs. 70/ cu. Ft.
15. Foundation Strip Foundation

• The institution reflects the core values of the craft sector that it represents. It is
collaborative, believes in bringing diverse stakeholders together onto one platform to address
issues collectively for optimum good.
• The architecture practices restraint in the vernacular poetics of the overall built-environment
by engaging in what is already known to create a contemporary, utilitarian space that does not
romanticise the village.
• Use of locally available materials and engaging the local people in building the structure
makes it as self-sustainable and reflects the patterns of cultural identities of the region.


This case study was taken to understand the raw setting of the place amidst the urban fabric
of Delhi and how the traditional architectural elements are gently imbibed into modern
Site Location of Sanskriti Kendra, Delhi
(Source: Google Maps; Further edited: Author)


Sanskriti kendra is a symbol of sanskriti’s involvement in activities relating to art, craft,

literature, the performing arts, and social work. Although diverse on the surface, these
activities are different facets of a single vibrant culture rooted in Indian soil but universal in
its outlook.

It is located in Anand Gram area of Delhi. The immediate context is barren lands and the
important landmark is the Indian Meteorological Department.

It is spread over the plot of 35,241 sq. m. on the foothills of Aravalli Range, located amidst
the farmhouses of Anand Gram.

The area covered is 2,810 sq. m.

History of Development

Sanskriti Kendra was established in 1993 by the Sanskriti Foundation, a Registered Public
Charitable Trust.
The Pratishthan was founded in 1979 by Mr. O.P. Jain under the guidance of Dr. Mulk Raj
Anand, Dr. Jyotindra Jain and other bigwigs.
The role of Sanskriti Pratishthan has been of a catalyst in revitalising the artistic and aesthetic
sensitivities of Indian people. A five-acre barren and arid land in 1989, has now been
transformed into a green oasis with hundreds of trees and shrubs.
Architect: Upal Ghosh
Landscape Architect: Mohammed Shaheer
Curator: O.P. Jain


It is a cultural centre where artists and sculptors, writers and musicians and village craftsmen,
practice their arts in tranquil surroundings that engage the mind with the imagery of the
idyllic pastoral countryside with its manmade interventions. The Kendra hosts a varied range
of activities reflecting the art and culture of both the traditional and the contemporary sense.

Users and Stakeholders:

-The artisans and craftsperson from different regions of India

-The musicians
-Designers with similar interests of handicrafts
-National and international organisations
-Visitors for learning from the artisans and exploring the setting
It is run by a board of trustees and are the main stakeholders concerned with the promotion of
art and culture.

Philosophy of the organisation:
Tradition and modernity are not two separate categories one transmutes into another. The
preservation of cultural heritage, therefore, has its own validity.
The belief in the positive function of culture as a universal and unifying force is intristic to
Sanskriti. The watchword was to conserve and perpetuate the tradition that is vital and
vibrant, as ancient as it is contemporary, as beautiful as it is functional, as elegant as it is
simple and as Indian as it is universal.
A living, creative complex, Kendra was intended to provide temporary residential and
working space to both traditional and contemporary artists and craftsperson. The aim was to
promote interaction between the two.
O.P. Jain planned to transform this plot into a space for artists to work together and exchange
their ideas on a global platform.
Upal Ghosh, the architect of Sanskriti Kendra, proposed bringing Shanti Niketan to Delhi,
creating an idyllic village that would have a free-flowing river and trees for artists to work
under, just as Tagore had envisaged years ago.
Plan of Sanskriti Kendra

A judicious mix of formality and

informality, both in plant and hard
landscape. Geometric forms, pavements,
paths and hedges intersperse the lawns,
vans, and the Nahar and the meandering
parks. Approximately two thousand trees
have been planted to predominate the
complex. The rainwater drainage channel
that runs down the centre, and existing
clumps of trees become the major
structuring elements of the layout plan. The
rainwater channel has been converted into a
linear water body (The Nahar). This starts from a semi-circular pool fed by water attention
pond, passed under a couple of foot bridges, washes up the steps of Ghats on either sided, and
ends at the Manch. Excess water is run off through a bypass drain.

Aerial view of Sanskriti Kendra, Anandgram,Delhi

1. Entrance, Guard Room and Public All visitors to Provision a sense of entry to the
Banyan tree the complex cultural space
2. Baithak and Library Semi- Administration Central Point of control
Public and Members
3. Museum of Terracotta
4. Museum of Everyday Art
5. Museum of Textiles All visitors to Display of traditional and
6. Sculpture Terrace Public the complex contemporary artforms to visitors
7. Gallery and a space for sharing knowledge
8. Courtyard
9. Gaon-Dormitories Private Artists in Residential facilities for artists to
10. Studios residence stay in the complex
11. Amphitheatre Public All Hosting of cultural performances
12. Multipurpose Hall Public Event For organising events of cultural
audience dissimilation
13. Conservation Centre Private Specialists For restoring art pieces before
putting them to museums
14. Open Lawn Semi- All Common gathering space for public

In the early years, it was largely privately funded by its members, later on it was received
government funding, and from organisations like Indian Council for Cultural
Relations (ICCR), and the Ford Foundation, and recently from the corporate sector.

The complex manifestation of built form in a warm
climate, where between closed-box and open to sky,
there lies in a whole continuum of zones, with
varying definitions and varying degrees of protection.
One steps out of the box to lend oneself in a verandah
from which one moves into a courtyard and then
under a tree, and beyond onto a terrace covered by
a bamboo pergola, and then perhaps back onto a
balcony and so on. The boundaries between these
zones are not formal and sharply demarcated,
but easy and amorphous. Subtle modulations of
light, of the quality of ambient air, register each
transition on our sense…

-Upal Ghosh
Movement patterns are rhythmic and a new experience is initiated by the use of mass and
open spaces at every bend and turn. The entire campus is vehicle-free. Parking space for all
the vehicles is outside the complex.
Pathways are informal and fused with green pockets except for the peripheral service road
which acts as a jogging track. There is a change in paving materials and patterns which
depicts change in the function of spaces. Ramps are provided to make the entire complex

Public spaces such as Museums, administration and the display areas are located near the
entrance. Private spaces like artists’ studios, dormitories are located at the back, away from
the general movement.

Open Display Area View of the Rustic Facade

(Source: )
The Museums:

The unique environment houses three specialized museums namely

1. Museum of Everyday Art of India
2. Museum of Indian Terracotta
3. Museum of Indian Textiles.
These Museums represent Sanskriti’s commitment to preserve and nurture the creative
vitality of Indian art and culture and great attention has been given to the socio-cultural
context of the objects.

Museum of Everyday Art Museum of Terracotta Museum of Textiles


The vision is to build upon collections and to transform museums into a central resource hub
for all research on the art and craft traditions of India in general, and particularly in their core
areas of terracotta, textiles and everyday objects.
Good play with transition of spaces;
the module, square in plan, has
been used in various forms-
sometimes as just a platform, a
room without roof, a room with
roof but no walls, and sometimes
totally enclosed with regular doors
and windows. The roof is always
pyramidal as it suits the square plan
and blends well with scale and rural


The Baithak

The Baithak is a common meeting space of the Kendra. Facilities such as the dining room,
conference room, library, computer room and office are all a part of the Baithak.

It is a two-storeyed structure which is internally connected, both visually and physically by a

double heighted covered court with steps so that they can be used as tiered seating during
conferences, etc.


The building can be entered from various levels. Except the office and the library, all other
spaces flow into each other giving the interior a very open feeling. Keeping with its
supervisory role the office has been strategically placed at a higher level overlooking the
entire complex.

All the areas are placed along the south-side as to have advantage of sun as the sun directly
enters the room throughout the day in winters. The building is planned in a staggered form so
as to have mutual shadings following the green architecture principles.
The Manch

It is an open-air theatre next to the Gaon court. The

users are generally artists for performance and
entertainment. The stage is covered by lush green
grass and brick paved steps.


The Artists’ Studio and Dormitories

There are eight studios in two blocks placed along the Nahar where participants with an
urban background can live and work. The units are small and simple but provide a variety of
spaces, both indoor and outdoor. These are located away from other built forms that allows
artists to concentrate on their work.

Ground Floor Plan First Floor Plan


1. Entrance Court 5. Sleeping space

2. Living/ Workspace 6. Upper Living Space
3. Seating 7. Garden space
4. Dining and Kitchen
Workspace and the living areas get north light as north side gets only light throughout the day
without any heat so it is cooler. Bedrooms, dining-kitchen and the sitting areas along with a
separate personal garden facing the south side, thus, get more sun (heat & light) in winters
and lesser in summers. Studios are located in the calm area surrounded by greenery and away
from any built form to maintain privacy and providing environment to concentrate. The water
body nearby add to its beautiful environment.
The Ceramic Centre

The Sanskriti - Delhi Blue Ceramic Centre – the only one of its kind in India-plays host to
diverse ceramic activities and interactions, both national and international. The programmes
offered include residencies, classes and interactive workshops for ceramicists, talks, slide
shows, firings and demonstrations.

The Ceramic Centre is well-equipped with

the following types of wheels and furnaces:
• 9 Kick wheels
• 2 Painters’ wheels
• 5 Electric wheels
• 1 Pug wheel
• 1 Wood kiln
• 2 Gas kilns
• 1 Testing electric kiln

The Kiln Shade




1. Structure Load bearing, RCC Framed
2. Walling Material RCC, Bricks, Stone, Steel
3. Building Material Sub soil, Clay, Sand, Cement
4. Wall Finish Bhoosa reinforced Plaster finish/ Cement Plaster with steel
comb/ Snocem in hues of borwn and earthy color paint
5. Roof Pyramidal roof with Mangalore Tiles, Thatch Roof with

• A strong relation exists between the built mass and their surrounding open spaces making it
interactive in nature consisting of levels in topography and components like open air theatres,
water bodies etc.
• The concept of creating a village environment and setup is fulfilled by the use of materials
and different components of a rural setup but the formal planning impairs the purpose to an
• Landscaping has been done quite extensively, employing several elements such as water
pools, pergolas, freestanding columns, concrete frames etc. The area is filled with trees and
vegetation, which makes the surroundings cool and pleasant.

This case study was taken to understand the translation of tradition, innovation and the
continuing evolution of Indian culture into every space of this setting. It also represents the
socio-cultural heritage of the people through recreating their lifestyles, performing arts and
Site Location of DakshinaChitra, Chennai
(Source: Google Maps; Further edited: Author)


DakshinaChitra is about remembering our roots and celebrating our inner creative strength
and spirit. Through performing artists and skilled artisans, DakshinaChitra awakens our
senses to the rhythms, colours, and shapes of all that is around us.

Situated in Muttakadu, 25 km away from Chennai on the east coast road to Mamallapuram,
Tamil Nadu, it is spread over 10 acres of barren land, overlooking the Bay of Bengal.

The climate is semi-humid with moderately low rainfall and temperature as high as 34℃.

History of Development

It was founded by the Madras Craft Foundation (MCF), an NGO started in 1984, by Deborah
Thiagarajan. Thiagarajan came to Madras (now Chennai) in 1970, and visited several rural
villages in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. She founded MCF in 1984 with the intent of preserving
the regional culture and heritage.
In July 1991, the MCF received 10 acres of land for the project from the Government of
Tamil Nadu on a 33-year lease.

Architect: Laurie Baker and Benny Kuriakose

Owner: Madras Craft Foundation

DakshinaChitra is a centre for the preservation and promotion of the cultures of South India.
It draws on a diverse range of indigenous knowledge systems and disciplines, each of which
in some measure has contributed richly to South Indian culture; arts and music; crafts and
performing arts; literature and poetry; architecture; environment and ecology; oral tradition
and so on.
Special programmes feature dances, crafting of necklaces, basket weaving, and puppet
shows. The museum also holds workshops for training in traditional crafts such
as indigo dying. Potters trained at the centre are issued a certificate of their skills by the
regional office of the Department of the Development Commissioner (Handicrafts). Classical
dances such as Bharatnatyam, Mohiniyattam and Kuchipudi, and music concerts are regular
events held in the large amphitheatre.
Users and Stakeholders:

-The artisans and craftsperson from different regions of South India

-Visitors for learning from the artisans and exploring the setting
In establishing the museum, cooperation was maintained between government organizations,
industry and specialists in the sphere of conservation. Contributors to the museum's creation
included long-term corporate donors (Ford Foundation) and the Office of the Development
Commissioner for Handicrafts.

Philosophy of the organisation:
A project of the Madras Craft Foundation, it is poised at a particular point I the history of
India: a time of transition and vast impending changes in environment, society, economics,
lifestyles, and work; a time of introspection after centuries of colonial rule; a time of global
change in communication and business in which India is a participant as well as a keen
observer; a time of heightened expectations and increased leisure.

DakshinaChitra seeks to provide the visitor with a multifaceted experience; activities and
workshops; cultural tourism; education programmes; lectures; demonstrations and
performances; thematic craft displays’ exhibition and sales; dinners and food festivals.
Its vision encompasses the folk and classical traditions, rural and urban, tribal and
mainstream, oral and written, cultural and social influences, and blend elements of this rich
and diverse resource-base.
1. Reception, Crafts shop, Toilet
2. Stores
3. Restaurant
4. Mandapam
5. Canteen
6. Crafts Bazar
7. Amphitheatre
8. Ikal Cluster
9. Softstone Workshop
10. Potter’s House
11. Basket Weaver- Mud houses
12. Ayyanar Shrine
13. Textile exhibition hall and
Weaver’s house
14. Agraharam- Brahmin house and
religious art gallery
15. Sattanur- Agricultural House
16. Chettinad- Merchant house
17. Padipura gate
18. Syrian Christian House, Puthupally
19. Granary and textile exhibition
20. Hindu house, Travancore
21. Calicut house
22. Cowshed
23. Small pavilion/ Mandapam
24. Toilets 32. Ikat Weaver’s House
25. Water
26. Driver’s shed
27. Parking
28. Artisans’ quarter 1
29. and 30. Guest House 2 and 3
31. Library (Source: A Glimpse of South India: DakshinaChitra)
In the planning of the centre, importance was given to the concept that DakshinaChitra
should give a representation of the different, broad groups of people living in each state.
The museum has 18 heritage houses representing the living styles of people from the states of
South India such as Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, North Karnataka, Kerala and Telangana.
These houses, which were actual houses that were allowed to be demolished by the original
owners, were recreated by a team of architecture students, carpenters and workers. Apart
from recreating the homes, the roads and all other features that existed in the old village sites
were recreated.
In Tamil Nadu, houses have been chosen to represent the vocations of the people- the
merchants, the agriculturalists, priest/ teachers, agricultural workers and craftspeople-
weavers, potters and basket weavers.
The Tamil Nadu section has a majestic
carved wooden doorway of a century-old
Merchant house from Chettinad.
The 150-year old Agriculturalist house from
the fertile delta region of Thanjavur is also
constructed over here. Then comes the
potter’s house from Tiruvallur with its
terracotta exhibition.

In Kerala, the houses have been chosen to

represent the three religion groups-
Christians, Muslim and Hindus. Since their
origin and their harmonious living is a
distinctive feature of that state.

In Karnataka, houses of agriculturalists,

craftspeople and traders are represented with
emphasis on the migration, trade and
diversity of that state as a border state with
northern culture.

In Andhra, the division of the state Telangana,

Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra is taken as the
construction for the state.

(Source: A Glimpse of South India: DakshinaChitra)

Plan and Section of the Artisan’s Centre, DakshinaChitra
(Source: A Glimpse of South India: DakshinaChitra)

The artisan’s centre in DakshinaChitra is a study in beauty and utility featuring Baker's
signature walls of un-plastered bricks. It stands a little away from the rest of the village so
that the artisans and their families get their privacy. The centre is divided into several small
units, each with a bedroom with granite and brick 'cots' and seats, a working area and natural
arches in brick leading out to a stone-pillared verandah.

Front view of the Artisan’s Quarter, DakshinaChitra

(Source: A Glimpse of South India: DakshinaChitra)

As the area was small, the
architect decided on small
units with large open spaces.
The pathways as covered, and
gives access to any major area
without a visitor having to
walk miles from one end to the

View of Pathways and steps

(Source: Author)

By using traditional features such as arches, courtyards and varied sloping rooflines,
Kuriakose creates modern buildings that maintain the traditional character of the centre.

(Source: Author)

The entrance building provides an example of this style, where the exposed brick forms a
building that, while in large area, does not have an overpowering presence. The low roofs,
varied rooflines, and divided courtyard give an intimate quality more in keeping with the
domestic architecture of DakshinaChitra.
By re-using the architectural elements (doors and windows) from older Tamil houses, the
structure has been cost-effective and has managed to give a timely character to the new

Traditional Door and Window

(Source: Author)
View of the Amphitheatre View of the Potter’s House
(Source: Author)

• It forms a unique environment to express architecture as a way to represent the arts, history
and culture of a particular time;
• The buildings have been efficiently planned based on the climate, factors of Chennai viz.
Orientation, materials etc.
• The centre has made an attempt to uplift the community of various artisans and
craftsperson, by giving them a platform to interact with the outside world and promote their
artforms, who were once in a dreadful state with the advent of globalisation and urbanisation.
• The construction has been done with locally available materials making the maintenance
hassle-free and economically viable.

(Sources: A Glimpse of South India: DakshinaChitra)