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MuseLAB is an end-to-end design studio; offering a bespoke and leading-edge approach to design. With a precise focus on unique and highly customized environments, interiors and furniture. In 2012 partners Huzefa Rangwala and Jasem Pirani founded the studio built upon their shared passion for design. Each space and or product embodies integrity and is created with the same care, skill and attention to detail.

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MuseLOG

 

 

Filtering by Category: Master Planning

Design competition entry by MuseLAB for Lighthouse Sea Hotel, hosted by Young Architects Competition

MuseLAB

Lighthouse Sea Hotel; where architecture and land meet through open spaces.

Architecture is a constant dialogue between the built and the unbuilt, the inhabitable and the habitable, the realized and the desired. The quality of our life, the force of our memories, the importance of our day-to-day interpersonal exchanges, the reading of the environment, all these moments arouse in us emotions.

Situated on the cliff of Murro di Porco, the Lighthouse Sea Hotel has been planned with the intent of experiencing the expanse of the horizon – thelandscape has been punctuated by the built environment, which defines the in-between moments, as we traverse through the site heading from land to sea. Thus architecture here is the facilitator, the permeable element that allows for interchange and mediation at the pause points.

The site can be experienced in various ways giving individuals the liberty to move through the landscape at their own pace. The central pathway leads to the landmark light house structure that has been adapted to house the visitor’s centre and the maritime museum. Besides the central path there are primarily two paths – the first trail which is north of the lighthouse wanders through the community zone; which consists of the farmer’s market cluster and a research centre that culminates at the jetty and wraps around the southern edge of the cliff. The second path, south of the lighthouse begins at the resort reception and meanders through the resort units, the dining mess, staff quarter units and then wraps back around the edge of the cliff connecting to the jetty and the north trail. There are two other intermediate paths that begin at the light house; one snakes through the restaurant and the other leads directly to the edge of the cliff, both culminating at the jetty. 

The existing architecture of the region is primarily low-lying and simplistic with white-washed masonry walls and terracotta-tiled roofs.

As an intervention within the environment, the proposed units and facilities have been designed mainly as white-washed concrete extrusions. The structures have been rhythmically placed along the pathways with strategic openings and passageways to facilitate movement and experience. Thoughtfully perched on the landscape these structures have been designed using concrete, in order to cause the lowest possible natural impact. 

For winning entries visit Lighthouse Sea Hotel. 

SITE PLAN

SITE PLAN

MuseMATTERS: B is for Bicycle

MuseLAB

A steadily growing number of cities around the world are eager to become bicycle friendly, as part of an overall strategy on sustainable development and the desire to become green cities. Biking in cities can be extremely efficient and healthy. Unfortunately, it can also be intimidating, stressful and dangerous.

When cities provide a safe and welcoming environment for cyclists and pedestrians, they can encourage more people to give up driving in favor of riding bikes. With a network of protected bike lanes and fewer cars on the road, there is less risk of accidents. Also, an increase in cycling and walking can lead to significant health benefits for a city. A reduced need for parking can free up valuable city space, and streets can certainly be much more pleasant with less honking.

As usual with this kind of thing, Copenhagen’s got a bike skyway- Cykelslangen, which lets cyclists ride over a waterfront area on an elevated bridge. London’s planning to complete the 18-mile East-West Cycle Superhighway traversing the city by summer this year. Paris’ plan to boost cycling includes five proposed highways that will be almost entirely protected from car traffic, on some of the city’s busiest roads.

Cykelslangen or Cycle Snake: an elevated cyclist roadway to ease congestion.  Image courtesy:  DISSING+WEITLING              

Cykelslangen or Cycle Snake: an elevated cyclist roadway to ease congestion. Image courtesy: DISSING+WEITLING              

Similar measures are needed in India. Despite decades of having a cycling culture, we've never had dedicated cycling lanes or infrastructure of any kind to support and encourage cyclists. Our cities were not designed with cyclists in mind, and it is a huge challenge to effectively accommodate everyone’s mode of choice, but giving more space to people who walk, cycle or use public transport is going to be the only way to move people around the city and ease the burden on the roads.

(L)  The Hovenring is a circular suspended bridge between Eindhoven and Veldhoven in the Netherlands, which offers an alternative route for cyclists.      Image courtesy: mymodernmet.com    (R) Staircase fitted with a bike rail at Copenhagen Central Train Station.    Image courtesy:    tumblr

(L) The Hovenring is a circular suspended bridge between Eindhoven and Veldhoven in the Netherlands, which offers an alternative route for cyclists. Image courtesy: mymodernmet.com (R) Staircase fitted with a bike rail at Copenhagen Central Train Station. Image courtesy: tumblr

A lot of cycling groups have come up in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and most parts of the country. But very few people opt for cycling as a mode of transport to offices and work, as there is very less or absolutely no cycling infrastructure and space in the city. So far, there are only a few disjointed cycling tracks, and even these are encroached. The cycling corridors should be planned in a way that they connect to main roads and not end abruptly. They could be elevated or clubbed with the skywalks and beautified by landscaping so that it encourages more people to actually use them.

The High Line in New York is a beautifully landscaped elevated park built on top of the tracks of an abandoned railway.  Image courtesy: Pinterest

The High Line in New York is a beautifully landscaped elevated park built on top of the tracks of an abandoned railway. Image courtesy: Pinterest

Bicycle -friendly cities are very much people-friendly, and city planning that considers pedestrians and cyclists will make a significant contribution to the city of the future.

Muse MATTERS is a series of dialogues that as a studio we shall engage in– the purpose of the dialogues is for the studio to discuss matters, ask questions, share lessons learnt and maybe in the process we can make a difference. Topics discussed shall not be restricted to the field of architecture and design necessarily; they could be about an experience, a journey, a comic strip and anything in between or beyond. We will use this space to share our thoughts and blurbs.

MuseMATTERS: Sound Architecture

MuseLAB

As Architects, we design spaces and in the process we create experiences that evoke our visual and tactile senses, but very rarely do we consciously design spaces that focus on the aural experience. Inspired by Julian Treasure’s TedX talk on Why Architects need to use their Ears, this week at MuseMATTERS, we discussed the importance of Sound in Architectural Design

Julian Treasure,  Image courtesy ted.com

Julian Treasure, Image courtesy ted.com

Numerous factors must be considered when designing an interior architecture space and one of the most common issues is acoustics and noise, both within the space and within the environment. If ignored, it can cause health and safety concerns for the users and depending on the function of the space, it can discourage users from returning to the space let alone resulting in huge sums of money to correct the sound quality within it.

Typically, there are several constants within the elements of design which influence the acoustics of a space; for instance, the shape of the walls and ceilings, the materials used and the methods of construction amongst others. But what is more important is to find out exactly what gives rise to this problem before actually defining a solution for it. And this is where the other elements come in, both tangible and intangible.

Many a times the noise in a space is the noise from the users of the space – talking, whispering, shouting, laughing etc. This noise can be compounded by other noise sources as well – for example, if patrons are seated close to the kitchen in a restaurant, the sound emanating from the kitchen will compel them to talk louder in order to hear each other. Sometimes mechanical and plumbing equipment can also lead to unwanted noise. The best example would be a hospital, where health of the patients can be jeopardized if there is a build-up of noise due to loud HVAC and plumbing systems. This distraction can easily affect the sleep of the patients and increase their recovery time. 

Ambience sound affects us physiologically, psychologically, behaviourally and intellectually, all at the same time
— Julian Treasure

Noises from external factors can also have a huge impact on the interior of the space. Depending on the type of materials and the construction techniques used, the noise of traffic can easily transmit through the exterior walls and can be a matter of concern for users of spaces adjoining major highways, roadways, railways or airports. Also, in case if the space is in a multi-used, shared building, then noise from the neighbouring occupants can also transmit through the walls between the two spaces.

As designers and space shapers we most often talk about how the space is affected by sound from sources outside but we do not consider the fact that the space being designed also will become a source from which sound will emanate, impacting the environment around and the adjacent neighbourhoods. 

After listening in to Julian Treasure’s talk we concluded that as architects we need to be wary of sound – whether it is an office (interior) space or an urban space. The architecture of sound is actually invisible architecture; it is more about designing not the appearance but the experience so that we have spaces that sound as good as they look in order to improve our health and productivity along with our behaviour and overall well-being.

Muse MATTERS is a series of dialogues that as a studio we shall engage in– the purpose of the dialogues is for the studio to discuss matters, ask questions, share lessons learnt and may be in the process we can make a difference. Topics discussed shall not be restricted to the field of architecture and design necessarily; they could be about an experience, a journey, a comic strip and anything in between or beyond. We will use this space to share our thoughts and blurbs.

MUSELAB PLACES SECOND IN 'CHANDIGARH UNBUILT: COMPLETING THE CAPITOL' DESIGN COMPETITION

MuseLAB

This morning we were delighted to find out that MuseLAB has stood second in the 'CHANDIGARH UNBUILT: Completing the capitol' competition organized by Archasm. The competition received an overwhelming 308 registrations from all around the world, generating tremendous excitement among the fraternity.

Our Approach

The Capitol Complex conceived by Le Corbusier consists of the Secretariat, the Legislative Assembly, the High Court and the ‘Open Hand’ monument – the symbol of Chandigarh which was completed during his time. To this day, Le Corbusier’s vision for the Capitol Complex in Chandigarh remains incomplete - and among those unfinished elements is the Museum of Knowledge.

How does one raise the bar from where Le Corbusier left?  And how does one do that without aping the master? The capitol complex was a metaphor of the human being employed in plan  – the ‘head’ contained the capitol complex, the ‘heart’ the commercial centre, and the ‘arms’, which were perpendicular to the main axis, had the academic and leisure facilities.  The proposed Museum of Knowledge honours
Corbusier’s vision by showcasing the existing vestiges of the capitol complex by creating vantage points and visual connections. These
landmark structures are thus included as part of the Museum and metaphorically form the main collection of the museum. The plan
incorporates Le Corbusier’s principles of light, space and greenery which are still prevalent as of today. 

This proposal builds upon and reimagines Le Corbusier’s Five Points of Architecture. This forms the basis for our qualitative program for the site. In this reimagined adaptation of the principles the structure of the building has been pushed below ground allowing for the site surface to be free of structure and double up as a park allowing it to extend itself and be a part of the public realm. The structure is supported by
pilotis/columns – which gives opportunity for free design of the ground floor plan. All four sides of full height glazing allows for light to filter in a controlled manner and being underground there are open to sky courtyards and slits within the roof garden that provide additional
opportunities for light to permeate. 

Le Corbusier’s master plan for Chandigarh was designed keeping in mind the socio-economic conditions and living habits of people. 
Similarly a Museum of Knowledge in the present times would not be complete if it did not consider the current habits of the people. This proposal gives the power to the people to design and choreograph their own walk through the museum. A non-linear narrative with
multiple opportunities to enter and exit rooms gives the user the authority and freedom to move through the space at their own pace. Areas both large and small have been designed to allow for flexibility of programming of exhibits. Transition zones have been interspersed with courtyards and open plazas to provide for break out spaces and moments to pause. Areas within the museum and around have been
generously devoted to provide for gathering spaces to encourage people to come spend time at the museum, attend workshops or head to the park with a book and read without any inhibitions. 

See the other winning entries, honourable mentions and  Top 50 entries here. 

MuseMATTERS: A walk through Bandra with Alisha Sadikot

MuseLAB

This week we joined Alisha Sadikot on a walk through the neighbourhood of Bandra.  We would not like to reveal much as we would be doing injustice to the walk experience with Alisha Sadikot. We highly recommend this one. Here are some notes from our diary.

Alisha Sadikot is an independent museums and heritage education professional working to instigate critical and creative public engagement with museum collections and heritage spaces in Mumbai. Museums are her happy place. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter @alishasadikot and visit her blog at The Inheritage Project

 

Castella dr Aguada  commonly known as Bandra Fort. 

Castella dr Aguada commonly known as Bandra Fort. 

House on a Hill : Reminiscence of Byramjee Jeejeebhoy’s residence built atop the hill at Land’s End, overlooking the Rajiv Gandhi Sea link and the skyline of Mumbai on a clear day.

House on a Hill: Reminiscence of Byramjee Jeejeebhoy’s residence built atop the hill at Land’s End, overlooking the Rajiv Gandhi Sea link and the skyline of Mumbai on a clear day.

The Basilica of Our Lady of The Mount  commonly known as Mount Mary Church. Originally built by the Portuguese Jesuits in the 16th century and rebuilt a few times thereafter. 

The Basilica of Our Lady of The Mount commonly known as Mount Mary Church. Originally built by the Portuguese Jesuits in the 16th century and rebuilt a few times thereafter. 

St. Stephen's Church  was built to cater to the needs of British Protestant Christians living in Bandra. 

St. Stephen's Church was built to cater to the needs of British Protestant Christians living in Bandra. 

Cemetery at St. Stephen's Church  and some hidden gems around Bandra. 

Cemetery at St. Stephen's Church and some hidden gems around Bandra. 

Ranwar   Village : A quaint village in Bandra that remains untouched by the glass and steel edifice of "developing" Mumbai. 

Ranwar Village: A quaint village in Bandra that remains untouched by the glass and steel edifice of "developing" Mumbai. 

Street Art  at Ranwar. 

Street Art at Ranwar. 

Storefronts of Ranwar

Storefronts of Ranwar

Muse MATTERS is a series of dialogues that as a studio we shall engage in– the purpose of the dialogues is for the studio to discuss matters, ask questions, share lessons learnt and may be in the process we can make a difference. Topics discussed shall not be restricted to the field of architecture and design necessarily; they could be about an experience, a journey, a comic strip and anything in between or beyond. We will use this space to share our thoughts and blurbs.

MuseMATTERS: 100 Smart Cities or Self-sustaining habitats?

MuseLAB

The government has announced an urban agenda to develop 100 new smart cities for the country as a solution to the issue of: urban liveability. This initiative has received a lot of attention within the country and the world. Intense discussions and thought provoking debates are taking place regarding the form and context within which these cities should be developed. 

A summarized version of the Government of India’s definition of a smart city is: “one that is clean competitive, capital generating and sustainable. The cities should provide good basic infrastructure such as water, sanitation, reliable utility services, health care, attractive for investments, transparent processes to be able to run businesses, simple and on line processes for obtaining approvals and services and facilities to make the people of the city feel safe and secure. To read more about the smart cities mission visit smartcities.gov.in

By that definition a smart city sounds no different than what a city should be in the first place. Cities are engines of growth and as a result of which they attract people. With increasing urbanization and the lack of infrastructure, the government has now realized the need for cities that can cope with the challenges of urban living and also be magnets for investment.

Illustration concept of smart city technologies.   Image courtesy freepik.com

Illustration concept of smart city technologies. Image courtesy freepik.com

When we talk of smart cities often people limit their conversations to the need for sensors, CCTVS, ambient intelligence and digital records. Instead they need to talk about raising the standard of living, generating resources, creating opportunities and self-sustaining habitats.

Sustainability or building right and sensitively has to be one of the main criteria for a smart city. The city should be able to address climate change and reduce carbon footprint. So how can technology really assist us in the planning of smart cities? 3D mapping tools have become valuable for visualizing and designing cities where various services can be layered and looked at together. Like in New Orleans, CyArk is using that same 3-D mapping data to create a detailed digital copy of the city, so that if there is catastrophic damage, and some of these historic buildings are destroyed or altered, a detailed record of what was there could be referenced. As Neelie Kroes, Vice-President, Commissioner Digital Agenda, European Commission once said, “Every city already generates huge amounts of information, for many different purposes. But too often that information is lost. It’s time to get smart and start using it”.

Case – studies of cities in the west is good to look at for the lessons learned but by aping the west we are not going to be able to solve our issues. Each city in India has its unique set of issues and challenges that need to be dealt with and resolved by providing solutions specific to that city. We need to find our own mix and derive a definition that is specific to us.

But in a country where millions are struggling to get by, the initiative also got us wondering how people will be able to afford the expensive housing and living costs of smart cities. The upcoming infrastructure in most parts of the country is coming at the expense of farming land. Rural percentage is higher than urban because India is an agrarian state and most families depend on farming for their livelihood.

Should the focus now be on building new smart cities or retrofitting existing cities or developing the villages around these existing cities? It has previously been stated that no economy can grow on the basis of agriculture so it is inevitable that people will move to cities. In that statement alone lays the answer to our problems. A sustainable growth with balanced resources could help in raising the quality of life of rural areas.

At the first Annual Architecture Festival hosted in Jaipur, B V Doshi and Rajeev Kathpalia had spoken about Crafting Future Cities and what they had to say was, "We are used to cities as centralized entities and we are saying perhaps the time has come to start thinking of each place as independent and self-supporting", which is what sustainable cities are all about.

Proposal of the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City), one of the flagship smart cities of the 100 Smart Cities program.   Image courtesy archdaily. 

Proposal of the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City), one of the flagship smart cities of the 100 Smart Cities program. Image courtesy archdaily. 

Masdar city is among the more high-profile experiments in smart-city technology.   Image courtesy: Foster + Partners. 

Masdar city is among the more high-profile experiments in smart-city technology. Image courtesy: Foster + Partners. 

Be it a city or a village, these are just settlements or habitats at different scales, which need to be planned in a way that they are self-sustaining , providing enough job opportunities, training people to use resources wisely and increasing their quality of life.

The goals of a self-sustaining city need to: reduce emissions and traffic, save energy, make the urban landscape a more comfortable place to live in. The systems at all levels, be it social or political needs to be transparent and there needs to be accountability at all levels.

The way the smart cities agenda is being marketed there is no doubt that the real agenda is the need for foreign capital to enter into new territories. This will allow international corporations to invest and operate in sanitized spaces bypassing the multiple complexities that otherwise characterize urban India. Therefore our purpose and goals for smart cities need to be much clearer along with a better understanding of the socio-economic condition of our country. The city needs to be designed wisely, catering to everyone’s needs equally irrespective of social and cultural differences. 

Muse MATTERS is a series of dialogues that as a studio we shall engage in– the purpose of the dialogues is for the studio to discuss matters, ask questions, share lessons learnt and may be in the process we can make a difference. Topics discussed shall not be restricted to the field of architecture and design necessarily; they could be about an experience, a journey, a comic strip and anything in between or beyond. We will use this space to share our thoughts and blurbs.