Sonal Mithal, Visiting Faculty
THE CENTER FOR ENVIRONMENTAL PLANNING AND TECHNOLOGY (CEPT) UNIVERSITY, AHMEDABAD, INDIA
Undergraduate, graduate architecture students
The course draws upon poststructuralist agendas in semiotics to explain the politics of space appropriation, and subsequently space re-production.
Project: From Context to Text
Using theories discussed in the course such as – walking as a method to read urban realms, flaneur-y as a method in exhibitionism in and consumption of urbanity, pedestrian speech-acts of Michel de Certeau, this project develops stories that would emerge in a specific place in Ahmedabad. Students create an imagined character through whom the stories become manifest. Students observe and record the ways in which people operate on a street [context] along a linear stretch in any area of Ahmedabad. They also interact with individuals to know the nature of each one’s journey to or on the street. Subsequently they develop a coherent narrative [text] of their own to showcase architectural conditions that offer opportunities to materialize people’s agendas.
Project: Visual Essay of Urban Edges
Using photographs and/or sketches, this project creates a visual essay that eulogizes ideas of enclosure, place, perforations, or territory as theorized in Gordon Cullen’s Townscape, while being critically aware of appropriation of spaces as a langue-parole negotiation. As a prelude, students compile a list of prepositions in pairs that allude to inherent interdependence, reciprocity, or simply obvious contradictions such as in-of, through-around, here-there, above-below, inside-outside, and so forth. Subsequently they photograph or sketch elements of urban streetscape, and building periphery that embody these prepositions—which later give form to the visual essays.