Monday, May 31, 2010

the idea sheet!

i will not say anything about these but just upload them, it is work of 6 brains stashed in the studio looking at various things and options!

and the list goes on and on and on ........

some maps

I am Lost is a Series of maps of Ranwar, these are some academic maps which will be overlaid with some stories and personal geographies. these are some hand edited maps over prints. more coming soon:
this map mainly talks about the development pattern of new settlements and built area in red, also the nos. indicate the approximate age of the built environment. the areas hatched crudely with pencil are still under study, while the areas in yellow are open areas some of which are public while the others are private

the areas in blue show the built heights of the buildings in Ranwar, this map also shows the land use in Ranwar, which is mostly residential, again the right hand side is still under study.

this map shows the station points covered while doing the survey for the above. It also has some hidden secret for one to reveal.

this is to study the block spaces in Ranwar.

the pathways in relation to the blocks.

these are the pathways free of the blocks. these are left open to showcase the expanse of the village only by roads and also showing the access points clearly.

While these are under refinement to make several more maps including the image of Ranwar in Bandra as on field, will upload them soon.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


and the show finally happened, it was a great convergence of photographers and lovers of moments captured. a very interesting format which definitely won a lot of appreciation. more with the photographs down here.
As it started with the idea of bringing in as many photographs (amateurs and professionals alike), together on one ground with a format like a street exhibition., did an outstanding job looking at the turnout. More than an exhibition it turned out to be a festival, to celebrate something,,well we know that it was photography. some shots from the show.
volunteers putting DST behind the prints and the local kids hanging around. they were great help!

The whole idea of one getting his/her own prints was very interesting and less burdensome on the organizers physically and monetarily. It was a very participative event which made things much easier for all. The images seem to be speaking more on the rustic background.
some images from the show:


A Collaborative with CRY, showcasing about child rights :


a small video of the street exhibition converting into a carnival, festival of sorts. i think this is the character that best defines Bandra.

Some images of my images up on the wall in the old ruins of Zeenat Aman's house. I just felt the location worked perfect for the kind of photographs i was showcasing. Also because all the other walls in that room without the roof were in black and white, so the colors in mine gave quite a break to the viewer. But yes it was a great experience also to understand the effect of such initiatives which bring a lot of like minded people together commenting, giving feedback and just celebrating.
some shots:

‘A Village Story’
-by Vivek Sheth

This set of 24 photographs are from Ranwar, Shirely, Rajan villages in Bandra and Khotachiwadi in Girgaum. I have tried to capture the various architectural nuances which give a character to these places. These villages with its spatial narratives makes it more intriguing to wander around and this is exactly what i am trying to understand as well as capture. In this photo essay called ‘A Village Story’, very little is revealed and this is exactly what i want to pinch on, look at a little and wander around for more.
These villages are a lifestyle which talks very differently of Mumbai, the first city of India. Its a lifestyle, that the ones sprawled by the urban jungle just think of, while there are some who live it. What gives it style is these ancestral homes (more than 100 years of age), with their distinct local flavour of architecture peppered by the Portuguese style.
Vivek Sheth is a final year student of Exhibition (Spatial) Design at The National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. He is currently doing his final diploma (thesis) project with The BUSRIDE Design Studio, located in Ranwar.
The scope of his diploma covers exactly what these pictures speak about, while he tries and understands this sub-culture of Mumbai and Bandra in specific these are a few encounters of his to gaze upon.

For more on the project log on to : www. or email: viveksheth87[at]gmail[dot]com




i was more glad because i found one possibility. The fact that Bandra is looked at as the first probable location for such initiatives is due to its strong liking as well as open ness to these formats of gatherings!

the entrance to the street exhibition, BLOWUP from hill road/waroda road

for more on blowup check out :

also an other blogpost by Meena Kadri:

Monday, May 24, 2010

Organisation of a city

It is clear amidst organization of a city that its design is like a growing organism. Why it moves towards an organic format is due to the city dwellers giving it form and shape at every node of a its existence. And hence we should not hesitate in calling the inhabitants the true designers of their own city. They give life to the formulations of a city making it a living organism.

--(after reading 'Design of Cities' by Edmund N. Bacon)

Physical Forms of a City

While reading 'The Image of the City', by Kevin Lynch. Lynch in Image of a city talks about a concept of Imageabilty of a city, of how an inhabitant would break down the image of his own city into various physical forms. A great reading for everyone i must say. Some excerpts and analysis from the book on Physical forms of a city.

A city can be divided in Paths, Edges, Districts, Nodes and Landmarks to make a physical form. A form that can be converted to images on the city by its own residents. Further on these 5:
1.) Paths: These are channels along which the observer customarily, occasionally or potentially moves. STREETS, WALKWAYS, TRANSIT LINES, CANALS, RAILROADS. For a lot of people these become the predominant elements in their image. People observe the city while moving through it, and along these paths where environmental elements are arranged and related.
a path in Ranwar, essential these are the winding lanes through which the observers(residents) of Ranwar move around their own space.

2.) Edges: These are not paths they are boundaries between two phases. Linear breaks. SHORES, WATEREDGE, RAILROAD, CUTS, EDGES OF DEVELOPMENT, WALLS. They are lateral references rather than co-prdinate axis. They may be barriers, more or less penetrable, which close one region from an other; or they may be seams, lines along which two regions are related and joined. These edges as elements, although probably not as dominant as paths, are for many people organising features, particularly in the role of holding together generalized areas, as in the outline of a city by walls or wall.

the waterfront in Bandra becomes the edge not only for the suburb, but also for all the inner districts.

3.) Districts: These are conceived as two-dimensional extents which has the notion of "inside of", and which are recognizable as having some common, identifying character. Most people structure their city to some extent in this way, with individual differences as to paths or districts are more important. In most case these kind of district are defined by the residents and not the authorities. And even if they are defined by the authorities they are always re-defined by the residents. The Hamlets of Bandra like Ranwar, Shirely, Rajan, Pali etc. become the districts of Bandra, they are combined by various other districts that are marked by the roads like the carter road, waterfield road or tuner road or bazaar road. It is very interesting to notice the transformation of districts while one is traveling through these. actually one would not notice them as they are very resident centric divisions.

4.) Nodes: These are points, the strategic spots in a city into which an observer can enter, and which are the intensive foci to and from which he is travelling. JUNCTIONS, PLACES OF BREAKS IN TRANSPORTATION, CROSSING OR CONVERGENCE OF PATHS, SHIFTS FROM ONE STRUCTURE TO ANOTHER, OR SIMPLY CONCENTRATIONS, STREET HANGOUT, ENCLOSED SQUARE. Some of them become very important to the district. They become symbols, points of interpersonal relationships, meeting points or points of convergence. They are relative to paths, edges, districts and could be these also at times. They are just an unanimously accepted  format of public hangout spots. They are always found in every image.
St. Agna square in Ranwar by the day, used for various purposes by the residents, like in this case to dry chillies which will become some tasty masala after a point. The square is an important node for the residents to meet, chat and play.

by the night sometimes it is used for community mass

5.) Landmarks: They are points of reference, but only external for the observer. They are rather simply defined physical objects, BUILDING, SIGN, JUNCTION, STORE, MOUNTAIN, ART WORK. Is known to single out one such object from a group around them. Interestingly most of the times Landmarks incorporate in public language and becomes a common point of reference. They are of a local/global nature. They are frequently used clues of identity and even structures, and seem to be increasingly relied upon, even at times when the structure ceases to stand there. Once a history, a sign, or a meaning attaches to an object, its value as a landmark rises.

the oratory at the entrance of Ranwar from the Waroda road on the Veronica street is a very used point of reference

All of these are mainly of two natures: 1. Individualistic, 2. Collective. Sometimes both work, sometimes only one does. These leads to cross-refrencing and overlapping of these forms making a very interesting city image. The image of a given physical reality may occasionally shift its type with different circumstances of viewing. Thus and express way may be a path for the driver, but will be an edge for a pedestrian. But the categories seem to have stability for a given observer when he is operating at a given level. 
None of the above mentioned forms exist in isolation in a real case. The city shall cease to exist if they do. Districts are structured with nodes, defined by edges, penetrated by paths and sprinkled with a landmark. Elements regularly overlap and pierce each other.
Also important to understand is that these might change with time or wear a different character. eg: nodes become landmarks, become edges, or become districts with the expansion of limits of a city, but once you break them down to core elements the image of a city becomes clearer.

Element Interrelations:
These elements are simply the raw materials of the environmental image at the city scale. They must be patterned to provide a satisfying form. At this point it gets imperative to understand that these elements which are being studied here with parts rather than wholes are a necessary feature of investigation at the primary stage. After a successful differentiation and understanding of parts, a study can move on to consideration of a total design. And hence again i mention that we cannot look at these in isolation, to the effect that if one element is disturbed in one way or another, the ripples are seen through all the elements.

A large street, with its ambiguous character of both edge and path, may penetrate and thus expose a region to view, while at the same time disrupting it. A landmark feature may be so alien to the character of a district as to dissolve the regional continuity, or it may, on the other hand stand in just the contrast that intensifies that continuity. Districts in particular, which tend to be of a larger format are thus related to various paths, nodes, and landmarks. These other elements not only structure the region internally, they also intensify the identity of the whole by enriching and deepening its character.

The identity of a window may be structured into a pattern of windows, which is the cue for the identification of a building. The buildings themselves are interrelated so as to form an identifiable space, and so on.

All these elements operate together in a context, In the context of the systems, sub-systems of a city which is inhabited by its several inhabitants who have created their own style and image of their own city.

reference: 'The Image of the City', by Kevin Lynch

Friday, May 21, 2010

Through a lens, STARKLY -the projects first feature

The article got published in the Times of India, Mumbai on the 16th, May, 2010, Sunday, and in Ahmedabad on the 17th May,2010, Monday.
Its about an initiative by a group of Photographers called The exhibition will be held on the 22nd May, 2010, Saturday.
I will be showcasing a series of 24 photographs that are running as a slideshow on the side bar of the blog at present.
About the series:

The set of 24 photographs are from Ranwar, Shirely, Rajan villages in Bandra and Khotachiwadi in Girgaum. I have tried to capture the various architectural nuances which give a character to  this place. Its with its spatial narratives makes it more intriguing to wander around and this is exactly what i am trying to understand as well capture of what i see. I call it 'A Village Story' in a series of images, where they reveal a little about the place and leave the rest for you to go and check out. 
Photographs by Vivek Sheth, for THE BUSRIDE DESIGN STUDIO (

photographs of the show soon.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Shirely, Rajan (Bandra) and Khotachwadi (Girgaum)

An other visit, to these amazing villages around Bandra and in Girgaum. It was a good visit, as i got to know about Parallels to Ranwar. This was not an exercise to study the differences and alikeness between these hamlets, but to study them as a whole, keeping Ranwar out of my mind.
But as we are humans and we tend to compare, it thus happened.

The first visit happened to Rajan, and the next neighborhood, Shirely in Bandra, Mumbai. It was Raghav Sethi, Neehar Desai and me looking at an other settlement in the same suburb with a similar layout, community and format. While wandering around the streets of Shirely Rajan (will use the names together henceforth, its also worth noticing the fact that the names of these two villages/hamlets were always taken in one breath, i wonder why?) we found we landed in another part of Ranwar, which we might have missed to explore. There was similarity in house layouts, the local style, the zig zag wandering streets, the grills, windows, doors. everything! But there had to be something different and that could have been in the lifestyle. If one looks at the photographs in isolation without attaching the name Shirely Rajan to it, it would just look like an other part of Ranwar. Why i contextualize everything to Ranwar is simply due to the fact that i am studying it in detail.
Lets look at some photographs from Shirely Rajan;

the Greens:

In these two hamlets a lot of importance was was given to the green around the house. almost every house we crossed gave beautiful variations of greens against the nice colors of the house. More interesting were the ways in which these greens were incorporated around their houses and the efforts placed in it. These spots serve as great nodes of communication amongst the residents. Also watering and maintenance of the green seems to a common interest and is nurtured very well.

the old scale ground floor houses, with a standard attic at the rooftop, mainly to store
the paddy harvest

this place is converted to a nice school for creative arts for the kids, moving around this house
we could hear interesting music, once we went on the other side, they had a beautiful front space for the kids to play. A very interesting mix use for the house and nurture young minds around these winding lanes.

one of my favorites and very natural, the photographs speaks for itself and speaks a lot

Open spaces, common nodes of interaction, greens, colors and a happy community is what we got to see at Shirely Rajan, a very interesting hamlet the proximity of these two hamlets for sure have induced a lot of interactions and a lot of stories pertaining to these two places might be enough for a thick publication.

Moving to Khotachiwadi (Girgaum), a lot of similarity was seen again. Went there on a sunny saturday morning and the place was full of vibrant colors and beautiful lanes again. This village/wadi has been in a lot of limelight lately. one of the last few remaining ones in South Mumbai, there is a lot of history to this place. Of the 60 (approx) cottages/bungalows in Khotachiwadi only 26 are remaining, and thanks to the resident awareness they are in a good shape. more about Khotachiwadi from the residents and URBZ  will be found here: , this webpage is a very interesting effort and a good start at a resident involvement in preservation of their own culture.
some of my favorite picks from the hamlet:

The analysis and comparison of efforts and conservation in Khotachwadi Preceinct, with Ranwar is something that i would like to do in detail, which shall happen in the next post.