(A cob and waste bottle seat, made at 60th Zonal Nasa convention, Zone 1 at ITM University, Gwalior)
Since its inception, Design Jatra has been an open source platform, always focused on free dissemination of knowledge in the realm of traditional and natural building technologies. The ‘in-campus’ workshops are a step towards that direction. The Jatra team has been visiting campuses of colleges across the country for these workshops, with the aim of facilitating the generation of functional installations that add to the ecology and to the social experience of the campus. Quite often, we collaborate with other practices that incorporate similar ideologies as Design Jatra to organize these workshops.
Through these workshops, we have tried to instigate discussions between traditional masons and students. They collaborate on designing the installations in the first half of the workshop and then together, they execute them. Students are exposed to various skill-sets and methods to execute their designs. Depending on the time given and the number of students assigned, these in-campus hands-on workshops have produced a wide range of such installations. A brick-vaulted canteen seat, a squirrel bridge of cob and bamboo, a large wattle-and-daub partition, a natural plaster display wall and many more such installations have been successfully executed.
(Design jatra and Dhirty Hands teams with the Lime Plaster on wattle and daub panels at Bharti Vidyapeeth college of Architecture, Kharghar )
The result is a process which is enjoyed by both the masons as well as the students. Within just a few days, they manage to actualize designs that serve to remain as a part of the college campus. The fresh ideas that the students and the masons generate over the course of the workshop also function to enrich the capacities of the designing team at Design Jatra. With the pressures we otherwise face in professional environments being eliminated, these workshops allow us a free hand to experiment.
We hope to introduce more such workshops in various colleges in order to spread awareness and knowledge about traditional building practices, skills of traditional Indian masons and technicalities of constructing with natural materials.
( A wattle and daub partition panel at Zonal Nasa convention of Zone 3 at D.Y. Patil school of architecture, Ambhi)