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Small steps for Khotachiwadi

A design workshop conducted in the heritage precinct threw up myriad ideas

Khotachiwadi Imaginaries, a workshop conducted by the organisation, URBZ, and young German architects Niklas Fanelsa, Marius Helten and Leonard Wertgen started a new design conversation at the heritage space last week. "Since the participants weren't experts on the locality, including us, we made them pick a spot and observe the happenings. This allowed them to keenly observe both, the physical space and the lives that involve around it," explains Helten while sharing results of the workshop that will be on display across Khotachiwadi till this weekend. He cites the example of a bench near a local temple that is used by residents for a nap, for evening meetings and by a fish vendor.

A flight of stairs that will connect two chawls
A flight of stairs that will connect two chawls

A design intervention made at the workshop is a flight of stairs in a back alley that helps connect two chawls. "The kids from both chawls play together in the evenings. Until now, they've had to take a longer route to meet at a common spot. Back lanes of buildings are generally used for dumping garbage from the windows. With these stairs, we created a shortcut and helped clean up the alley. The kids plan to take care of the maintenance of the stairs," shares Helten.

Residents view the works on a wall at Khotachiwadi. Pics/Atul Kamble
Residents view the works on a wall at Khotachiwadi. Pics/Atul Kamble 

We spotted stencilled cats on the walls while walking through the area, with a poster made by a participant. "There are several resident cats that roam the passages.

German architects Niklas Fanelsa, Leonard Wertgen and Marius Helten
German architects Niklas Fanelsa, Leonard Wertgen and Marius Helten

We identified some of these spots, and the kids have spray-painted visuals of cats to mark their routes," informs Helten, before heading toward fashion designer James Ferreira's house, which served as venue for the workshop.

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