Hathigaon literally translates to 'Elephant Village'. Architecture is lot more than just service from human to human. When we talk of spaces for communities, it generates an empathy extended towards every being, as in this case – elephants.
At such a juncture of contextuality, architecture deals empathetically. As Rahul Mehrotra, Founder of RMA Architects, the creators and deployers of this housing project, rightly said: ‘Our country certainly should not unthinkingly adopt western ideals when it comes to an architecture competition and instead look for local solutions. We don’t need your glass buildings and your eco labels in India.’ Thus, the design and deploy process was collaborative.
The small dwellings are of 200 square feet. These are arranged in sets of four, wrapped around communal courtyards. Large courtyards and pavilions supplement the small spaces that are allocated in the budget for the essentially low-income housing project. These connect the small housing cluster and thus – add cohesion. The courtyard becomes part of the living space. All the houses have electricity and running water.
Contextuality of the project is inevitably strong and hasn’t been ignored by the architect. The idea of regenerating the water resource in the dry climate of Rajasthan required deep thought and expertise in landscape design. There is a perceivable visual change in and around the site under threat within a span of just couple of years.
Description: Community housing for mahouts and their elephants in India
Design: Rahul Mehrotra Architects
Consultants: Structural: Vijay K. Patil & Associates; Plumbing: Mc Berl; Landscape: Integrated Design; Electrical: D.R.Bellare
Building status: in use
Construction period: 2006-2010
Location: Jaipur, India
Coordinates: 26°54'44.8'' N, 75°47'14.2'' E
Tags: water living, community, earth, landscape, low tech
Project ID: 583
Published: 20 May 2016
Last updated: 28 May 2016
(images have individual licenses)