Studio 4/B16 x Mofussillab’s Loom’ing Pavilion was chosen as the special mention entry in the Reweave Kozhikode Competition, held at YAF, by the IIA Calicut Centre.
The intent of the proposal is expressed in three levels of intervention.
01. Reconfiguring of the Masterplan
Legibility – The factory’s architecture had a minimal presence on the immediate fabric. One of the key strategies has been to reveal all the facades and make the presence of the factory and its strong identity of the north light truss more legible to the surroundings, hence building and amalgamating into the character of the immediate neighbourhood.
Permeability – All the edges of the precinct are redefined to make the fabric more accessible. Four key nodes (east, west, north, and south) are pronounced as public entrances. Each node responds to a particular urban condition – The south node has a pedestrian underpass leading from SM Street to the site. West node responds by carving a public space in response to the Town Hall and theatre. North Node to the church and the public buildings surrounding it. East Node to the Mosque precinct. All the nodes are interconnected internally and flow through the precinct as pedestrian routes both to connect the surrounding public buildings and also enhance movement for the new public space on the site.
Periphery – The periphery road network has been reworked. It has been widened for a comfortable carriageway with generous pedestrian footpaths. The bus stops and bays have been well-defined. The pedestrian crossings are well-marked and made more legible. The one-way road next to the COMTRUST building has been stopped for vehicular traffic and made completely pedestrian
Neighbouring buildings and Parking – The set of new buildings in the south and west of the factory will be configured into two highly dense public buildings to accommodate the existing programs and also accommodate more public amenities including retail. The capital generated by the new and efficient buildings will compensate by providing more parking to the south and also make the site more permeable from that zone. The guidelines for the public buildings can be established (porous ground floor and elevated public spaces). The feasibility of this act will be validated only after a discussion with the stakeholders involved.
02. Editing the Factory Building
Fabric – The singular body of the factory is fragmented into differently scaled objects, enhancing the movement between them. Our personal visit gave us a closer reading of the existing condition of the building. We removed parts that are completely dilapidated and edited parts that are partly surviving with a new distinct character by using steel. We have subscribed to the Japanese philosophy of Wabi Sabi – an ephemeral contemplation of something that becomes more beautiful as it ages fades, and consequently acquires a new charm. We carefully revealed the existing character of the building and also added subtly new language which is distinct yet quiet. The renewed factory premises’ density is more porous now, hence rich in scale and experience for different programs and users.
Interior Space – Again, our visits to the factory allowed us to read the inherent quality of the publicness of the interiors. The double height volume for the looms has an innate quality for a great public space. We have made incisions to the grid and added more transparency to the field of columns and roofs too. The natural light enhances the publicness of the space.
Program – The existing floor space is divided into 3 large zones – Museum, Empty Chamber, and Multifunctional Areas. The Museum will reveal the history of the factory, place, and technology. The movement in the museum will follow the sequence of making textiles – dyeing, drying, thread making, weaving, and stitching. It will celebrate the rich political and social history of the factory and its journey of growth in pre-independent India. The Empty Chamber is a place of quiet reflection with a minimal installation to just absorb the quality of the striking well-lit interior space. This is also the threshold between the Museum and the Multifunctional Space, and also sits at the heart of the factory. The Multifunctional Space can accommodate multiple programs – flood relief, flea Market, Food Court, etc. The heritage building to the north will have a cafe on the ground floor and administration on the first floor.
03. Adding Objects
Habitable Boundaries – Within the precinct, the barriers are converted to occupiable spaces. The transition between the park/maidan, park/pond, and maidan/factory is enhanced by these slivers of pavilions. The pavilions become the spine of movement between the nodes in the north-south directions and a secondary spine in the east-west direction. The sectional profile of the pavilion is an echo of the north light truss. Wherever required the programs are added – like sports facilities, retail, and seatings.
Loom’ing Pavilions – – When we visited the factory, the most revealing detail was the architecture of the ‘loom’ – a form of an aedicule that scales itself for refuge in the large field of wooden columns. An interesting internal play of two scales – the individual and the public. We were excited about this architectural character and its possibilities. We extracted this quality and revealed it in the architecture of the pavilion + spine. The architecture of the pavilion offered rich interpretations. The programmatic possibilities are many and suitable for a climate like that of Kerala – a place of shade, for both, in the sun and in the rain. The pavilion offers orientation and background for the events taking place in the park and the maidan – a place of refuge in the vastness of the open space – exactly as the loom offered for the interiors.
Material Reuse and Play – This act of architectural strategy also folds efficiently into a strategy of sustainability. The 600 looms and their wood will be reutilized to build the pavilion. They will be engineered with steel to suit larger spans. The notion of wabi-sabi is carried on into the detailing. We found this peculiar instance of the cloth/fabric still in the looms getting woven frozen in time, arresting. This image of the cloth in the loom is an imprint of the conflicted history of the factory. This conflict is manifested in the expression of the tectonics of the pavilion. A layer of fabric is slid between the structure to modulate the sectional volume playfully and to address the transitory climatic conditions.
It is in this attempt to manifestation of the detail of the ‘loom’ing pavilion, we express our intent of the project by interweaving the materiality, character, and history of the factory.
Gallery of Loom’ing Pavilion
About Studio 4/B16 x Mofussillab Team
The team is a collaboration between two studios based in Mysore; mofussillab (headed by Ar. Kiran Kumar) and Studio 4/B16, a collaborative design studio run by Ar. Anu Majo, Ar. Rahul Kustagi, Ar. Sourav JK, and Ar. Vismaya N.