Fictional Project‘s Pond Grove & The Fabric was shortlisted in the Reweave Kozhikode Competition, held at YAF, by the IIA Calicut Centre.
Kozhikode is magic to everyone who has visited the city. Having been the gateway to the west, this city greeted its visitors with warmth, rendered their patron wealthy and created job opportunities for the land. Being the place for such cultural exchange, Kozhikode also became the incubator for multiple ethnicities to flourish in this land. The city that it is today, manages to sustain the spirit of what the land has always stood for while gearing up for the next level of global changes.
In an effort to understand the city of Kozhikode and the aspirations of people, the fictional project ran a quick survey/ interview of the people who call this city their home. Our understanding of this exercise is the driving force in attempting to reweave The Comtrust building with the city.
The City of Anchor
The city has its constant reference to west Asia as to the rest of the world. Youngsters seek jobs outside the city, in the hope of returning to their homes. The spirit to be an entrepreneur runs in the nature of the people. With the government schemes like Startup India and Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana, for start-ups and MSME enterprises, Kozhikode and its hinterland witness the sprouting of the business, engaging all sectors of the economy.
It is in light of these observations that the proposal for co-working spaces and offices is being proposed as part of the project for service sectors and retail space for production sectors.
Family, Friends and Fun:
One of the many benefits of urbanisation for human existence is the plethora of opportunities it provides for recreation and rejuvenation. Recreation and socialisation are essential to the existence of the city and its life. Kozhikode is a city of collective identity. A city where an individual’s relation to the social group is actively “performed”. A proposal made in the heart of Kozhikode has to be robust in accommodating its social nature. In the spirit of being united in the face of differences, the proposal has to bring in social spaces for interaction where people feel safe and belongingness.
In attempting to do so, the proposal will include public squares, pathways, connectivity with the neighbourhood and other elements to connect with the history and traditions of the city.
Site: The Connector
If one needs to travel in Kozhikode, Mananchira becomes that point of connection and transition for the city. One could be from anywhere around the city, but it is essential to touch base with Mananchira square before you head to your destination. SM street and other public avenues in this space ensure that commuters and visitors have an engagement while in transition. Residents of this city of all generations have their “idea” of Mananchira and SM street.
To propose anything within this fabric that does not uphold the values of Mananchira to have multiple identities can render the scheme dysfunctional. In this light, the intervention will attempt to cater to the existing needs of the place while working with the economic model. Providing abundant parking space, areas for repose like an interactive sculpture space (in this case “the Grove”), the porosity of edges and pedestrianisation of streets will be in consideration during the proposal to revive the Comtrust building site.
Comtrust Building: The marker
An identity for the city, the Comtrust building watches over the Mananchira square and struggles to do so even in its present condition. Once one of the largest income generators of the city, for the people of Kozhikode it also upholds the memories of their past aura. While the city may accommodate an entirely new architectural language in this prime location for many, the Comtrust building is the marker of Mananchira square and an epoch in the development of the city. The space for public gathering and conflict has also rendered the active participation of trade unions on the site. Women participants also remember this building as the icon of their liberation and empowerment.
Accommodating the needs and aspirations of the participants in the space, the proposal looks forward to catering to these needs by retaining the character of the building. Trade union office will be accommodated within the building and the proposal will also try to accommodate all the existing activities already complementing the site.
Considering the readings from the study conducted and working out a feasible economic model, the intervention proposes the following programs for the site:
Connecting the context
The Bridge Connecting the context and people in the context
Edges are Porous, as the area is flooded with people. So the intervention attracts people to move in and out of the site freely
Trade Union Office
Articulating Vehicular and Pedestrian Movement.
Addressing Public Life
Martial arts practise areas
Practice areas/ Workshops
Engaging the crowd (an extension of SM street)– Retail shops, Market areas and eateries
Space for gathering and protests
Office/ Coworking spaces
Accommodation facilities – Hotel/ Co-living Spaces
Parking Facilities for the context
Markers on the site
The grove – A public square with an interactive installation overlooking the Manachira square.
The intervention is considered as an envelope where the functions can be brought in by the participants. The proposal hopes that public life will participate in defining the activities of this space and that the building and its activities could be an evolving model in time.