DXD Architects’ Samsristha Mananchira was shortlisted in the Reweave Kozhikode Competition, held at YAF, by the IIA Calicut Centre.
Comtrust weaving factory is an industrial heritage structure which has layers of historic, architectural and socio-economic significance, which can enlighten people about the history of Kozhikode. Being located at the heart of the city, the building and surrounding areas hold great potential in maintaining heritage value as well as urban connectivity. So the design focuses on bringing a reciprocal relationship between the comtrust precinct and the city by reviving the dead and unused spaces while ensuring an uninterrupted connection between the same. The project proposes the thought of bringing a pedestrian experience, reorganizing the traffic system, and rescuing the heritage importance of such a historically relevant site.
One major concern in the area is the road to Mananchira which split the precinct into two distinct functional zones. The accessibility gates to the square are also bothered due to vehicular movement on the road. So the idea is to limit the road connectivity to the perimeter of the precinct thus creating an uninterrupted area of cultural and historic importance. To enhance this, the Mananchira road connecting the town hall road is renewed to a pedestrian path while maintaining the vehicular path through Vaikom Muhammed Basheer road. So the accessibility to the comtrust compound is provided from Oyitty road which results in a completely segregated pedestrian road access through Mananchira road as well.
The existing comtrust precinct is proposed to be a mixed-use building that functionally, architecturally and visually integrates the square with the precinct, achieving more open and livable space and stimulating a more integrated and inclusive use. To achieve this, deep research about the immediate surrounding was conducted which helped us to include an exhibition hall, a museum and a restaurant with other amenities to the design. Two separate parking areas are provided at the entries of the precinct, giving a solution to the absence of a parking area in the Mananchira square as well. A singular entry to the precinct is now revamped into three entries in the south, east and northeast which segregates the users according to the function. The administrative block of the museum and restaurant takes the existing entry which is from the south. The visitor coming through the parking is taken to an inviting entrance of the museum which utilizes the area existing of canteen and kitchen. The museum exhibits two different galleries. While one of them holds the history of Kozhikode, the other is exclusively considered for showcasing the textile machines and equipment which is necessary to let people know how the building functioned once. The historic museum takes the visitor on a journey from the Portuguese invasion to the present Kozhikode. Apart from the museum, an art gallery is another approach to sustaining the cultural uniqueness of the city. So an existing hypostyle hall is no better than the other.
The absence of a good restaurant in the neighbourhood is resolved by providing dining space for around 200 people well equipped with kitchen and service facilities. As a public space, the parking area lacks amenities like toilets and restrooms which are included in the proposal. As the existing building is partially demolished, a part of them is completely ruined. So these areas are considered for providing a plaza which can act as a framework for city life, where people can relax and wind down while taking shade under the roofed seats. The proposed pedestrian path connects the mixed-use building to the Mananchira square which exists merely as a ground. Enhancing the existing jogging tracks in the square, and providing a viewing platform over the pond draws more people to the park. Thus the abandoned comtrust building can be transformed into a functioning urban node.