AA Inter 3

Development- District 145 “A labyrinth and soil bank” by ignatioputra
March 15, 2016, 2:33 pm
Filed under: 2015-16, Ignatio

Hello Ricardo and Nannette

so I basically look at the site and the buildings on the site in particular looking at buildings inhabited by the Bengali and the Jumma.

From here I captured the idea of hierarchy of privacy to public. Especially the Bengali’s House which the further it gets from the ground the more private it gets (shown by the screens they put especially at 2nd and 3rd floor. The 1st floor usually used for inviting guests so here is semi private. The ground floor are mostly used for shops which means it is semi public.

Similarly for the Jumma buildings despite that from 1st floor to 3rd floor are all private houses/ flats, the ground floor reminds me of their traditional stilt house which is mostly used for their shops that extend to the street.

From this idea of hierarchy, I thought about what if the architecture on the street extend the idea of this private and public but in a larger context which is between the two communities. (Private being a space for their own community and public being a space for both of the two communities). Since the project deals with the idea of negotiation the interaction of the two communities I thought about what if the interaction is a gradual process. This means the inner most place will be the most public. (So I revert the idea of Private space in the building being the inner most or furthest away from the street).

Then I thought about the Jumma being free and nomadic in the past to practice their jhum cultivation, the architecture should somehow preserve the idea of a journey/ nomad/ exploration. Here I also look at Rem project Exodus how the other side attracts (green is always better on the other side) as well as the book the city & the city which shows how to inhabitants of separate state but walking on the road next to one another pretend to believe that the other inhabitant is non existent, but despite that curiosity grows and breaching occurs.

With this idea I began to think what if the architecture is a thick labyrinth of a new section or district over the street with this gradual process of revelation of the two communities to one another. And at the very heart of the architecture, the inner most and deepest level is where the soil bank exist. At this space it is where the true public space exist. The soil bank being nurtured by the two communities here becomes a symbolical meaning to the understanding of the real value of the land that they have lost because of ongoing land conflicts between them. This space being the innermost place, there is no way for the military to watch what happens inside here from the street level (as the labyrinth becomes more dense and thicker as it goes deeper.

Here is a little bit of narrative that I started to write:

Labyrinth is the place where the people from the two communities get lost. The inside is like a maze. as an extended form of the street and public space, the labyrinth revert the organisation of the building surrounding the street of Rangamati. Where the most public space lies deep within the Labyrinth. It is the place where chance meeting occur.

“You will never find where you are when you enter the labyrinth. The labyrinth opens up the moment you step out of your ground floor where the semi public space of your building are connected to the street. Looking from above, you may know the layout of the labyrinth, but once inside, you don’t know where it leads you. If you are a Jumma, unknowingly you might see and venture into the Bengali territory. As you venture deeper, you will start seeing the other communities, what they do, their tradition, entertainment, culture. The path initially let you see things but preventing you to interact with one another other than seeing. Gradually as you get lost more things about the Bengali are shown to you. This rule applies to them as well. As you go even deeper you will start to see intersection where chance of meeting with the Bengali happens. Both of you will get confused as you don’t know on whose land are you currently standing on. Being unknown on whose land, interaction of trade and negotiation occurs at these grey zones or hatch zones. As you go deeper and reach the inner chamber, you will be shown that the land belongs to both of you. Here lies a symbolical procession where both of you shall nurture the soil. These chambers are called the soil bank, where the soil as a symbolical element to the mother earth are to be cared for and nurtured for. With this gradual caring of the soil together you shall see that both of you can work together, nurture the land together. The land is not supposed to be disputed. It is a shared heritage. Look at the land now, because both of you focused on who owns the land, you have neglected the true meaning of the land.”

The architecture becomes a procession/ a journey which reveals the two communities and the value of the land where negotiations also constantly occuring

I also read more about the idea of the soil bank and what it could be. I found an interesting article form scientific american about soil considered as Earth battery and how the microbes that naturally in the soil can be nurtured and they can produce electron flow into usable energy. Soil naturally contain energy conducive material like zinc, copper, iron and microbial fuel cells. So through rejuvenating the soil and nurturing it the soil can also give back to the communities. This analogy is similar to Earth worm how through their feeding on the soil, they produce phosphate that in turn nurture the soil. Th article wrote about how human can act as that earth worm, nurturing the soil itself.

Example of microbe that produce electron:

Shewanella oneidensis

Rhodoferax ferrireducens

Geobacter sulfurredudens

The form that I have is basically inverted pyramid but with caduceus profile.

My problem of finding the form is still there and this is an initial idea

One of my problem that I find quite hard to resolve is the scale, as in my mind a labyrinth is quite large for it to be able to create different and variable maze and density moreover, the organisation of the labyrinth is also something that I currently still research on. Should I probably look at some strategy to design a module of the labyrinth and replicate them? For example pattern of Jhum Cultivation? or pattern of the local building layout or local street?


The form profile of Caduceus relate to the prototype itself where the arduino as the machine/ engine for Caduceus at the bottom, here the soil bank that becomes the source is located there as well.


Thank you




1 Comment so far
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Thanks for the post and work. So straight to the point, a fews things that can be considered.

1- The drawings are very good, but as we understand there is a formal obstacle of how to proceed in terms of design. The soil bank could form strategy could play more the idea of what kind of structures are suspended above the street? Commemorative artists of statues like the colossus of Rhodes, military symbols oof success or pride. But here you could get your soil bank to exploit one of those existing ‘over street’ types to fill with your mad constructions and labyrinths? The point 4 shows an example. Those comments are to instigate a development, not to radically chnage the approach, but as the form is a bit loose at the moment it could help bridge the diagram on the left to the image on the right more?

2- At the moment the ‘narrative’ feels very uptight and not very creative of suggestive. It has an tone of moralism at the end tying its purpose with the final end of everyone will get by the end of it because of soil. Maybe you explore the actual productive conflicts it can bring forward the surreal negotiations in places that resembled either one of the local cultures. Those moments could be filtered through a design language that could be learnt from your early work from cables to derelict war tanks?

3- Have a look at the work of Ben for a 7-mile rainbow in North Korea. The project done in his 5th year at the Bartlett explores how the lunacy of the state creates a massive enterprise that mobilize the country physically, economically but also in its military symbolism. Certainly commentary project. But in your case the construction of the piece may be the purpose of it, its beginning and end may be disputed, but its either vastness of interior disorientation attracts and pulsates with elements of people that search for ‘a’ thing, while the project seems to grow and expand in its narrative ambition of how the two can negotiate. The project is also worked in terms of narrative not only in terms of plans and sections showing the movement and transformation of the city around the project. Here is the link for the project:


Good luck!

Comment by tutor

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