Aaranya Low-cost Housing by BV Doshi
Aaranya Low-cost Housing by BV Doshi

Aranya Low-Cost Housing, each core house comprises a plinth and service spaces (bath and kitchen). In the project, the architect utilized the core housing concept to create affordable housing for low-income families in the region. As a result, the inclusion of core housing, user participation took place. The architect prepared different housing options concerning single houses and diversified incremental growth scenarios and flexible layouts. Even two samples belonging to the same housing option could be varied and customized differently by users. However, in Aranya Low-Cost Housing, user participation helped to accomplish greater typological variety.

Aranya Low-cost Housing Case study

  • Project name: Aranya Housing Project
  • Description: Incremental Housing Project, Low-income housing
  • Design: Vaastu-Shilpa Foundation
  • Building status: in use
  • Location: Indore, India
Original module

Location and Planning of Aranya Low-cost Housing

There is a stadium at the center, and in the northwest, west, and southwest of it, there are urban services. Also in the western part of the whole complex, single houses accounted for the significant residential type. Therefore single houses formed three neighborhoods accompanied by three zigzag-shaped open-air gathering zones. Also, those building programs include flats, single houses, green areas, hospitals, schools, and other types of urban services in the remaining directions. Aranya Low-Cost Housing was not composing of housing units only as it included various urban services; hence it comes under an urban-scale neighborhood project.

Aranya housing township Planning

Images of elevations from before habitation indicate single houses’ half-house identity as the dynamic path of up-to-down moving voids is visible. From facades, not only the half house identity but also vernacular and traditional architectural ornaments and forms are also observable (e.g., tower-like typology on the north elevation, the concave bridge-like formation and the pentagram-shaped void between those tower-like structures, perforations on handrails and high parts of those tower-like formations). As a result, there were multiple forms and different core house options, 53 concluding that the Aaranya case is out of a rigidly repeating typology in preoccupation and post-habitation stages.

Usages and modifications by residents

By utilizing core housing in Aaranya’s case, users are giving a chance to develop, design, and construct their own homes and decrease building costs. “Brick loadbearing walls” and “cement concrete floors,” which were “conventional and locally 54 available building materials and construction techniques,” were implementing in Aranya Low-Cost Housing to obtain a cheaper housing alternative. However, an estimate says that approximately 51,000 families were homeless or living in illegal settlements.

Massing- Solid and Void play

Also, Read Kanchanjunga Apartments by Charles Correa: A climate-based

Planning Concept of Aranya Low-cost Housing

Moreover some conceptual basis for planning Aranya are:
  • Vitality – development to support socio-economic aspirations of the community.
  • Imageability – built-form to impart identity and inculcate a sense of belonging amongst the inhabitants.
  • Equity – to create an equitable balanced community with a satisfactory level of environmental qualities and opportunities for all.
  • Efficiency – to realize development that optimizes natural, material, and human resources to the user group’s advantage.
  • Flexibility – to evolve a framework that absorbs the progressive change and growth as a part of the natural development process.
  • Feasibility – to ensure development within the given legal, fiscal, and organizational milieu
Housing as a toolkit: Aaranya Low-cost Housing by BV Doshi
Kit of elements

Design of Aranya Low-cost Housing

Aaranya Township is designed as a services project spread out in six sectors that congregate on a central spine, i.e., the Central Business District. Moreover, one of the critical elements of Doshi’s design was a hierarchy of open spaces that include small courtyards to be sharing by three to four families, larger green spaces for each sector. And also a central playing field to aid the entire development. Also, open spaces and pedestrian pathways interconnect the clusters to the central spine. Each user has an array of choices available, from one-room shelters to supplementary spacious houses. The emphasis is making on family and neighborhood while encouraging adaptation and personalization according to their needs and resources. 

Housing as a toolkit: Aaranya Low-cost Housing by BV Doshi
Unit hierarchy

The lower-income Groups were given numerous options that including a site and plinth, a service core, and one room, contingent on how much they can afford. Owners were free to use any material for the construction and decoration of the house. Brick, stone, and cement were locally available. Bright Colors in the facades, railings, grills, and cornices commonly seeing in the old houses of Indore are using in some of the houses. Interior streets and squares in the Economically Weaker Section are stone-paving, decreasing their cost and maintenance. Peripheral roads are asphalt paving for heavy traffic.

Housing as a toolkit: Aaranya Low-cost Housing by BV Doshi
Modifications by people

Indore’s Climate was effectively taken into account, and a conducive living environment was achieving in Aaranya. Most of the plots are small in and size, and the houses are clustered in low-rise blocks. The more extended side facade is oriented in the north-south axis to reduce the solar radiation on the building. Especially during summers. The two openings on the north and south permit the natural light and cross ventilation—the adjacent buildings sufficiently shade courtyards within houses, cul-de-sacs, public squares, and small activity areas.

About the Streets

The formal street network induces vehicular traffic outward to the perimeter road. In contrast, pedestrian traffic on informal pathways and open space networks flow in the opposite direction achieving clear and safe segregation of slow- and fast-moving traffic. Also, non-rectilinear alignment of streets with varying widths bends, and widening is providing to accommodate a range of spontaneous human activities. The hierarchy of commercial activities coincides with the street hierarchy. Standard commercial outlets are along major arterial roads, while informal shopping areas occur along narrow streets and open spaces throughout the settlement.

Housing as a toolkit: Aaranya Low-cost Housing by BV Doshi
Sample model homes

At Aranya, they built only a small sample of 80 model homes in 1989, loadbearing brick on a concrete plinth with walls plastered and painted, to initiate the development. The architect drew only a set of ingredients to be appropriated, giving residents the language and space to ‘upgrade their life.’ Growth is planned but informal, confined by the masterplan’s hierarchy of built form and open spaces, and held together by a lattice of infrastructural lines. The building and strengthening of ties between social activities. And also physical structures translate into specific architectural elements: the underlying plinth onto added steps and ledges, shared landings, tiny balconies, and open terraces. Here the idea is that every space gets using; staircases are not just for going up and down but also an interaction spot. Public life is allowing to seep into, encompass and infuse living spaces.



Also Read: LIC Housing, Ahmedabad by BV Doshi

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