LIC Housing, Ahmedabad by BV Doshi
LIC Housing, Ahmedabad by BV Doshi

LIC Housing designed by Architect BV Doshi in Ahmedabad in 1973. The scheme, known locally as Bimanagar, consists of 324 units organized in a duplex terraced unit scheme on 54 plots. The initial development was focusing on the efficient provision of sites and services with a phasing plan for growth. The lower units are around 200 sq. yds and cost 70-80 Lakhs; the second level is 120 sq. yds and cost 50 Lakhs. And the upper units are 75 sq. yds and cost 70-80 Lakhs. This circulation results in a mix of incomes and ownership patterns in the community.

LIC Housing, Ahmedabad by BV Doshi
LIC Housing, Ahmedabad by BV Doshi
  • Project name: Life insurance corporation housing
  • Location: Ahmedabad, India
  • Architect: VastuShilpa consultants
  • Project type: Multifamily
  • Year completed: 1973
  • Project status: Built

About the units

All units are accessing by a central exterior stair and share roof admittance. Because modifications occur internally or within a given massing, there is room for individualization without losing the basic architectural form. Rear courtyards are habitually filling with extra bathrooms or other rooms, and balconies are now covered or enclosed. There are gate entries at the front and back. And the ends of all side streets are fences with locked gates. This scheme’s plan includes a designated area for the playground, parks, and a meeting place. All the dwellings have their own private spaces near the staircase. Some of them are covered. And the residents actively use them for assembling and meeting people.

LIC Housing, Ahmedabad by BV Doshi

About the blocks of LIC Housing

Each block’s distinct feature includes a centrally located staircase 90 cm wide, linear, and vertical element. It gives a sense of invitation and acts as a point of interaction for people residing on different floors. There are terraces physically attach to the dwelling. Designed as an open space but used as semi-covered space or covered space due to the house’s restricted size. Some terraces are converting into rooms, and some have to construct a shade. Due to the arrangement of units, these terraces also act as a point of interaction with adjoining neighbors. Yet privacy is maintaining due to the high wall between two terraces. Usage includes potted plants, storage of junk, swing, cloth line, etc.

Massing : Solid and Void

The houses would be occupied by several generations of the same family, that there will be a strong sense of belonging and that their needs will change, and they may modify parts of it. To accommodate fluctuating sociocultural needs of Indian families, Doshi reverses the typical order of a multi-residential building, placing the largest residence on the bottom and the smallest on the top. It allows the upper unit to enjoy a terrace, which can also be converted into an additional living space.  

The Rainwater harvesting system at LIC Housing

The first rainwater harvesting system was constructed in Gujarat in 2002 in this scheme. Locate on the open ground of the society (where all the water flows to a spot). It was constructing by the society members funded through the annual money contribution of the residents. The water collecting tank’s depth is 20 ft and diameter 8m with a capacity of 40 lakh lit. The water connecting tank is connecting to a water filter and then store in a borewell. The collected water is using for gardening and domestic purposes other than drinking. It is also using as a stage on special occasions as it is very distinctively placed in the site plan.

Series of dwelling units

About The Users

This project is based on the belief that users were capable of generating their habitats. All they needed was a well-designed template, which aided as an initial point for incremental development. It is now a dense and diverse settlement. The primary concept behind the dwelling units gives the flexibility of changes, even having the same format. Each unit, dwelling, floor, house, and element are unique in their way. Each house is personalizing according to the requirements and necessities of the user.

LIC Housing
Sketch of LIC by BV Doshi

About LIC Housing

A study about user perceptions shows that 100 % of the households surveyed consider Bimanagar a safe place to live in. (24×7 security). Being at the center of the city, they do not have to travel large distances for their primary day-to-day requirements. Also, “The society has progressed as a flawless residing place in the city,” says a delighted resident. Even though being amidst traffic, the society is peaceful. The space between the society and the surroundings is separating by green space, acting as a buffer space.

LIC Housing
LIC as a prominent design, showcased at Vitra museum

But this scheme started getting abandoned. As a result, it was challenging to make sure that the plots would benefit the people, which was the intention. A critique was that the original owners to whom the plot was allotted would immediately sell it at market rates to better-off people (often informally, as initial beneficiaries were required to keep them for a certain number of years before they could be sold). Nevertheless, this scheme is succeeding in producing desirable. And functional human-scale built environments at a low cost to the state. create a “cathedral without walls” that would also be “democratic”. Every part of the Parasol is un-identical and unique.

Also Read: Sheikh Sarai Housing by Raj Rewal, New Delhi

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