Paradise Pomegranate: Walls, Gardens and Dwelling
Paradise Pomegranate tests the potential of Ahmedabad’s old city walls as an instigator for reconfiguring Ahmedabad’s fruit-scape and its consequential role within the larger metropolitan network.
Ahmedabad’s Old City is a ruptured pomegranate. The thickness of the old city walls has been peeled back; its seeds have spilled to the periphery. Simultaneously, fruit production in India is facing challenges due to inefficient postharvest systems, poor irrigation and decentralisation. Large transport distances result in high wastage and reduced fruit quality, diminishing farmers’ profits. Paradise Pomegranate tests the potential of Ahmedabad’s old city walls as an instigator for reconfiguring Ahmedabad’s fruit-scape and its consequential role within the larger metropolitan network.
Visualising the [in-between] zone of the Old City Walls as both an inside and outside, three architectural agencies of Selling, Growing and Dwelling become the apparatus for forging fruitful interventions and creating conditions of continual wetness. The intensity of this liminal condition is transposed to the Sabarmati Riverfront Project, where vast openness offers potential for further cultivation. As the agencies emerge, so does the etymological link between culture and cultivate: tilling the land and acquiring skills. Paradise Pomegranate does not aspire to utopian ideals, but gestures instead towards evocations of lushness and delight, rooted in the modest origins of the word ‘Paradise’ in Old Iranian as a ‘walled enclosure’.
The Fruit-Farmer’s Dwellings create clusters that focus on maintaining a strong connection between farming and community, between culture and cultivation. A study into the architectural qualities of the pomegranate allows for the Fruit-Farmer’s Dwellings to take on the properties of seeds. [Un]peeling and laying the ruptured pomegranate along the path of the old wall offers a method for agitating the existing condition as the dwellings spill into gaps left along the path of the old city wall. Courtyard spaces act as thresholds between old and new; they opportune transitions between private dwellings and the street. Within each cluster of dwellings, a community hall acts both as a place for inhabitants of the Fruit-Farmers’ Dwellings to meet and spend time informally, but also as a formal meeting house for members of the Fruit-Farmers’ Guild.
Combining knowledge of the pomegranate with analysis of the social and environmental impact of current farming systems has driven the thesis towards a proposition that argues for a mutually beneficial productive landscape and accommodating city, fulfilling a duty to rebuild the old city walls as socio-environmental skins that hold and protect the fecundity of both a community and landscape that give back reciprocally to the city.
Collaborators: Rachel Dunne, De Rui Lee