Ahmedabad, India

Situated on the west coast of India, the Gujarat State is steadily transforming into a predominantly urban society. Over the decades the share of incremental population going to urban areas has shown an increasing trend.
In its largest city, Ahmedabad, which is de-facto state capital, the process of urbanization is expected to intensify over the next two decades growing into a 10 millions inhabitants mega-city with the inclusion of neighbor urban areas into its fold.
After decades of strong industrialization specialized in textile and chemicals, the recent globalization and liberalization processes have brought significant development in the sectors of information technology, financial and tertiary services.
The educational and industrial institutions of the area attracts students and young skilled workers from the rest of India, increasing the city's large middle class demanding variated dwelling solutions; on the other hand population living in slums grows quickly due to the lack of affordable housing.


Chimanbai Patal Bridge River Front

The site is a long and narrow peninsula gained to the river during the recent construction of the new water front.
In the master plan, a pedestrian shore is proposed. The project intends to interact with this linear public space. The housing complex is conceived as a spine, creating a façade with public gaps overlooking the river.
The spine is composed by sequence of terraced buildings - of pyramidal section - prompt to be encroached without losing the structural urban and landscape relations.

site area 190'000 m²
housing units 1'280
inhabitants 6'400
density 340 inhabitants/ha

Amelie Bleibach
AAM, Denmark

Old City River Bank

The new waterfront master-plan under construction proposed a huge flat space of gained land precisely in front of the old city. Relocation of slums and a big market surface are the suggested use for the land.
The project tries to regularize the public space by proposing a sequence of housing blocks of different dimensions, aligned toward the frontal public space and adjusted in depth by following the traces of the ancient city wall on the back.
The housing complex is conceived as a repetition of blocks surrounding a communal courtyard, kept unified by a continuous roof.
The housing units are inspired in the traditional topologies of row houses present on the adjacent city centre. The external façades of the complex is organized as a portico, a climatic device serving both the accessibility of the housing complex as well as a multi-purpose covered space related to the market area.

site area 80'000 m²
housing units 600
inhabitants 2'400
density 300 inhabitants/ha

Rae Moore
AAM, Ireland

South West River Bank

In the new waterfront master-plan a huge gained area is proposed for slum relocation. The site has an central value due to its relatively closeness to the old city, shortened by an important existing bridge.
The social housing request is solved by proposing an unique seven hundred meters long multi-storey building, with high ranging from from zero to fourteen storeys, served by ramps.
The building could be understood as a superposition of streets connected to the existing circulations, coming together one on top of the other.
The achievements of the proposal are: a high density of inhabitants close to the city centre; a vertical circulation scheme (ramps of 5% of inclinations) that allows high rise without the need of elevators; and a structure of important dimensions capable of matching the scale of the new river front.

site area 55'000 m²
housing units 240
inhabitants 1'200
density 220 inhabitants/ha

Martin Anzellini
AAM, Colombia

Nava Vadaj Rd

The site is an empty plot of land positioned at one side of a T junction where three different kind of neighborhoods come together.
The project emulates the building scale of the closest neighborhood, with two and three storey multi-family blocks separated by narrow semi-private pedestrian streets.
The regular square grid of blocks and paths is discontinued by the maintained trees, introducing exceptions of green areas within the complex.
Recognizing the central position of the site, the housing complex steps back from the alignment of the main road, making space for market and public space, also in an attempt of providing an open area for the suffocated slum in the nearby.

site area 38'000 m²
housing units 632
inhabitants 2'500
density 650 inhabitants/ha

Avneet Kaur
CEPT, Colombia

Bapunagar Tolnaka Cricket Field

The project intends to be a re-qualification though infrastructure of a very poor and informal settlement placed on an area of a dismantled cricket field.
On the northern side, the cricket area is redefined by digging its perimeter in a precise shape. during raining season it would function as a water retention device.
The slum is relocated in the same area but organized within the limits of a platform created with the excavation material from the cricket field.
A regular grid of service columns–wc, water tank and electric supply–hould allow a better rearrangement of the future encroachment of the settlement.

site area 19'000 m²
housing units 120
inhabitants 600
density 315 inhabitants/ha

Manjit Gurram
CEPT, India

Narol Sharkej Rd

In the souther outskirts of the city, a recently opened axial road allowed the rapid urbanization of a agricultural cadastre.
The project site is a huge area of several abandoned fields traversed by the new road.
In the project, the former agricultural land subdivision is used to create different groups of blocks surrounding in each case a central square.
The central field - in fact a dismantled wood - is crossed by the axe road and remains empty as a future park.
The single units of houses are organized as plot & services. For each plot is provided foundations, perimeter walls, toilet and a small covered area as starting point for self construction and encroachment of the dwellings.

site area 143'000 m²
housing units 2'500
inhabitants 12'500
density 850 inhabitants/ha

Klaus Zoia
AAM, Italy

Makarba Rd

The site are a series of thin left over areas in between the main roads and the boundary walls of an enclosed private housing development.
The project is an strategic approach to deal with this general pattern of urban residual space.
The housing units are organized in continuous strips of buildings, placed perpendicularly to the main road and with variation in length according to de available space.
The open spaces - public paths - gathered alternately in between the houses. In correspondence with particular external situations–like road crossing or junctions–the open spaces shifts, adding a diagonal scheme for circulation, an extra level in the public spaces hierarchy.

site area 51'000 m²
housing units 810
inhabitants 4'050
density 800 inhabitants/ha

Kiram Kumar Ramalingam
CEPT, India

Makarba Rd

The site is a depressed land, partially used as a retaining basin during monsoons, situated in the central area of a chaotically developed sector.
Overlooking the site, many different urban situations come together without continuity or agreement. The project intends to transform the plot into a significant community space for the area.
The housing units are organized in four storey blocks - arranged in couples in order to concentrate vertical circulation - are aligned towards the west side, where there is a blind boundary wall of a gated community.
The limits of the depression are geometrically redefined trough earthworks, enhancing it reservoir function and reserving land for a central park.

site area 13'000 m²
housing units 264
inhabitants 1'050
density 800 inhabitants/ha

Ramya Haran
CEPT, India

Sardal Patel Ring Rd

The site is a depressed plot adjacent to the central area of a satellite town of the city of Ahmedabad.
The two-storey dwellings are aggregated in cluster of four, in a volume of a cross-like footprint. The buildings are aligned in order to follow the different directions of the surrounding neighbourhoods.The distortion of the grid necessary to match the context irregularities become the particularity of each building an is reflected in the form of the resulting central semi-public courtyard.

site area 28'500 m²
housing units 220
inhabitants 880
density 300 inhabitants/ha

Yasuaki Tanago
AAM, Japan

Sharkej/Gandhinagar Highway Railway Bridge

The site is separated from the urban context by the presence of two important infrastructures, a highway and a railway line, both also clearly defining the limits of the place.
The resulting autonomy of the site becomes suitable for the proposition of a self referent urban structure.
Single storey buildings are geometrically organized around a void. According to the dimension of this open air space, it get different connotations ranging from domestic courtyard, collective playground, park to central square.
An existing water tank in a tower acts as a landmark. Its position gives significance to the biggest of the sequential voids.

site area 260'000 m²
housing units 1'680
inhabitants 8'400
density 320 inhabitants/ha

Alice Busani
AAM, Italy

South of Dhongre Mahraj Rd Green Belt

The site is a plot inside a green corridor crossing a medium-class district on the Northwest part of Ahmedabad. After the recent disaffection as agricultural land, the green land is being developed with average houses.
The project search an alternative to the massive densification, attempting to maintaining the characterized open area district. A high rise typology is proposed because of its maximal covered space with minimal footprint.
Three towers are placed on the site connected by linear canopies. Land become structured and passage throw the site become possible.
Each tower works as an superposition of two storey clusters. Units of different dimensions are organized at both side of a communal double high space. This passing trough space becomes referential in each cluster, because of its generous dimension and for the presence of entrances and the vertical circulation.

site area 25'000 m²
housing units 324
inhabitants 1'620
density 650 inhabitants/ha

Goncalo Frias
AAM, Portugal

North of Dhongre Mahraj Rd Green Belt

The site is a plot inside a green corridor crossing a medium-class district on the Northwest part of Ahmedabad. After the recent disaffectation as agricultural land, the green land is being developed with average houses.
The project search an alternative to the massive densification, attempting to maintaining the characterized open area district. A high rise typology is proposed because of its maximal covered space with minimal footprint.
In each of the four the proposed tower an important central space is given in each floor for community life. Units are intended as infrastructured covered surface to be individually develop and furbish, regularized only by the presence of structural and services cores.

site area 22'000 m²
housing units 288
inhabitants 1'150
density 520 inhabitants/ha

Tudor Maldarescu
AAM, Romania

Rana Pratap Marg

Two empty plots are divided by a fly-over road. The bridge creates at the same time a covered semi-abandoned space.
The project attempts to create a covered piazza by converging all the public paths of the the new housing complex toward the covered space.
Housing blocks are placed on top of continuous basements, clearly separating street from private areas.
The resulting longitudinal blocks follow in each situation the main direction of the existing grid of paths in the context, redirecting the street movement toward the new central space.

site area 35'000 m²
housing units 1'020
inhabitants 4'080
density 1'100 inhabitants/ha

Filippo Santoni
AAM, Italy

Natvarlal Raval Marg

The site is an undeveloped left over sourcing in the middle of two neighborhoods, different in between them in terms of typology but also in the social level of their inhabitants.
The idea of the project is to create a proper interface for relating these two opposed urban situations. A double street is proposed in the middle of the plot, with a longitudinal pedestrian central space.
The housing in both sides are developed maintaining the typical scale and high already present in each side, functioning as a complementation of the existing tissues, meeting and facing the new public axe.

site area 15'500 m²
housing units 320
inhabitants 1'280
density 825 inhabitants/ha

Vedashree Jathar
CEPT, India

Ashram Rd River Front

In the new river front under implementation, a dam wall being constructed on the shore transforms the original situation of gentle slopes going down to the river into enclosed depressed spaces.
Reversing the expected process of infill and build on the top, the housing complex itself becomes a completion of the created depression. Access and connection with the upper city is given by the roof of the complex.
Dwellings are organized in a grid of continuous buildings surrounding courtyards. The voids ensure sun and ventilation but also serve as available space for encroachment.
The eventual rigidity of the scheme is broken by the absence of buildings and the consequent bigger voids acting as main circulation and public spaces.

site area 29'000 m²
housing units 280
inhabitants 900
density 310 inhabitants/ha

Debora Marci
AAM, Switzerland

Program of activities


Presentation of the WISH 2010 in Mendrisio


Free travel in India for AAM students

Workshop in Ahmedabad

Seminary at CEPT

Guided visits:
  • 15 project sites
Ancient architecture:
  • Friday Mosque
  • Sarkhej complex
  • Adalaj step well
  • Queen’s step well in Patan
  • Sun Temple, Modhera
Modern architecture:
  • Mill owner's association building by Le Corbusier
  • Sarabhai house by Le Corbusier
  • City Museum by Le Corbusier
  • Indian Institute of Management campus by Louis Kahan
  • Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad by Charles Correa
  • CEPT campus by Balkrishna Dosh

Workshop in Switzerland

Design atelier
Collective critics


Intermediate reviews


Final reviews in Mendrisio


Free travel in Europe for CEPT students


Presentation of the projects in India at CEPT University



Traditional indian architecture until 15th century
Snehal Shah

Housing tradition in India

Culture and society

From mindful buildings to reaching the poor
Himanshu Parikh

India’s urban water–an overview
Mattia Celio

The WISH project
Martino Pedrozzi and Otto Krausbeck

The VIKAS centre for development
Rajesh Shah

Architecture and housing experiences
Balkrishna Doshi

Projects for the pleasure of reason
Martino Pedrozzi

Guest critics


Giacomo Guidotti
Andrea Nardi


Mario Botta
Sebastiano Brandolini
Marianne Burkhalter
Andrea Nardi
Snehal Shah



WISH final critics
Villa Argentina Park,
Academy of Architecture,
Mendrisio, Switzerland


CEPT University, Centre for Environmental Planning
and Technology of Ahmedabad

Special thanks

Snehal Shah
Himanshu Parikh
Rajesh Shah
Balkrishna Doshi
Jagdip Mehta
Giacomo Guidotti
Mario Botta
Sebastiano Brandolini
Marianne Burkhalter
Andrea Nardi