building v/s BUILDING

Undergraduate Thesis project, 2018, Individual work
An exploration in transient architecture; Case: Healthcare

Zonal Winner, Runner up nationally, Top 7, Annual Thesis Awards,
National Institute for Advanced Studies in Architecture and Council of Architecture.

Guides: Shanthala V, V Nandish, K.R. Madhucahand
Rhinoceros Grasshopper, Revit + Dynamo, QGIS + SK learn,
Predictions made using Python + Matplotlib.

Context of the project

The bachelors thesis was the definitive point when I decided on the area of computation I would focus on. The project is based on the premise of social change by creating a network of public health nodes. Although the chief area of focus was the structure, the ancillary areas of research such as GIS mapping, Urban analysis, generative design methods and building technology were all areas that I touched upon. Casting a wide net in the project allowed, at a later stage, to focus on generative design which laid the basis for future research and professional work. Retrospectively, the idea seems all the more applicable in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Premise of the project

Public health is an ever-present problem which has existed in our country over the past decades. Healthcare in India is an extremely complex issue caused by multiple factors; the blind faith in certain systems which have no medical grounds (such as Homeopathy), religious dogmas, (positive or negative) and many others. Among the factors economic constraints have been among the strongest in the recent years.
The inadequate beds as compared to the population standards exist, they do so because to maintain a healthcare facility economically, the beds, always must be occupied to make the maximize (impact /cost) ratio.

The ground reality of the problem

Chaos and emergence

A source of inspiration of ever-changing structures is nature. Two prime examples of emergent systems are bees and ants, who collectively create an ever adapting and growing structure which is based on simple behavioral rules, no singular entity causes the end product, nor does the product serve its original users without them. Together as a whole, the formation of systems results in a truly sustainable product.

Thesis swarms and emergent assembly

Urban Analysis, wards and Site selection

Since the goal is to provide a prototypical solution to the public health issue which plagues the city, an approach must be developed which can be scaled up-to the urban level. Based on the current population densities and the areas of concentration, the region is divided into several different healthcare wards. New wards are graded based on the following factors if they have or do not have a positive influence on the ward’s perceived score.(A summation of all the factors which influence the need for healthcare). The ward must be selected based on how heavily affected the area is and a method for the health center as where they come up as an urban intervention is also a “module” of sorts, the wards recognized as crucial points of intervention are to be dealt with prior to everything else.

Site selection mechanism

Predicting the building

The idea and principle behind transient structures is not original as mentioned before. The premise had already been explored by the Japanese Metabolist movement. Among those structures, a key example of the Nakagin Capsule tower stands out. The building is now in disrepair and is heavily criticized for its modular approach. The key question of such a structure is who is going to revisit the building and reorganize the structure to create a variation in the building use. Given the premise of the project, where change of the buildings form and function is to be the norm, the panels below summarize the process of creating a prediction system to achieve this. (Interpolations were done using SK learn and Matplotlib in Python)

Building prediction system

Creating a expandable structure

The process of designing the modules is broken up into the following tasks and the diagrams document the process that explored:

module design philosophy

Site planning

Beyond the monotony of establishing wind directions and sun paths, the goal here was to examine a few important features which relate to the creation and management of health. One of the most important ones is the feeder networks established by the shuttle auto-rickshaw networks leveraging this would allow for the buildings influence be larger than the actual impact of the floor area it occupies. The dilapidated hut poses an opportunity to coax in a religious feature or a space of faith and healing. This would make it a cultural landmark.

site planning

The modules

The modules are conceived as nested system of a 6X6m space which hosts the various services and are stackable like containers.
Inside them a factor of spaces can be created with two simple dimensions 2 and 3 m (given the height of the module is 3 m) This allows for a master grid of 6.4m X 6.4m and a sub grid of tessellated 2X2,2X3 and 3X3 the nesting also allows for various combinations of spaces to work
The panels comprising the structure also allow for the vertical and horizontal panels to be a certain dimension which are interchangeable. The final design for the module was tested for structural integrity to be sure of the window of operation to be true.

site planning


The agglomeration of the individual modules creating specialized modules for different departments

final modules and agglomoration


The origin of the design was based on the premise of emergent design, the components of which being , the units (the modules) an the rules by which they interact amongst themselves to create a whole greater than the sum of its parts. The following illustrations sum up the explorations made in this respect, few key highlights for the design here are:

Visualization of the outcome

Finally, what is the actual outcome? In an overall explanation of all the processes and steps demonstrated above here is a an interactive illustration of what such a transient structure means. And specifically, in this case what are the discrete solution points given a certain situation.

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