The Artists Retreat is conceptualised as a community space. It is an art lab of sorts, that aims to bring together art, ecology and society. It will bring people from diverse backgrounds together to engage in various forms of artistic expression in a creative and critical way. The space will reflect the intention of ‘coming together’. It aims to inspire reflection, quietude, creativeness, and belonging. A space where people can engage and immerse in nature and within themselves.
The other side of the Mumbai Bay is rural, agricultural and still somewhat has a shoreline to speak off. Here, the Mumbai Artist Retreat is poised to become a place where artists can work in a spacious, natural environment, away from the heavy physical and psychological demands of the global metropole.
The site is a low lying coconut palm plantation suffering from saline ground water, located near a beach. To replenish the ground water table with sweet water, a water harvesting pond has been created in the middle of the site. Across the length of the property three zones define the programming of the site: the temporary residential zone, the workspace zone and the residential zone for long term accommodation.
Considering the low soil bearing capacity and occasional flooding on the site, the lightweight steel structures are lifted off the ground. To further reduce the impact of these temporary structures on the site, they are completely manufactured off site. Hereafter they are assembled with nut and bolt connections on site, allowing them to be dis- and reassembled elsewhere.
The Artist workshop is a 12m x 10m “tropical shed” with a 6 meter high roof. While the stilts, columns and beams are made in galvanised steel, the roof structure is built of bamboo V-shaped beams which are covered by a lightweight roof. A solar skylight on the top of the roof generates power and pulls up hot air from the space below, encouraging a natural flow of air across the workshops. Flexible wall panels can be connected to each modular bay of columns, allowing the spaces to be modified. Depending on the requirement the Artists workshop can be used as a single large workshop, multiple simultaneous workshops or an exhibition space.
Mumbai Artists Retreat
Sustainability, Context, Bamboo Roof, Solar Energy, Typology
Shefali Balwani + Robert Verrijt