The housing for the Neemuch Improvement Trust in Mandsaur District in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh was designed predominantly for the less well-off sectors of society, but also partly for the middle income group. Its 178 dwelling units were conceived and constructed with the aim of assuring a good standard of living and providing reasonable facilities, adequate and equitable distribution of infrastructure, and suitable open spaces. Row and cluster housing has been developed with common walls, and all houses are provided with front and back yards. Dwellings at first floor level are given access to an open terrace via an outside stairway. The houses were built of local stone and with local labour, thus achieving very high cost savings.
Each type of cluster was given its own open space. The overall environment results from the hierarchy established by these open spaces, which range from individual terraces and front/back yards to cluster open spaces. Their continuum throughout the scheme is established by pathways that link the various spaces.
The main building materials - rubble and limestone slabs - are indigenous to the region and have been used for centuries. As a result the locals are well versed in their usage. The stones and slabs came from a quarry about 20 kilometres from the site and were used cut and dressed to various specified sizes depending on anticipated usage. The method of construction was very similar to that used for pre-cast concrete, but in a natural form, and did not require any sophisticated equipment. All work was done manually on the site.
Architect’s Record of HUDCO Housing. Courtesy of Architect (submitted to the Aga Khan Award for Architecture), 1998.
In the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, the architects of projects engaged in the nomination process receive an Award documentation package which describes the standardised presentation requirements. In addition to submitting photographs, slides, and architectural drawings, architects are asked to complete a detailed Architect's Record pertaining to use, cost, environmental and climatic factors, construction materials, building schedule, and, more importantly, design concepts and each project's significance within its own context.