Having gurgled out of the splendid mire of the City of Joy, escaping boarding-school to apprentice with painter Ganesh Pyne, applying to study Instrumentation and Control Engineering (and failing), graduating as an architect, working as a Naval Architect in Paris, teaching Studio in Vadodara-- Arijit Chatterjee encircles the planet in extreme efforts to obfuscate any sensible reading of his portfolio. He is currently studying Marine Architecture in Valparaiso, Chile, while designing high-end real estate in Gurgaon, New Delhi, India.
STUDIO SEA FORCE: Teaching Studio with Asha Sumra
Why this Craft?
Studio Sea Force was born in a context of missed deadlines, backlogs, cancelled flights and last-minute change of plans. The idea sprung from our sustained interest in the wooden shipbuilding industry and was enabled by the encouragement of the Director and energy of the students at Vadodara Design Academy(VDA). We jumped at the opportunity to provide a so-called remedial studio for second architecture year students, and suggested conducting a studio by developing an understanding of the wooden shipbuilding industry on the Gujarat coast at Mandvi, and developing a design brief in response to our discoveries. During our first discussion one of our students inquired, “Why this craft?”. We replied by revealing the strong spatial quality of the ships and an entirely transparent process of construction, which the students themselves discovered through a site visit to Mandvi. Here they observed and documented full-scale ship construction and engaged animatedly with Mandvi locals involved in the shipping industry. At Mandvi, we found a four hundred year old craft that exists is a refined but fragile state amidst advances in steel shipbuilding that threatens to undermine the the time, labour and skill- intensive nature of the wooden craft. Without resorting to romanticization of the craft,we sought to design a facility that would help preserve and sustain the industry whilst also providing a forum for interested people to understand more about the craft of wooden shipbuilding on the subcontinent, and how its historic roots trace trade relations with other parts of the world, in what we refer to as a ‘Living Museum’. We hope you appreciate the glimpses we are able to provide into the rich traditions of Mandvi shipbuilding.
Arijit Chatterjee & Asha Sumra
Building in the South: Unrealized residence