Light Structures

In A Dynamic Setting

In neighbourhoods directly bordering the sea, such as Darukhana in the port of Mumbai, the open space over the water is an attractive opportunity for expansion. The tide is something to bear in mind. There is two meters between the levels of low tide and high tide in Mumbai.

Photo 16. Darukhana, Mazgaon, Mumbai. Low tide, revealing the supporting piling of the light dwellings.

Darukhana’s main employment is ship repair and ship recycling. The use of sheet-shape building materials is therefore an obvious choice. Many of these come from the dismantled ships. These structures are very light, compared to concrete and masonry. Another advantage is the flexibility. Repair and expansion are easy, material is local available. In terms of sustainability, this is an exemplary site.

The roof shape is straightforward. Its slope is down to the waterside, which is the logical thing to do, as it would otherwise drain to the street, with all inconveniences. The street would turn into a mud pool; the water would be pouring from the roof right in front of the shop or the house. In the end, the water should go to the sea anyway.

To protect the ground from being washed away by the tide, the shore is paved with heavy stones. In order to keep it accessible and capable of bearing the piles under the dwellings, the stones are stacked stepwise, thus providing sufficient horizontal surface. In addition, the stairway form helps to dampen the incoming waves.

Click photo to enlarge.
Photo 17. The shore is paved stepwise, providing excellent ground for these dwellings.

Notwithstanding the wish of many for more comfortable housing, there certainly are things to be appreciated about these dwellings. Their design is practical, straightforward and natural. Everything is in the right place, and in that way it is perfect.

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