Youth Empowerment Hub, Yadgir

The GEN Z Series travels from the beautiful mountainous Mitrovica city in Kosovo to the university town of Manipal in the coastal Karnataka in India to meet 2023 graduated Bachelor of Architecture architect Shreya Murali from Manipal Academy of Higher Education. Manipal, the coastal suburb has beautiful panoramic view of the Western Ghats to the east and the Arabian Sea to the west. Manipal is popularly known as the ‘Campus Town’ by the locals, because it attracts students from all across India pursuing higher education in multiple fields.

Master Plan

Shreya Murali reveals, “I was born in Dubai and completed my senior year in the UAE. However, Mumbai where my father’s family has settled is my base in India. My native State is Tamil Nadu, adding another layer to my cultural identity. This diverse familial and educational background has profoundly influenced my perspective about architecture. The fusion of cultural experiences from Dubai, academic knowledge in Manipal and the familial connection to Mumbai and Tamil Nadu has contributed to a holistic understanding of design. My father works as a financial collector for Key Information Technology in Dubai. My mother works as an Administration Coordinator at EMAAR, Dubai.”

Formulation and Site Overview

She adds, “I am the first in our families to pursue architecture. I am passionate about holistic design interventions and have a keen interest in interactive spaces, hand sketching and computational design. My goal is to contribute to the creation of spaces that deeply impact people’s daily lives by fostering connections and enriching experiences. As an architect, I have come to appreciate the blend of complexity and simplicity within architecture and its ability to forge connections. My academic background has nurtured critical thinking, problem-solving and design skills. Yet, I believe success in this field hinges on effective communication and interpersonal abilities.”

Design Strategies

Johnny D talks to Shreya Murali to explore her quest in the architecture field and the significance of her thesis ‘Youth Empowerment Hub: A Catalyst for Change, Yadgir’.

What was your childhood ambition? Did you always wanted to become an architect?

From a very young age, I was driven by a passion for helping people. Initially, during High School, I envisioned myself pursuing Psychology. However, a turning point occurred in my senior year, when I discovered my love for drawing through an elective in engineering graphics. This realization led me to the fascinating world of architecture, a creative field where I could blend my interests in drawing and understanding how people interact with space.

Thesis Premise – I

How has architecture influenced your life as a student?

Studying architecture can feel like navigating an endless sea of knowledge. As a student, it instilled in me crucial life skills—time management, openness to criticism and the habit of examining situations from multiple perspectives.

Briefly tell us about your University and the Course.

I earned my Bachelor of Architecture degree from the Manipal School of Architecture and Planning, Manipal. It was a new experience to be in a home away from home (smiles). Anyone who has studied in Manipal knows the feeling that time moves slower there. It is a region rich with culture and heritage, a great town to learn architecture.

Case Study Selection

Briefly describe the significance of your project with the ‘Title of the Project and Site Location’.

The ‘Youth Empowerment Hub: A Catalyst for Change, Yadgir’ project addresses the urgent need for holistic community development in Yadgir, a peri-urban village in Karnataka. Focused on providing educational, health and technological resources, the ‘Youth Resource and Community Centre’ targets the youth and families of the region. India has over 65% of its population residing in rural areas, 50% under the age of 25 and more than 65% under 35 as of 2020. The economic disparity between urban and rural sectors is especially pronounced in Karnataka’s northern and eastern pockets, underscoring the need for intervention.

Case Study Inferences

Facing a looming job crisis in emerging industries and insufficient education and skill development opportunities, the project responds to the need for programs fostering long-term transformation. By offering education, health services and technology access. The project aims to empower youth, thereby contributing to the grassroots-level change.

Positioned at the intersection of national and international initiatives, the ‘Youth Empowerment Hub’ signifies the importance of community-centric projects in addressing economic inequalities and propelling regional development.

Thesis Premise – II

Which National or International architect has inspired / influenced you? Please specify as to why?

While Indian architects like B.V Doshi and Sanjay Mohe have intrigued me, Geoffry Bawa left an indelible mark during my internship. With a keen focus on local context, Bawa’s work created a new style that echoed traditional tropical perspectives, while still pushing the parcel for modernism. His emphasis on local context and seamless integration of nature into built environments reshaped my perspective on space quality.

Concept and Zoning

As an Intern, what is the most important lesson(s) you have learned from senior architects, while being a part of a project?

Curiosity is the cornerstone of growth! Always staying inquisitive is an integral lesson I learnt. Even the most senior architects in my firm begin their day exploring design websites and magazines to look at new, innovative and unique designs, discuss them with their team, while gaining inspiration from them. Asking questions is a powerful tool as interns and fostering an open-minded approach is essential, whether it is from the laborers on site, the consultants and other architects in the firm or your own peers to be always open to learning.

Site Analysis

Hostile architecture is an eyesore and fast changing the urban landscape of prominent cities around the world. Architecture is meant to benefit the people / users at large, but the effects of hostile architecture are targeting people and depicting wickedness of the society and the architecture field. Elucidate your perspective about this unwanted trend in urban landscape.

Hostile architecture, seen in anti-homeless spikes and uncomfortable benches, negatively impacts urban landscapes globally. It sacrifices aesthetics, reflecting a societal focus on ‘control over empathy’. This approach not only harms the social fabric of cities by discouraging people from congregating in public spaces, but also diverts resources from more innovative urban solutions. Cities should focus on fostering inclusive spaces rather than exclusion and division.

Micro Site Study

Which significant aspects of the global platform ‘zerobeyond – the new frontier!’ did you liked the most, and why?

‘zerobeyond – the new frontier!’ stands out for its dedication to amplify voice of architects and interior designers across the globe. It offers diverse perspectives, testimonials from seasoned architects as well as freshers, and a unique exploration of projects worldwide, providing a valuable resource within the community.

Justification and Approach

Will the younger generation of architects make innovative changes to mitigate the catastrophic effects of Climate Crisis? Elucidate your perspectives.

Young architects, equipped with environmental education, are likely to spearhead innovative solutions. Many architecture programs nowadays integrate sustainable design principles into their curriculum emphasizing the impact of design choices on the environment.The interconnectedness of our generation also fosters collaboration, making sharing of ideas, best practices, and successful case studies from different parts of the world much easier than it once was. It allows for the rapid dissemination of knowledge and the adoption of effective strategies to address climate challenges. Hence, it creates great potential for the younger generation of architects to significantly contribute to mitigate the effects of the Climate Crisis.

Views and Landscaping Details

Local charm of cities has diminished due to Modern Architecture as every city looks alike and similar. How should architects / urban planners / landscape architects modernize cities, while maintaining the local charm intact?

It is all in the balance! For example, in the U.A.E, they incorporate their traditional principles, philosophical or design oriented, as a key aspect of their concept development. Being a city of skyscrapers, they emphasize on the retention of traditional neighborhoods, like the Dubai Old Quarters, The Gold Souk, while developing regions, like Al Seef to mimic the essence of ‘Old Dubai’, through form, planning and local building materials.

Block ‘A’ Building Details

Looking at the past in the current present, what are the futuristic architectural changes you would like to see in your home city / town? Elucidate the reasons for your vision.

Being an NRI residing in UAE, I identify Dubai as well as Mumbai as my home city. Looking ahead, Dubai’s skyline which already has a strong focus on sustainability, can enhance it by integrating green designs and renewable energy sources into its iconic skyscrapers. Building on its smart city status, Dubai’s future could see advancements in technology, such as AI-driven traffic management and sensor-based waste disposal, thereby improving overall city management.

Mumbai faces distinct challenges. The city’s vulnerability to annual flooding prompts a need for resilient infrastructure, including elevated walkways and advanced drainage systems. Mixed-use developments that blend residential and commercial spaces could reduce traffic congestion and allow for more self-sustaining communities.

Block ‘B’ Building Details

In essence, these architectural visions for Dubai and Mumbai aim to enhance sustainability, technological efficiency and overall livability, ensuring these cities remain resilient and vibrant for their residents.

Honours and awards related to architecture, if any.

I was honored to receive the ‘Studio Design Topper Awards’, as well as the ‘Batch Topper Award’ during my second and third years of architecture from my college.

Services and Technical Details

Image Courtesy: Shreya Murali

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