An Indian housing solution that stacks up

Nick Myall
Monday 10 Aug 2015

A project that aimed to find a temporary housing solution for the densely populated Dharavi Slum in Mumbai, India has used containers as a solution

When designing two towers that would solve a housing problem in Mumbai, India, CRG Architects had to deal with an irregular shaped site that pushed up the height of the tallest tower to maximise volume. Two towers were chosen with the shape of the site dictating where to split the volume and where they should be located. To maximise the views in any direction they decided to use a cylinder shape for the base of the towers. Taking the mass that doesn’t belong to the cylinders, the architect overlapped them to grow the tower’s area. 

The classical and standard container’s storage position allowed CRG Architects to have only one direction of views, with the windows opening on the smallest side. Rotating the position of the containers by 90 degrees provides more façade surface and greater possibilities for opening windows, but still only one direction of views. Changing the position of the containers by following a cylindrical shape, meant multiple views around the site could be obtained. Alternating them around the cylinder provides wind flow through the containers, helping them to remove and decrease the amount of heat.

The skyline of Mumbai will be severely modified after receiving the “Containscraper” on its dense urban grid. The position of both towers is the answer to the irregular shape of the site, giving this area a new landmark with a striking visual presence.

The circular floor plan of the bottom of the tower reflects the old method of circular positions for self-defence, allowing the inhabitants to feel the security that a building with these characteristics provides.

The core of both towers is also made with containers in a vertical position, allowing elevator units to be housed in one of each of the containers in an upright position.

The distribution in height of vertical gardens, together with the separation side by side of every container unit, helps the whole system to remove and decrease the heat dissipation produced by the high temperatures experienced during summer in Mumbai, and the transmission of heat from the metal facade of each container.

The colouring of facades responds to the heating rate of each side of the building, depending on their orientation, and the solar incidence of the site. Therefore there are warm colours on the south side, and cold colours on the north side.


Nick Myall

News Editor

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