The site of the Mumbai Artist Retreat on the other side of Mumbai Bay is typical in that respect. Since it is relatively difficult to get to, it still has a rural, agricultural character. More so in contrast to the rest of Mumbai, it still has somewhat of a shoreline to speak of. Here, the Mumbai Artist Retreat intends to become a place where artists can work in a spacious, natural environment. A place that is away from the heavy physical and psychological demands of the global metropole. However, with the skyline of Mumbai across the bay, it still feels connected with the city. The site is a low-lying coconut palm plantation located near a beach. Because of a decreasing ground water table, it suffers from saline groundwater in the summer months. To replenish the groundwater table with sweet water, a water harvesting pond in the middle of the site recharges the groundwater table. In addition, the pond attracts a significant number of fish and bird life. Across the length of the property, three zones define the programming of the site: the temporary residential zone, the workspace zone, and the residential zone for long-term accommodation. The program proposes a series of temporary structures to accommodate these activities. Considering the low soil bearing capacity and occasional flooding on the site, a nimble lightweight steel structure lifts the building off the ground. To further reduce the disturbance of the site during construction, the construction processes employed off-site manufacturing. Therefore, all the joints between the various steel components are designed as nut and bolt connections. The columns rest on stone boulders sourced from another construction project in the vicinity. A steel rod anchors the columns into a chiseled depression in the basalt boulders. This method of construction offers the option to reassemble the building on higher ground if desired. The Mumbai Artist Retreat is conceptualized as a community space. It is an art lab of sorts, that aims to bring together art, ecology, and society. It will bring people from diverse backgrounds together to engage in various forms of artistic expression creatively and critically. Therefore, the space will reflect the intention of ‘coming together. Furthermore, it aims to inspire reflection, quietude, creativeness and belonging. A space where people can engage and immerse in nature and within themselves. The Artist workshop is a 12m x 10m “tropical shed” with two roofs that are each six-meter high. Two skylights chop off the pyramid-shaped roofs on the top. By shifting the roofs away from each other asymmetrically, they define the two spaces below from an experimental perspective. A storeroom with screen printing equipment creates an additional loft with a workspace on top of it. While the stilts, columns, and beams are made of galvanized steel, the roof structure is built of bamboo V-shaped beams. Indian bamboo often suffers from irregular shapes and diameters. To avoid the natural irregularity of the bamboo from becoming distractive, the layout of the rafters follows a zig-zag pattern.

Constructed, 2019