This thesis looks at the old town of Mandvi on the coastal edge of Kutch In Gujarat state of India. While romanticizing about its beautiful past and the built form that has developed over the years, the thesis curiously enquires about Mandvi’s tourism oriented future development plans. The thesis further analyses the linkages between architecture and tourism. Questioning the nature of architecture constructed for and by tourism, it sheds light on the production of a staged and extremely curated built environment for touristic consumption. Understanding the ground reality concerns that arise out of a site due to tourism, the thesis re-thinks and intends a town-specific bottoms up approach for selecting potential locations and deriving sensitive design strategies.
A narrative about Mandvi was constructed to decide onto a network of sites to be chosen to intervene. The idea of choosing landmarks that are used by the locals, was done to ensure that the buildings do not go null in tourist off season, and allow the tourists to subtly percolate in the everyday lives of the locals of Mandvi. The project proposes that architecture for tourism should be understood by its imbrication in the everyday rather than as a special, separate field of activity.
Project Celebrating Mandvi takes the inevitable tourism-oriented development in a positive stride yet meticulously ensures no erasure of Mandvi’s own identity. An action-oriented plan that refines Mandvi’s own architecture for inclusive tourist plug ins and does not define it into a clone stamped tourist destination package to be sold.
On a larger picture, the thesis questions the idea of using architecture as a tool to package places as destinations to be sold rather than journeys to be experienced.