Inside JGU 2020 - Issue 1 (January)

JSAA organises design research trips

Jindal School of Art and Architecture (JSAA) conducted several study programmes over the month of December.

JSAA Related Study Program Winter 2019             

RSP Co-ordinators: Sarover Zaidi, Assistant Professor, JSAA; and Ishita Jain, Assistant Professor, JSAA

Immersive Built-Environments | December 2019 |

Garli, Himachal Pradesh

As a part of required coursework, students of JSAA immersed themselves in environments that are new, distant and different from their studying and living environments. Aimed to introduce the students to different forms of making and their grounding within the cultural context, the school organised two distinct design research trips for the first year and second year students.

Water Seance: Re-Enchanting a Sleeping Village, Garli, Himachal Pradesh

The batch of 2018, led by Professor Ishita Jain along with Professor Thomas Mical, Dean, JSAA travelled to Garli, a heritage village in Himachal Pradesh. Here they worked with the community on an ongoing project to re-enchant its social spaces and activities around the village pond. The student group came in to the village at a time when the village panchayat had just received a promise of further funds to “develop” the pond and was on verge of collaborating with a private business owner in the village to outsource the maintenance of the pond – endangering its status as a public common.


The students were led through intensive all-day directed design activities for a week. After their initial orientation to the village geography, they produced measured drawings on site of the central pond area. They gathered information from local residents to formulate a reservoir for the villagers’ expectations about possible alternatives. Through a series of design and research exercises, such as tracking visible and invisible influences upon the social spaces, tracking the villagers’ relationship with the pond, infrastructure, and functions, nature of exchanges prevalent and available on site were charted. A series of imagination-building exercises asked students to define and transform some of these material and spatial conditions. Finally, student teams prepared graphic novels, animations, and images to explain to the villagers what they discovered with their eyes. The event “Taal se Taal” was a dialogue between the students and villagers about the possibilities with the social spaces around the pond. Conducted on the pond banks near a ground shared by the temple, panchayat and aanganwadi, it exhibited the possibility of the ground being transformed into a more active common, and became a space for the women and children to re-enchant the pond area. One of the biggest successes of the student’s intervention was to convince the village pradhan to not outsource the pond maintenance to private businesses.

These exercises were interspersed with lectures from hydrology historian Prof. Dhiman, Mr. Atul Lal, a member of one of the founding families, and Shankar Iyer, a sound artist, who mapped and composited the soundscapes of Garli as an argument of mapping the invisible.


Photos Credit: Taha Khan and Ishita Jain

Flyer Credit: Radhika Narang, Ishita Jain and Atul Lal