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From 1874 to 2006, the Surah Jute Mill was part of the sprawling network of jute production in Kolkata. Since then, it has been sitting vacant in an otherwise centric and lively neighborhood.

With land being in high demand and low supply in the city, we view the site as an opportunity to provide much needed relief to this land pressure. However, we propose to do so through an anti-zoning experiment that resists newer more restrictive forms of development that result in costly land use mis-allocation and sprawling. This proposal will instead embrace Kolkata’s dense and dynamic urban fabric — building flexibility and organic growth into its design.

The absence of formal master plan in Barabazar has resulted in a diversity of activities, a fine-grained system of land use, oftentimes overlapping mixed uses, and a vibrant economic street life.  Is urban morphology is organic street patterns, dense and dynamic building patterns, and lots of flexibility from unregulated use.

Salt Lake City and New Town are the result of a formalized top-down planning scheme, which has resulted in limited spatial diversity and much less density.  Morphologically, its straight street patterns, straight building patterns, leave little room for flexibility.