ECSAS 2023 – Turin 26-29 July

Becoming Community – the development of mental ecology as the prerequisite to the architecture of a desire to live well and make homes together


Wiszniewski Dorian - University of Edinburgh, Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Edinburgh, United Kingdom


06 – Housing, Dwelling, Multilocal ‘Home’-Making: Repertoires of Living Together in Urban South Asia and Beyond


This paper takes its primary thrust from Felix Guattari’s notion of mental ecology (The Three Ecologies, 2000), of equal importance to but actually derived from respect for the intersection between environmental, social and domestic ecologies. Countering readily recognisable formations of community malaise, this paper will frame psycho-ecological practices from three examples of home-making and living together: the corporeality of rawks in Calcutta which operate in different arrangements of street spatiality to accommodate and promote the incorporeality of adda, the informal conversational tradition of Bengal; spatial arrangements of otla and agashiye in Ahmedabad, which influenced the low cost housing projects of Balkrishna Doshi in Aranya, India, that act as cosmic thresholds around entrances and roof terraces, thus, hold corporeal and incorporeal performative exchanges between family and community interests, both in everyday practices but also at festival times like inter-cultural kite-flying roof parties of makar sankranti; and some possible futures that might be found in the radically social action plans for Letchworth, Middle England, formulated by Pierre d’Avoine, an architect of Indian extraction, that propose opportunistic patchwork settlements that reduce the cost of architecture/shelter and which corporeally and incorporeally result in stretching the disposition of disposable income and share in plot lands, commons and biodiversity.