Location: Maheshwar, Madhya Pradesh, India
The fortified town of Maheshwar has been known for its weaving since its inception in the 15th century. In the recent past, however, this traditional activity had become unsustainable due to exploitation by middlemen and poor marketing. This project was commissioned by the REHWA Society, a cooperative of local weavers, as a part of their adaptive reuse plan of setting up looms in the abandoned buildings of the fort and developing community infrastructure and housing.
The project consisted of a study of the existing architecture of the fort and its buildings, and the development of guidelines for the design of buildings housing community functions and weavers housing. A detailed study of the architecture of the town, the neighbourhoods (mohallas), and traditional houses were presented to the community to sensitize them to their traditional habitat. This study was also used to discuss the appropriateness of traditional architecture and its evolution in a newly emerging socio-economic context.
Certain key community buildings, a community centre and a school, and a participatory design project for weaver's housing were built as prototypes to establish an architectural vocabulary for future construction.