Focal Point - Re-imagining ATMA's Gatehouse

Location: Ahmedabad, Gujarat (India)

Critic: David Bell

India's rapid population expansion in the past 50 years has seen a dramatic increase in development, particularly at the heart of urban centers such as Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Le Corbusier's Mill Owner's Association Building (also called the Ahmedabad Textile Owner's Association House, or ATMA) was by far the largest structure in the area when it was built. Today however, the extreme urban development has rendered the building hidden; to the general public, it no longer exists. How could we re-imagine the gateway and boundary wall to reintroduce the building into the city proper?

Axonometric detail of gatehouse design

A New Boundary

To create a large, plaza-like gathering area, allowing for a void in the street front, the physical boundary wall was inset. Using steps, ramps, and platforms, a secondary promenade was created along the edge, forcing entrants to move and pause before the pulled-metal construction wall. This allowed for increased visual porosity while maintaining the site's security.

Transverse section through living space above and entry below

Point Of Entry

The gatekeeper's house and covered guard booth then served as the “Focal Point” of the entire path, a preliminary goal to move towards from along the street, at which point the user would cross the threshold of the site and see ATMA in full.

Longitudinal section through gatekeeper's shelter, looking towards Ashram Rd.

While the gatehouse itself existed directly along the axis of the entire ATMA site (delineated by the entry ramp), the actual entry was shifted slightly off-axis, taking cues from Le Corbusier's own use of axes and the deliberate breaking of the path. Similarly, the use of specific forms sought to recognize Le Corbusier's standard concrete blocks, yet still be their own.

Perspective view showing procession #1 Perspective view showing precession #2 Perspective view showing precession #3 Perspective view showing precession #4