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An experimental approach for community goals

DCOOP

An experimental approach for community goals
By Ruturaj Parikh -

Working from Mumbai - a city that exerts significant influence on their practice - DCOOP have designed a diverse range of projects: from institutional buildings in the hinterland to small office-spaces in the heart of the city. The territories of their thinking and practice are defined by the city, enabling them to produce architecture of rigor through a structured process, all the while taking experimental detours and assimilating the possibilities of the new and the exciting in their work. Having established their practice in 2003, a post-liberalization economic environment that enabled global finance to aggressively change the landscape of design practice in India, DCOOP have consciously resisted the pervasive monotony of designing luxury condominiums and second homes for the rich: omnipresent archetypes for a contemporary urban Indian practice. On the contrary, a sizable section of their portfolio includes institutional and housing projects: typologies that are largely missing in the works of emerging firms in India. The initial projects of DCOOP were interior design commissions. Developed from an exploration of deeper spatial qualities, these projects viewed interior design as a process of making inside-out architecture. The offices for Ensemble represent this approach. Working within a 200-year-old colonial-era building in the Fort precinct of Mumbai, DCOOP articulated a floating floor within the found space. Retaining the heritage Minton-tile floor, DCOOP’s intervention is a particle-board construct with elements of steel and glass. The idea of approaching the design of space at two critical levels - the scheme and the detail - is a constant of all their works. Looking closely, one can decipher many threads of continuous reflective thinking in their practice: a process of constantly looking back while looking at the future. For DCOOP, the development of the project is a considered act of discussion and negotiation, with observable parameters and...

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