Interior of a Students 'Slum' Dwelling


The interior of many a so called slum dwelling is very neat and tidy. In this chapter we will show you the full interior of a students' home in Dharavi Mumbai. We could of course show you some snapshots, but we think we have something better on offer. For our research we rebuilt the students' home as a 1:20 scale model. By recreating it to the tiniest detail, we were forced to identify every item and to research why an item is where in the room. In addition to the interviews with the students who live here, we learned from the model how ingenious this household actually is.


Floor area is about 9 x 12 feet / 2.7 x 3.6 m. In this scale model of 1:20, the floor has approximately the length and width of my hand.



Four young men live here: three students and an engineer. Laundry is put were it doesn't hinder: along the walls and over the stairwell.



The students' home is on the fop floor. (And of course: unlike in this model, the other floors are certainly occupied :-)



Water: drinking water in bottles on the left, washing water in the blue tank. Metal tank on the ledge is used to carry water, whereas the hose on the right is used to bring water from a tap at the ground floor.


Study: table with books, maps of India and the world on the wall. The laptop saves a lot of space compared to a desktop computer. Below the map of India lies a roll of mats and sheets which is rolled out at night for bedding.



The sheet makes a nice place to sit, as my friend Noushad is demonstrating.



The mezzanine floor above Noushad, just under the roof, is ideal for storage.



Under the mezzanine is a bookshelf, within reach from the study table. Note the blue rope hanging in the stairwell, it is an important support when you use the steep stairs.




The kitchen: a plastic bag with potatoes on the wall (left), a cauliflower lies on the box, stove, pots and pans, drinking water in bottles on the right.


We are sure you will agree this home is a great place and kept well tidy. Without doubt you noticed the four seperate groups of clothing, the neat stacks of books, the table arrangement, the logic of the kitchen, the cell phone and the pencil.

Making models is a powerful tool in architectural design. It helps us understand what a future building will really look like. Perhaps modeling is even more powerful for architectural research on the already existing world.