david adjaye designs silk weaving factory in varanasi, india
all images courtesy of nest
in one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, a 600 year old silk weaving tradition is in danger. the region is steeped deeply in the spiritual history of hinduism and jainism as well as the 1000 year old intermixing of a significant muslim population; the religious capital of india replete with music, color and culture, indeed suffers from the pitfalls of a developing infrastructure. in order for weavers to revive their business and keep their tradition in tact, architecture is being employed to create a consistency of production. a joint venture of fashion label maiyet, their non profit partner nest and barney’s of new york, the update of the historic tradition for the contemporary global economy finds its basis in a new type of workspace design by london-based architect david adjaye.
while maiyet reframes luxury as a celebration and commodification of rare artisanal skills, in partnership with nest and adjaye, the physical space is a reflection of community needs as well as a newly optimized industry. drawing from the layered, complex tectonic palette and spatial typology of the region, the proposal will harness solar power and green space for a carbon-negative footprint. gender-specific workspaces optimize workflow with regard to local tradition, while the structure doubles as a provisional space for social services and health clinics. the architecture fills the discrepancy between development and craft, for the weavers do not lack skill, rather they need space to train the next wave of artisans as well as a safe place to work unaffected by rain, heat and other conditions that impact the domestic sphere. the built form seeks to tie the community across religious and cultural lines and secure the important art with mutual respect and understanding. groundbreaking for the 18 month project is slated to begin in fall 2013.
eleavtion rendering of the waterfront facility
interiors hint at a passively cooled and ventilated, courtyard-based design
many skilled artisans work at home, where changing conditions in the domestic interiors, namely climate, adversely affect production
video © maiyet