UGO architecture and design: let's talk about garbage
UGO architecture and design: let's talk about garbage UGO architecture and design: let's talk about garbage
aug 14, 2013

UGO architecture and design: let's talk about garbage

UGO architecture and design: let’s talk about garbage
all images courtesy of UGO architecture and design




‘let’s talk about garbage’ by polish firm UGO architecture and design is focused around the biggest slum in asia dharavi, which is home to over 1 million inhabitants. the selling of the slum’s land requires a solution for the relocation of this unique community. located only ten minutes from the centre of the metropolis, its financial district and the famous bollywood, the land (and people living there) has been put up for sale by the city authorities, it is worth over 2.3 billion dollars. the slum generates profits worth 500 million dollars, it supplies the whole of mumbai with necessary products and goods.


the substitute accommodation offered by the local authorities does not meet the needs of the self-sustained community. the replacement flats are based on westernized models of housing and ignore the cultural and social needs of the people. they do not allow them to run craftsman’s workshops and other businesses from their homes. ‘let’s talk about garbage’ is a solution for the occupants of dharavi, one that adapts a completely different attitude towards space and privacy within the typical apartment typology. the economically constructed housing block allows its inhabitants to shape and modify the functions within. people become the architects of their own home, as families are able to decide the number of rooms, their arrangement and the materials used.



the new slum development allows inhabitants to actively recycle waste and transform it into business goods



the relocation of the slum to the nearby dump derona, 7.5 km from the city, is where thousands of residents gather 6 thousand tons of garbage every day to take back to the local businesses. materials recycled in dharavi include almost all the glass, aluminum, paper, plastic, paints, cans, cables, electronics, garbage and even soap from nearby hotels. this new site will allow them to continue to carry out their business activities, as most of the craftsmen rely heavily on recycled materials.


the new facility is a structure without a prescribed function. divided into 7 x 3.5 m units similar to a multi-storey car park. the dimensions are focused around an analysis of the buildings surrounding the dump. the 50m height of the structure corresponds to the highest block of houses in area. the solid rectangular volume is divided by two corridors into two parts: the residential one to the south and a recycling part to the north. the only feature in the development that suggests a function is the dedicated recycling area. the open ground floor space serves mainly to supply garbage from the dump and export goods produced by the residents. the 7m wide streets around the building’s edge fulfill not only their transport function but they are also major places for social meetings and trade.



the economically constructed housing block allows its inhabitants to shape and modify the spaces themselves









new site plan



concept diagram



aerial view of site map



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

  • This is shocking. A vertical slum instead of a horizontal one ??? Im sure the community will be thrilled with design.

    cb says:
  • where is air ventilation and light? oh right their poor shove them into any hole who gives a damn.

    mg says:
  • Yes, relocating them INSIDE the dump is a nice touch as well.

    James Tiddlyfecker says:
  • What happened to the lessons of public housing around the world? Please look at Pruitt–Igoe in St Louis, Cabrini–Green in Chicago, Edifício São Vito in Sao Paulo, Kibera in Nairobi (of which architect Tom Morgan made an identical proposal, see slumdog superstructure), and my current favorite, the Tower of David in Caracas Venezuela. These are pretty good case studies for what this proposal represents.

    c lee says:
  • beyond absurd. architecture is apparently still capable of shock value. nice job.

    n says:

    Someone says:
  • Stack up the garbage in little interiors boxes bake in the tropical heat and let hundreds or more people live with it and PHEW. The sections look like a joke or something from MAD magazine. Let the inhabitants “ARRANGE” the spaces. Boy! Great idea for public safety. I thought Pruitt Igoe was done and proved itself to be done. Good riddance to bad garbage! Get real planners go live there yourselves

    Lightmaker says:
  • There is good critical thinking here, but the issue is to let more light into the inner spaces and make all levels accessible from the many fronts like stepped mountain.

    Desk says:
  • I agree, I studied Dharavi for my MA in Architecture a couple of years back – social and economic links and communities are what powers Dharavi. You only have to look at the similar social-economic experiments in Europe in the 60’s and 70’s where the existing social structures never withstood the perceived wisdom of applied tower block verticality of the time. The vast majority of tower blocks form that era failed and have subsequently been replaced.

    However, this proposal is infinitely superior to the official proposal form HOK below which I hope as been long since abandoned for the cynical land grab that it was.

    Jimbo_Jet1977 says:
  • Go to Goa in India with your garbage projects. Thet need it
    regards jens fryd

    jens fryd says:
  • Is this for real or is it akin to Archigram’s irony? If it’s for real it’s diabolical and essentially the exploitation of informal economies; that of those who have not had the opportunity to make a living and have had no choice but to be resourceful beyond comprehension. If it’s parody then a lot of time has been put into this for what is agitprop. It has certainly sparked a worthy discussion however.

    theflyingpadre says:
  • I have no words when I see how contemporary architecture deal with poverty and scarcity! there ‘s no respect for those people and once again society don’t see that capitalism system is the principal responsible of these global situation.

    how media and political powers manipulate the society with this kind of proposal. The recent aesthetic of scarcity seems to became a way to do architecture in a disrespectfully and cinical way! Less is more , seems to be a fashionable trend to do architecture!

    those kind of project remember me a sentence pronounced by Slavoj Žižek

    “Think about the strangeness of today’s situation. Thirty, forty years ago, we were still debating about what the future will be: communist, fascist, capitalist, whatever. Today, nobody even debates these issues. We all silently accept global capitalism is here to stay. On the other hand, we are obsessed with cosmic catastrophes: the whole life on earth disintegrating, because of some virus, because of an asteroid hitting the earth, and so on. So the paradox is, that it’s much easier to imagine the end of all life on earth than a much more modest radical change in capitalism.”

    Fabian says:
  • and there r elephants in the base – apt for those white elephants taking decisions for the world around. making a public housing dependant on the dumpyard that dharavi is! can’t v have methods (and lifestyles) to reduce waste and better management systems of the tons of wastes produced everyday? such schemes portray the working class themselves as wastes. green living indeed:-)

    lpk says:
  • It sparks interesting conversation, and for that, I appreciate it. Even though it is not a plausible solution, it is nice to see some architecture that at least acknowledges such conditions and ideas. Thanks for that! For those who are offended, you are looking at it wrong – this project is more of a curatorial device to put the concept on the table.

    KLS says:
  • Irresponsible Utopia

    Carestia says:

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