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Undergraduate Architecture Thesis’19;

Instructor: Michael Karrasowitsch

The idea of excavating the past isn’t to light up the feeling of nostalgia but to heighten the concept of tangible memories. 


Rakhigarhi, a small village in India offers a prospect of viewing this memory void in a unique manner. The region potentially holds the largest trace of ancient memories  sitting beneath the locus of a densely inhabited village.  The village itself dates back to a century. An interesting topography creates many mounds of excavations. 


The purpose of the intervention is to sensitize nostalgia of history as well as memory void of the present in a holistic approach. The design it leads to is symbolic and subjective- open to every individual's perception. The idea of the intervention isn’t to heighten memories of one dimension of time. The subjectivity of these layers allow working on that front.


Hence, the site becomes an artificial exhibit.

The design revolves around heightening the presences and absences of time thereby heightening memories. This is achieved through layering of horizontals and verticals with grids. The ground is exposed to serve as a site of artificial excavation. The most important layer of anti-memory that is used for recognition is the grid used to access an archaeological excavation. This is known as the Mercator grid. With the grid being universal, frozen, it holds all aspects of time. The layer is given a white finish henceforth.

Viewing downwards toward the ground, the layer beneath is composed of traces of walls  excavated in the vicinity of the site. These verticals are superimposed on the same level with the horizontal grid of the street.This layer is composed of burnt bricks of equal dimensions to furthermore add to the nostalgia. 

Viewing back on the ground, the Mercator grid exposes another layer beneath the excavations, a shadow of the absent features of the excavation and speculation of the past. This layer holds no finish, no tone.  It acts as a ghost of space.

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