fbpx Biennale Architettura 2021 | Rahul Mehrotra; Sourav Kumar Biswas
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Rahul Mehrotra; Sourav Kumar Biswas

Becoming Urban: Trajectories of Urbanisation in India

  • TUE - SUN
    22/05 > 31/07 
    11 am - 7 pm

    01/08 > 21/11
    10 am - 6 pm
  • Arsenale
  • Admission with ticket

Rahul Mehrotra (American/ Indian, b.1959), Sourav Kumar Biswas (Indian, b.1986) at Harvard Graduate School of Design (USA, est.1936) in collaboration with The Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute (USA, est.2003) at Harvard University, and Architecture Foundation (India, est.2016)



India’s urban discourse is dominated by a focus on large cities and the splintering urbanism of informal settlements often housing the majority of the urban city’s population. It is recognized that settlement typologies considered informal are the result of aspirational migrants facing a dearth of institutional solutions in cities. Without an anticipatory framework to address housing and infrastructure, the self-built housing and settlement typology from the so-called hinterland makes its way into the material economy of the city and creates a range of building forms that are lumped into the universalized rubric of the slum.
Becoming Urban decenters the study of settlements from metropolitan cities to the larger territory in order to understand the dynamics of migration that have shaped India’s large cities and the processes of urbanization that are now transforming the hinterland. By taking a territorial view, this project reinforces the idea these low-rise, self-built typologies will continue to house India’s future urban population not just within large metropolitan cities but across tens of thousands of settlements.


The Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute
The Architecture Foundation India
Harvard Graduate School of Design

Production credits

Isabel Oyuela-Bonzani, Maria Letizia Garzoli, Lamia Almuhanna, Juan David Grisales, Cole P. Skaggs, Angela Sniezynski, Sanjiv Shah, Prathmesh D. K., Meena Hewitt, Ela Singhal, Dan F. Borelli, R. S. Iyer of Associated Press
Photo Installation: Design consultant Dan Borelli

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Biennale Architettura
Biennale Architettura