The Seventeenth Annual Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Architectural Design Excellence 2015
Berkeley Prize 2015

Meghna Mohandas Proposal

Vermilion of hope

Confronting poverty – the first thing that comes to your mind is eradicating poverty by direct means. A famous saying – Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; show him how to catch fish, and you feed him for a lifetime. There is a huge world of darkness that has been created, by poverty at the grass root level.

Deciphering the brief - What is poverty? - How do we deal with direct and indirect problems that are created by poverty? - What is the role of women in creating a better society than the one in which we live today? - How do women in the present day scenario face the sharp end of a predominantly patriarchal society? - How does poverty and illiteracy affect the role of women in the development of society?

During my study about women who have faced abuses, I came across a rehabilitation home for destitute women in my hometown Kozhikode, in the Indian state of Kerala.

Anweshi short stay home for destitute women: - The purpose of a rehabilitation home for women who have faced violence and abuse. - What are the advantages and disadvantages of a short stay home? - Who is the person behind this organization? - How society works in the state of Kerala, and in the Muslim dominated city of Kozhikode. - Spaces and psychological impacts of the current short stay home. - Activities that occur in the home and spaces that support them.

The organization: - Headed by Mrs. Ajitha, her inspiration to start this movement. - Funds and sponsors – limitations of built space. - The space she had in mind while building a rehabilitation home. - How they organize activities in the short stay home with available space. - Spaces for children of affected women to stay, play and grow up.

The counselors: - Understanding the trauma that residents have been through. - The psychology of a traumatized person with respect to her built surroundings. - Balancing the right amount of built with open space. - Green spaces for gardening, workshops for improving skills for employment; creche, playground and study rooms for the children. - Multiple room occupancy to create bonds, reduce suicidal tendencies and encourage children to interact with disturbed mothers.

The dreams and hopes of many are being realized in the form of the new rehabilitation home being built by the same team. They hope to fulfill the psychological and materialistic requirements of the inmates.

The architect: - Ar. Sandhya, who faced domestic violence from own home. - Understands spaces that women require. - Incorporate positive spaces. - Balancing private spaces with public areas. - Indulge in colors and lights to imbibe a lively spirit in the home.

The purpose of this home is to elevate women of the nation to a level where they gain a level of self-confidence, because empowering women is the way to uprooting poverty, and architecture of the surrounding space plays a major role in the development of personalities.

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Common room space with tables and sewing machines
Common room space with tables and sewing machines
Interactive spaces in the open
Interactive spaces in the open
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