Reflections on Water: Architectural Manifestations in the Historic and Cultural Quarter along Lake Pichola in Udaipur
- S Samant
The aim of this paper is to undertake a critical appreciation of the historic cultural quarter along the eastern edge of Lake Pichola in Udaipur, which is a result of its unique context with the objective of understanding the forces that underpin this development, examine its existing state, and highlight key concerns. The main issues that were highlighted include preservation of existing traditions, conservation and adaptive reuse of historic structures, sensitive and participatory planning and design, formalising of street activities, provision of infrastructure, and administrative structures to deliver the project, and organisation of awareness programs for the local community.
The aim of this study is to develop a critical appreciation of the historic core and cultural quarter along the eastern edge of Lake Pichola in Udaipur, which is a result of its unique climatic, social, and topographical context, to chart the changes to this context, to draw attention to past patterns of growth. The objective is also to understand the forces that have influenced and underpin this development, examine its existing state and highlight key concerns. The study is limited to the historic core along the waterfront and its related structures along the eastern bank of Lake Pichola in Udaipur. The study demonstrated that the historic core along the lake front is a result of evolution that has been guided by dominant determinants such as its socio-economic hierarchy/structure, political, cultural, and religious factors, climate, availability of materials and technology. The overall form, settlement pattern and the massing of buildings in Udaipur are dominated by its physical attributes and in consonance with the topography and landscape, and ordered by the generative force of its land form and the lake. It is, however, subject to severe developmental and environmental pressures as a result of intense tourism related and commercial activities, unwarranted and haphazard building activities, continuous neglect of residential properties, some of the historic fabric and surviving artefacts, and poor infrastructure. If this trend were to continue, the problems will intensify manifold causing serious threat to this valuable environment, its urban spaces and exquisite edifices. Preservation of this waterfront, which plays a decisive role in solving critical urban, social and economic problems in this city, is vital. The main issues identified for consideration in this context were preservation of existing traditions, conservation of historic structures and adaptive reuse of buildings, sensitive and participatory planning and design, formalising of street activities, provision of infrastructure and administrative structures to deliver the project, and creation of awareness and understanding amongst the local community.
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