Program : workshops, talks and seminars

Lead professor: Emmanuelle Rombach

Supporting professors: Sandro Varano, Sébastien Perrault

Partners: National School of Architecture of Strasbourg (ENSAS), Faculty of Architecture of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute for Architecture (KRVIA) Mumbai.

UEM111/121 STUDIO “Complex Densities”

From Mumbai to Chandigarh & Bhubaeswar – Master 1+2  Semester 1 (fall) 2019/2020

The studio Complex Densities aims to make the students sensitive to urban density situations present in contemporary cities. The workshop  proposes  in particular to focus on the effects of migration  on the structure of urban cities faced with sharp demographic increases.

The studio also encourages students to question the notion of density in relation to urban typologies. A thorough analysis of existing urban typologies viewed both from the morphological angle in their socio-economic and demographic content allows us to link spatial device, encrypted density and the way of living in the city.

The studio offers close involvement in the process of densification of a territory and a thorough study of the support system for food and energy needs of new inhabitants.  The project is approached as a dynamic ecosystem. This approach  built on a large volume of various data is to be transcribed in diagrams, pre-formal schemes that allow students to move from an abstract, quantitative dimension to progressive and qualitative formalization of their project’s intentions.

The studio proposes to train students in using parametric computer design dedicated to architectural and urban design. The parametric approach proposed encourages students to clarify  their intentions in relation to all themes  of  the project. The experimentation is based on the nesting of scales  by moving back and forth  between micro and macro territory. This can integrate very quickly all data, and check the “positive / negative” interactions on a territory. This allows in particular early measurement of the project’s effects on the urban microclimate and the possibility to correct iteratively space assets considered.

The urban context chosen for the 2019-20 semester is that of Chandigarh and Bhubaneswar, India, both ideal contexts in which to experience the process of the urban project and the use of parametric computer design in relationship to urban densification. The quick changing urban fabric of major Indian cities  offers a stimulating  context in which to experiment with a parametric approach to urban and architectural design.

Measure will be taken of the components of the incorporated city as well as those of the “informal” city that is growing rapidly in its periphery, its interstices. The informal city is reflected mainly in the forms of vernacular and spontaneous types of housing, mostly built by the inhabitants themselves.

The issue of housing in an urban context where migration is an essential component of the contemporary city will be one of the priorities of the studio. It will be the starting point of the parametric project work. An adjusted programmatic scenario to that context will be proposed to start the design process.

The first phase of the workshop will consist of a thorough analysis of Indian urban structures as well as gaining knowledge of Indian culture to identify all the components of the project. Students will take measure of the physical data (climate, topography, water, energy) and  develop a detailed knowledge of local materials and techniques. The project will capture these data  as possible conceptual and physical materials.

The studio will be devoted to collective research and analysis on the both cities. Preparatory work will try to identify possible sites for the field studies .

In parallel, the students will follow specific parametric computer training from didactic exercises directly related to these contexts .

The data parameters will be progressively integrated into the project, which ultimately will have to reach a level of complexity to match the context in which it operates.

The courses proposed by the studio Complex Densities are part of an experimental and scientific approach that extends the axis “Architectural design environments, innovative systems and sustainable city” conducted within the AMUP research  laboratory of ENSAS. The research reflects on parametric modeling as design assistance for architecture and sustainable urban design.




From the Past to the Future: Urban Cultural Heritage & Smart Cities


Since 2015, the Indian government has launched a national program to support 100 Indian cities to become “smart cities” following a model of sustainable and exemplary urban development. French and German expertise have been solicited in this context and the two countries are accompanying several Indian cities in this process. Chandigarh, a city designed by Le Corbusier, is followed by French expertise whereas Bhubaneswar, the millennial city of Orissa whose modern part was designed by German architect Otto Königsberger, benefits from German expertise. These two cities have the distinction of having both a rich cultural heritage and whose preservation and enhancement are an integral part of the Smart City development plan.
Heritage is a crucial issue in India. Often threatened due to a lack of viable and realistic renovation plan, it is, despite this, a real vector of wealth and a source of employment. Heritage is also an essential dimension to take into account in urban development plans. Integral part of the city, its history and its memory, heritage offers the opportunity to question, through our reading of the past, the complexity of contemporary societies as the collective choices to operate today. Thus, the project we propose focuses on how heritage is integrated into the smart city development plans of Indian cities. The aim is to identify the strengths and weaknesses of projects in this area, in order to provide Smart Cities experts and local governments with an initial assessment of the actions carried out with recommendations.

Germany and France are highly involved in the national Smart Cities program, but collaborate little in this area, even though the two countries have different and often complementary expertise. We therefore propose to set up an Indo-Franco-German program allowing students from the three countries to carry out a detailed study of Bhubaneswar and Chandigarh, in order to assess the place of heritage in the development plans of the urban areas of these cities.


This program, which meets the objectives developed by the Franco-German University, intends to propose an axis of collaboration and exchange between sustainable and viable expertise from Germany, France and India.

It will involve students from the double Franco-German Master’s programme, Architecture and urban project in the Euro regions, set up by the National School of Architecture of Strasbourg (ENSAS) and the Faculty of Architecture of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) as well as students from the Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute for Architecture (KRVIA) of Mumbai.

ENSAS and KRVIA have had an active partnership for many years, wherein ENSAS students come to Mumbai for field studies within the framework of their program.

3rd and 4th Students from the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology Bhubaneswar (KIIT) and master level students from the Chandigarh College of Architecture will also take part to the workshop Mumbai/Bhubaneswar+Chandigarh .



IND_Chandigarh – natural Ventilation Opportunities



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