Urban Lore | शहरी अफ़साना

Patan - Kathamandu, Nepal \ पाटन - काठमांडू, नेपाल

2014 - 16

Partners in Charge/ Lead: Sarvesh Singh
Collaborators/ Team: Pius Saurabh, Nistha, Vyas Srinivas, Nandini Ray,

Om Diwakar, Vaibhav Saxena
Location: Kathmandu + Patan, Nepal
Type: Research/ Documentary

Tags: innovation, indigenous, steel, wood, concrete, alternate, culture, urban, sustainable, housing + interiors

How does a city rebuild itself from an earthquake?

Over three annual visits to the Valley, this project becomes a photographic documentation of the urban restoration of Kathmandu one year after the 2015 Earthquake.

​The city’s architecture finds itself still articulated by guilds of Newari craftsmen, skilled across wood, stone, copper and a range of other materials. This journalistic quest took us through complex spatio-temporal relationships between materials, craft, people and urban/interior places, ultimately leading to a chance discovery of the root cause of the earthquake - scarcity of water in the Valley had forced the hand of a misinformed governance to dig bore-wells in seismically active zones.

At the time, the intent was to understand how a city regenerates itself, at different levels, through material narratives in craft and architecture. It reflects on how legend and lore, often woven into an urban fabric, through symbolic and semiotic artifacts, have been exported across the Silk Road, to various centers beyond the Himalayas - for  culture and commerce, for centuries.

Timber - Patan Durbar Square

Stone - Bhincebal (ancient neighbourhood)

Copper - Lost Wax + Repoussé

Field Notes