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Saluting the Human Spirit: Smritivan

Earthquake Memorial and Museum by Vastushilp Sangath LLP

Smritivan Earthquake Memorial and Museum is built in memory of the victims of the terrible earthquake in Kutch, Gujarat. Designed by Vastushilpa Sangath LLP, chief architect Rajeev Kathpalia envisioned it as a structure that would resonate the resilience of the residents of the disaster-struck area. A narrative intertwining memory, nature, the enduring human spirit and the traditions of Kutch, using vernacular materials and methods thus unfolds in a built form.

Picture from the  restoration of the  Chhatrapati Shivaji  Maharaj Vastu  Sangrahalaya Museum  (CSMVS), Mumbai

On January 26, 2001, an earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale occurred in the Kutch region and killed 13,805 people, destructed habitat, property and infrastructure. Smritivan is a memorial + museum complex intended to commemorate the victims of the earthquake. Commissioned by the Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority (State government), with a clear brief given by the then Chief Minister, now Prime Minister, Shri. Narendra Modi to “plant a tree for each victim”, the project started in 2013.

View of the iconic  Royal Bombay Yacht  Club, Mumbai,  restored in 2010

The site chosen for this is the Bhujio Dungar, a hill named after Bhujang Dev, the Lord of the forest. Planting trees here symbolizes the resurgence of the forest as well as the spirit of the people.

Text : Ar. Roopa Sabnis Pinge

Images: Procured from the architect

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