Pradeepa Sivasanthiran is an architect with a postgraduate degree in Architecture from the research unit ‘Architecture for Rapid Change and Scarce Resources’ at the Cass School of Architecture in London. This unit focuses on neighbourhoods and communities around the world that are often blighted by the processes of rapid urbanisation. 

“My two years of research were spent looking at Kathmandu Valley in Nepal, where unrestricted development has been straining the city and peripheral agricultural land of space, water and resources, and where tremendous upheaval of people and infrastructure post-earthquake greatly affected the city. My research consisted of physical and cultural surveying of these socio-economic and architectural landscapes in order to propose interventions that would enable steps of positive sustainable change. 

My research focused on the ‘dilemma’ of continuity and change, nostalgia and progression, and the contemporary shift in ways of building in the peri-urban village of Bungamati, a traditional Newari town in the South of the Valley famous for its heritage architecture, religious buildings and activities and traditional craft. The rapid expansion and growth of the city enabled by concrete construction, manifests itself within this dense old town, where the vernacular ways of building which define the settlement are gradually being replaced by concrete structures able to withstand the effects of earthquakes. This juxtaposition is what I have tried to capture in my drawings.

Illustration and documenting the context through processes of drawing, hand-surveys and engagement with resident communities and organisations through this medium played a large part of the research process.”