Planning for Conservation: Looking at Agra

The medium-sized South Asian city exemplifies contemporary challenges in planning, designing, and constructing the built environment with high population growth, over-stressed and poorly-managed ecosystems, splintered financial and infrastructural investment, dense bureaucracies, and layered cultural histories. This project explores possibilities for Agra, India and the agency of Design between Architecture, Critical Conservation, Urban Planning and Design, as well as Landscape Architecture.

The project examines connections between the forces and contingencies that have transformed Agra as a Mughal, British colonial, and now Indian city and the imprint of the Taj Mahal on Agra’s economy on account of the city’s loss of industrial activity. The Yamuna River landscape within Agra has been a site and actor within histories of empire and state, fantasy and myth, livelihoods and crafts production, the performing arts, and experiences with water. The Yamuna River and sites along Agra’s riverfront have served functional, cultural and religious needs for people living within its territory and its imaginary. We will investigate the city’s Yamuna riverfront and the 45 Mughal gardens and monuments strung along a six-kilometer stretch of the river’s economic, cultural and hydrologic field. By partnering with local, state and central government departments, non-governmental and academic communities, we will develop design possibilities for productive economic and administrative synergies.

LOCATION
Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India

PARTNERS
World Monuments Fund
Thaw Charitable Trust
Pierre and Maria Gaetana Matisse Foundation
Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture
Harvard University South Asia Institute
Harvard University Graduate School of Design

ROLE
Project management, technical advisement, teaching as part of Harvard University team

PUBLISHER
World Monuments Fund

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Planning for Conservation:
Urban South Asia Research Seminar

LED BY
Rahul Mehrotra
Jana Cephas

TEACHING STAFF
Vineet Diwadkar

PARTICIPANTS
Erica Blonde, Daniel Feldman, Maria Letizia Garzoli, Hayrettin Gunc, Andrew Howard, Navajeet Khatri, Gunho Kim, Alex Medina, Akihiro Moriya, Andrew Nahmias, Roma Patel, Ning Pei, Zhuangzhuang Song, Aliza Sovani, Clayton Strange-Lee, Adelene Tan, Gabe Tamasulo, Carolina Yamate, Rob Wellburn, Ying Zhang.

Planning for Conservation:
Looking at Agra Options Studio

LED BY
Rahul Mehrotra

TEACHING STAFF
Vineet Diwadkar
José Mayoral Moratilla

PARTICIPANTS
Noor Boushehri, Zhuo Cheng, Maria Letizia Garzoli, Marcus Goodwin, Xinjun Gu, Peichen Hao, David Henning, Elad Horn, Seunghoon Hyun, Jacob Koch, Yunjie Li, Shiyao Liu, Nishiel Patel, Jane Philbrick, Mengchen Xia, Ruoyun Xu, Han Yang, Bin Zhu.

LOEB FELLOWSHIP
Mark Mulligan and Sally Young with Gísli Baldursson, Jamie Blosser, Scott Campbell, Shahira Fahmy, Andrew Howard, LaShawn Hoffman, Maria Jakkola, Marc Norman, Thaddeus Pawlowski, Kolu Zigbi.