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From Neglect to Knowledge

From Neglect to Knowledge

Transforming Abandoned Colonial Factories into Classrooms

Bachelor of Architecture Thesis Project

Philip Ra, AIA
Ethen Wood
Ricardo Solar, AIA
Design Advocacy Award

In Siliguri, India, the commercialized and urbanized infrastructures can be repurposed through the process of adaptive reuse to create culturally appropriate and environmentally friendly spaces that challenge the legacy of colonialism, reclaim indigenous knowledge and materials, and advance social and environmental justice.

Siliguri faces a growing challenge of commercialized and urbanized infrastructures, similar to many other quickly emerging cities in the Global South. Local histories and indigenous knowledge have been erased as a result of the drive to renovate many historic structures and cultural spaces.

However, these areas can be made into culturally meaningful and sustainable environments that challenge colonial heritage and advance social and environmental justice by using the approach of adaptive reuse.

Adaptive reuse is the process of converting old structures and infrastructures into fresh, useful areas that serve the community's current needs. Adaptive reuse projects can encourage the utilization of indigenous knowledge and skills while minimizing environmental effects by utilizing locally obtained materials and traditional construction techniques.

Siliguri can develop a more inclusive and sustainable urban environment that honours the city's rich history and diverse cultural heritage by reclaiming these places for cultural and social use. Siliguri can serve as an example of how cities can adapt urbanized, commercialized infrastructures into culturally appropriate, sustainable areas that advance social and environmental justice.

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