Rehabilitation of Bhadli Village

Client: Shrujan and Pentagon Trust

Location: Kutch, Gujarat

Status: Completed 2003

Area: 131 sqft each unit

Services: Design Consultant and Architect

“The earthquake-January 26th 2001 – It was a Friday. As it was our Republic Day it was a holiday. I had moved into a high-rise apartment in Mumbai just a few months earlier. I was sitting at the dining table when I felt the floor below me shake. I first thought I was having a giddy spell and stood up, but then I notice the ceiling lights were swaying from side to side. It was an earthquake. It was several hours later that we found out that the epicentre of this earthquake was in Kutch in Gujarat. It measured 7.9 on the Richter scale and took place at 8.50 am with its epicentre near Bhuj in Kutch district.” – Brinda Somaya

Implementation of the plan for the rehabilitation of the village began in August 2001 and a year later the residents of Bhadli were housed in their new homes. At the start of the project the decision taken by Brinda Somaya was that as architects they would be facilitators and that there would be no imposition of ideas on the people. Hence, the help offered to the people of Bhadli was financial, material and professional expertise; but the shape the village took was decided by the residents themselves. Three main factors that guided the reconstruction process were the incorporation of seismic and climate related safety factors, the new houses were built on the original parcels of land – so there was no relocation of villagers and finally the realization that Bhadli had to return to normalcy as quickly as possible. 

A total of a 124 homes were built. The concept of a village square was developed in the form of a multi- purpose hall, a women’s centre that boosted the craft output of the village and a balwadi. The community centre and school was completed in 2002.  The school has become the most respected in the entire district. The community hall is used for the Gram Vikas Kendra meetings.