Noor Boushehri, Maria Letizia Garzoli, Elad Horn, Yunjie Li, Marcus Goodwin and Jane Philbrick, all first-year Masters of Design Studies Critical Conservation students, joined the Loeb Fellows and GSD colleagues in Agra, India, for Rahul Mehrotra's Extreme Urbanism: Planning for Conservation option studio. The LOEBlog is featuring their impressions from the trip.
Zahara Bagh Village: Home Is Where the Monument Is
Absent the daily cultural practices and maintenance that created and sustained the Mughal gardens, life takes over. The ruined garden of Zahara Bagh hosts in its quadrants nurseries and small peaceful communities. The original function is completely reversed, from carefully orchestrated spaces of pleasure to places of production and informal occupation. The riverfront complex of chattris and retaining walls integrates a staircase to access the water. Many shrines, reminiscent of the Hindu architectural approach to sacred waters, are congregated in the courtyard. The garden landscape has transformed organically, casting new meaning on the original narrative of Mughal social and political life expressed through garden urbanism, thus offering a portrait of contemporary Agra.