• Ambrose Gillick

Student thesis: Phd


The Gujarat earthquake of 2001 caused widespread devastation to livelihoods and the built environment, demolishing or badly damaging in excess of 400,000 buildings in the Kutch region as well as killing upwards of 15,000 people. This research examines the work of Hunnarsh?l?, an urban development and architecture firm based in Bhuj, Gujarat, India who, in response to the immediate and long-term needs apparent in the aftermath of the earthquake, proposed an owner-driven redevelopment strategy which sought to promote the socio-cultural needs of the 'users' as embodied in the artefacts and processes of the vernacular traditions common to the communities, as essentially empowering and therefore critical to the long-term sustainability of any reconstruction work. Hunnarsh?l?'s approach is an illustration of the coproduction of housing, leading to what is termed here as 'synthetic vernacular architecture'. The thesis explores the potential of the coproduction of housing as an alternative model for architectural development for disadvantaged individuals and groups, with the potential for broader application in other contexts. Using three settlements on which Hunnarsh?l? worked as case studies, this research examines the efficacy of such an approach through both artefacts and processes of production as found in the field through a qualitative methodological approach based on ethnographic and design analysis methods. The research indicates that whilst there are distinct and problematic issues raised by an approach such as that used by Hunnarsh?l? in the context of Kutch, their approach is an illustration of the coproduction of housing, Such an approach has not been investigated to any significant degree in terms of its potential as a means of making culturally resonant architecture and therefore as a strategy of empowerment. This it is felt is an oversight which this research seeks to remedy.
Date of Award31 Dec 2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorSimon Guy (Supervisor) & Diana Mitlin (Supervisor)


  • coproduction
  • vernacular architecture
  • synthetic vernacular
  • architecture

Cite this