Holcim Foundation


Group 1 - Esplanade Mansion

Long-term housing for migrant workers

by Angela Bai, Dev Desai and Sebastian Hitchcock

Looking initially at the most cherished part of the home, the living room, the first group was inspired by the spatial efficiencies and urban intensity of Mumbai, and, specifically, the incremental building practices of the neighbouring families who often build their homes piece by piece. In particular, their invention aimed to provide long-term housing for the migrant worker trying to find employment in the city.

Originally shipped to India from England and made up of pre-fabricated steel parts, the first group’s transformation proposed to strip the building down to its bare frame. Their transformation included a renovation of the exterior courtyard and an on-site digital fabrication workshop where residents could build their own housing units through Computerized Numerical Control (CNC)-fabricated components that could fit into the building’s cast iron framework.

Exploring the architectural, social, economic, political and ecological story of the building, their intervention presented an innovative process of reuse and transformation that aimed to build a new identity while celebrating the way of life of the surrounding area’s residents.

Contents Report - Norman Foster Foundation - Re-materializing Housing Workshop

Last Updated: November 19, 2021
Article Details
Madrid, Spain
Related Information
Related Project
Re-materializing Housing Workshop
Re-materializing Housing Workshop

The Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction joined forces with the Norman Foster Foundation to support a workshop dedicated to...

Holcim Foundation

Search Help

Our website search engine covers the web pages including project descriptions and expert profiles, PDFs, images and videos on the Holcim Foundation website. To improve your search results, here are some tips:

Basic search

Our search defaults to term-pairing AND. If you search sustainable construction - then the search engine will look for any items containing sustainable AND construction


photovoltaic OR solar

Looks for either word


(clay OR mud) AND (school OR university)

Combine alternative terms for more specific searching


geothermal -heating

Excludes a term from results, automatically ANDs other terms listed


"zero carbon"

Use quotation marks to search for a specific phrase or combination

Wildcards (one or more characters)


Asterisk (*) matches any word or phrase - so archit* will find architect, architecture, architectural as well as architrave