The Gradual Manifestation of a Distant Vision

My colleague Kevin has posted recent updates on the current status of nominating a construction agency for building the toilet facilities in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack. As mentioned, we are waiting on final approvals from the government and are hopeful that we will soon have a contractor confirmed, following which we can start pre-construction activities at the sites. As such, we are hopeful that we will soon break ground and see the beginning of construction.

This has come after several months of tendering activity. The design team that has worked on the various sorts of toilet facilities, have long completed all the requisite work to begin construction. (more…)

Project Sammaan Website Improvements

The Project Sammaan communications team has spent the past several weeks making improvements to this website in the interest of increasing the amount of project-related information we’re sharing.

Above and beyond minor aesthetic tweaks such as updating the images used and adding social network connections for the blog’s authors, there are three significant improvements that we felt compelled to call out: a repository of resources and project documents that visitors can download, a map that identifies the locations of every individual facility we intend on building in both Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, and a ‘search’ feature that allows visitors to navigate the site’s content much easier.


Developing Sammaan’s Toolkit

While there has been a considerable amount of activity in the past few months on the tendering front for the toilet facilities in Bhubaneswar & Cuttack, we have also simultaneously started working on the toolkit. The toolkit is an essential part of Project Sammaan, aiming to put together guidelines for effective sanitation interventions in low-income urban contexts, based on our own experiences and learnings from Project Sammaan.

Through the detailed design exercises and fine-tuning our understanding of what works and what doesn’t work, an essential outcome of the project will be the toolkit, that will include a set of “blueprints” for future infrastructure projects that will be (more…)

Sammaan’s Technical Workstream

There has been much written about the hardware tendering process that Project Sammaan has been engaged in with both the Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) and Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) over the past year.

I work for Arkitechno Consultants and am part of the technical team of engineers on the project. As such, work broadly on two significant workstreams:

1) Interface with the government to prepare the necessary paperwork to facilitate the release of tenders while addressing any technical questions they may have


Identity Development

After a lull in the identity design development workstream over the last two months, December saw significant progress made on the identity. Codesign shared an updated branding presentation, which incorporated feedback received from previous discussions, as well as improvements and explorations that had been developed internally.


Identity Design

The focus of the current iteration of the identity development exercise is to create an identity that strikes an (more…)

Project Sammaan at the Papanek Symposium

In continuation to Ayush’s post about the project dissemination activities, I am sharing my recent experience at the Papanek Symposium in Vienna. The symposium was organised by the Victor J. Papanek Foundation, University of Applied Arts Vienna, and focused on the social and political imperative of design in emerging economies.

Papanek’s landmark book published in 1971, “Design for the Real World”, has been translated into more than 20 languages and is one of the most widely read books on design in the world. Papanek has been a very influential thinker in sustainable design and his approach is even more relevant today.


Next Iteration of Sammaan’s Identity & Signage

The last edition of the Project Sammaan newsletter saw Codesign finalising and sharing the BoQs for all 14 typologies of the community toilets. That task, once complete allowed us to focus on the more pressing communications challenges, namely the character designs for the facilities’ signage and the main Project Sammaan identity itself.


Project Dissemination Activities

In the middle of all the madness that surrounds the release of tenders this month, we have somehow presented Project Sammaan at more forums this last fortnight than we have in the last year. This could be just plain coincidence, or that we are a little more comfortable talking about the hardware phase of the project now that the architectural designs are complete and the tenders are ready to be floated.

Whatever the reason for that may be, one thing it forces you to do is to distill down the project to its most basic parts. So here’s a 10-minute, podium pitch on what Project Sammaan has achieved to date and the key challenges (which have also been written about in a post here):


The Devil is in the Details

The primary focus of Anagram’s work on Sammaan right now involves detailing out the working drawings for each of the facilities. As one can imagine, providing the granular details for each of the 119 facilities being built is quite an undertaking. This is especially so considering that each drawing requires the inputs of several project partners.

A lot of our time is dedicated to interfacing with these partners to ensure that their questions are answered in a timely manner and any necessary changes are incorporated as quickly as possible. Anagram is working closely with CDD on the designs of the sewerage systems, with Codesign to detail out spaces for signage, and with Arkitechno to review and evaluate each drawing. Additionally, we’re reporting into Quicksand along the way to keep them abreast of developments and challenges we’re facing.


Architecture & Design

September, what a month!! Anagram is glad it’s over, as is its work of making good for construction drawings (GFCs) for Cuttack toilet. It was such an amazing month filled with loads of detailing, discussions, management within the in-house design team and the consultants’  decision-making, and refining, refining, refining the designs.

Taking into consideration the lifestyle of an entirely different strata of society in the detailing meant trying to view things from the user’s perspective while keeping foresightedness in mind. This led to the Anagram team working tirelessly and, ultimately, adding more members to the team. This meant that half of the office was working on the project! The doubling of the team was done not only to meet the deadline but also to provide further assistance in refining the designs.