Since its inception in 1974, Greha has concentrated on the growth of knowledge in the field of environmental development, habitat design and architecture. The thrust of Greha's efforts have been towards addressing issues of the majority of the population; the focus was the marginalised people in rural and urban settlements; the vehicle was developing knowledge and methodologies concerning settlement systems more suited to our history and cultural context.
The founder members, during the early stages of their professional career would meet periodically to enlarge their engagement with majority concerns, which were outside the routine of their practice. These concerns led them towards working with the poor and marginalized people in our society, and eventually to the establishment of a school of habitat studies.
Working in the Public Domain
The diverse range of association with people and organizations over the last three decades, allowed the philosophical roots of Greha to spread to fields of design, architecture and environmental/urban planning.
Promoting growth of ideas and research in the sphere of architecture, Greha has contributed to the pedagogical content of architectural education to enable professional practice to be responsive to society as a whole. In collaboration with HUDCO and HSMI, a research initiative produced a model for Schools of Habitat Studies appropriate for the context of a developing society.
In 1999, Greha established itself in Aya Nagar, a village situated on the Southwestern edge of Delhi. Greha's early engagement with the community of Aya Nagar to design an action plan for physical and social transformation led to formulation of the Aya Nagar Whole Village Development Plan. The Chief Minister of Delhi, Shrimati Sheila Dikshit, visited Aya Nagar in 1999 and Greha presented the Plan to her. She declared Aya Nagar suitable for development as a 'model village' and identified the Plan as central to such a transformation.
Aya Nagar Development Project
In 2008 Greha revived its partnership with Aya Nagar Vikas Samiti, a registered body of local inhabitants, and modified the earlier Plan to design the Aya Nagar Development Project (ANDP). A grant from the Delhi Kalyan Samiti enabled Greha to go ahead with the activities of the first phase of the Project, which is under process at the moment.
For more information, please visit the 'Aya Nagar'section.
There has been a growing concern among some architects that the profession of architecture has been marginalised in recent times. Architects have not been able to project themselves as useful and essential partners in the development of infrastructure in this country. This is a result of a lack understanding within the profession of its significance in the building sector, possibly encouraged by the lack of intellectual rigour in professional practice.
Forming the 'Architecture Collegium' is an effort to address this situation by promoting an intellectual discourse about these issues. The meetings are held once a month with a group for interested architects gathering to address common problems and possibilities
Aya Nagar Development Project.
In the last few decades the rapid urban growth of Delhi has radically altered the habitational morphology of its surrounding areas. Aya Nagar is a typical example of such morphological change since it is situated on one of the major growth axes of the National Capital Territory of Delhi. The inhabitants of Aya Nagar are primarily from the marginalized sections of society, the original villagers being members of the indigenous Gurjar community, while the recent migrants are largely dispossessed landless labour and low-income settlers from economically backward regions of the country. This heterogeneous mix is a good representation of the 'common (wo)man' of India, and the changing morphology of this settlement presents a vivid picture of the social implications of rapid economic growth in our times.
Aya Nagar had been selected in October 1999 by the Chief Minister of Delhi as a site for a model village programme, to be implemented by the Delhi Government in partnership with the local community. A registered non-profit voluntary organization called Greha, which has been doing research and development work in the area of environmental planning, architecture and building since 1975, was commissioned to prepare a conceptual proposal for the development of Aya Nagar.
This proposal was presented to the Delhi Government, in a meeting chaired by the Chief Minister, on 11 January 2001, and approved for implementation. However, implementation of this project did not proceed satisfactorily, with several starts and stops in the last few years. In December 2006, the Development Commissioner of the Delhi Government took a fresh initiative to re-start the project by focusing attention on the crucial component of the development programme, which is the village pond (Johar).Presently Greha is receiving funding from Delhi Kalyan Samiti for its work on the crucial component of the development programme, which is the village pond (Johar).
Over the years, Greha has also received financial assistance/cooperation from the following bodies:
- National Commission on Urbanisation Government of India,
- Ministry of Urban Development Government of Delhi,
- Delhi Development Authority,
- Housing and Urban Development Corporation Ltd.,
- Indian National Trust for Art and Culture,
- School of Planning and Architecture,
- Indian Council for Social Science Research,
- Ahmedabad Study Action Group,
- Human Settlement Management Institute.