OAT at a most unusual place- inside Shahjahanabad

Open air theatres (OATs) are part of our education campuses, parks/gardens, art/cultural centres and now even IT Parks. Similar space/form has also started appearing as symbolic element in the enclosed manicured landscape spaces set on top of 2 level parking basements in the newer apartments and high-rise gated societies in NCR, Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad and many other cities.

It was very unusual to encounter an OAT; a designed one, inside a RaIn-Basera(Night Shelter), set within the residential quarter along Shankar Gali, behind the now demolished old wall of Shahjahanabad (now Old Delhi).

Wow! was my first expression; an expression of an architect to see a deliberate design of an open space by another architect/designer/CPWD or PWD Engineer inside such a setting.  A small but powerful architectural intervention, to create a positive space that is much needed inside our old cities. I express thanks to my students for finding this one out. Though, the space is not in use now, but it holds the promise for bringing shared space back in the lives of the people living in slum like conditions of this part of Old Delhi. A space for play and plays, melas, neighbourhood events and dialogue among the community. A space, which can set about the transformation of an area by a sequence of events, which would set the momentum for many more positive experiences and changes.

Salute the Designer!

Contributed by: Manu Mahajan

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