Kathmandu Workshop Diary

Workshop “Public Open Spaces in Kathmandu Valley” was conducted on June 4-8th, 2019 in Patan and Kathmandu city. The broad aim of the workshop was to understand the nature of historical public open spaces in the valley cities and figure out ways to creatively represent the same. This intense field based workshop was conducted by Prof. Pratyush Shankar as part of the CITYLABS initiatives.

CITYLABS is a year long program of workshops on Urban Issues conducted by Pratyush Shankar and Associates in collaboration with various professionals


In this theme we try and understood how the nature, perception, and use of open spaces in and around particular building/s is very much the result of the architectural typology of the particular building. For example, a courtyard based building has a certain character of open spaces, which will be very different from the one that is linear or a building that is extremely transparent/opaque. The aim was to represent this conditions in various part of the city of Patan in a creative fashion

“This workshop was one of a kind. Not only was I able to experience the city as a tourist but also as a local and learn about the various insights of the city which otherwise I wouldn’t have known.  I’m glad I was able to attend the workshop and gain some knowledge about public spaces by actually being there and not through some bookish knowledge. I hope such workshops are conducted more so that i can attend and learn.”

Aiswarya murali, MNIT Jaipur

“My experience at the Workshop was a outstanding one; I didn’t just get to experience the Kathmandu and Patan valley rather than just seeing it, but also improved a lot upon my observing, analyzing, and presenting skills in this short duration. Interaction with various other students and specialists has helped me broaden my perspective and ideas. The Workshop thus, in its simple ways, has achieved me improve myself in various aspects that I will definitely carry forward. ”

Ipsita Choudhury, SPA Bhopal


The premise here is that water structures in Kathmandu valley have performed many other public functions apart from being a source of water. For example, they activate existing public squares, they create a sheltered cocoon environment for community gathering, they are excellent for women as social spaces, they have a larger ecological function, they maintain ecological health and are thriving spaces for flora and fauna.

“The Kathmandu workshop for me was liberating, setting free from the bounds of curriculum and University and looking at spaces in a very different way, a better way. “

Gaurav Patel, SPA Bhopal

“The workshop opened up a wide range of speculations and queries on the idea of ‘public open spaces’ , tangible and intangible, some that I would have never imagined and understood if it was not the way we were made to draw. The essence of ideas was concrete because the workshop was a bodily experience, it infused thoughts in me as I was there , as I became a part of those public performances in the Kathmandu valley. I was fortunate to have been able to know different kinds of urban experiences from all the participants which was a great learning.”

Gazal Nanwani, NIRMA University


Open spaces in Kathmandu valley show immense variation and contrast in a very small area. One observes that the spaces of a certain typology move or change into another, in a very smooth or articulate fashion. This transition gives a level of richness to the experience of the city, which defines the character of the Kathmandu valley.
The objective here is to represent the fluidic nature of these transition spaces and how they mutate to form a variety of open spaces.


Social spaces, as described in “Production of space” by Henry Lefebvre, assumes that we make a space by our social actions in the public sphere. This also holds true for spaces of Kathmandu valley because of a variety of urban performances that happen throughout the day. For example, religious processions, protests, music, dance , theater etc.

“The workshop was held in beautiful valley of Kathmandu. It allowed me to expand my horizon of seeing open spaces around me and the factors that make them more public. It was interesting as we were the part of the performances on the streets. It was a great learning to transfer our thoughts into drawings, and the ways to make them more expressive.”

Kruti Patel, APIED

“As a fresh graduate, I had a lot of dilemma regarding my thesis topic. I came across this workshop when I needed the most. I wanted to develop a new perspective and the workshop seemed like a good option to begin with.It was a great experience as I feel it connected me back to my urban concepts. The workshop also catered new ways of putting my observations on paper.”

Anjal Patel, Navrachana University

“The workshop was really a very good opportunity to understand the urban scale of Kathmandu valley and for observing different aspects of urban open spaces in terms of its nature, usage, behavior of people and their daily life. This all has given me a new way of looking at things on an urban scale. I had a great time working and learning with Pratyush sir and his team.”

Pavani Joshi, Navrachana University


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