varanasi silk weaving facility

Located along the banks of the Ganges River, Varanasi represents a melting pot of cultural and spiritual convergence, uniting Indian people of Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim faiths. Varanasi is also home to the 500 year-old banarasi handloom silk weaving tradition, whose luxurious fabrics were once widely sought after; however, since the rise of the power loom and the outsourcing of cheap labor to factories, the number of handloom silk weavers in Varanasi has nearly halved in the past ten years.

In collaboration with Nest, a nonprofit committed to the social and economic advancement of global artisans and homeworker, and Loom to Luxury, a consortium of weavers bringing alive the beauty of hand woven silk fabrics and reviving the craft and the skilled craftsmen and communities who practice it, Inscape Publico designed the Varanasi Silk Weaving Facility.

Adjacent to the Varuna River, a tributary of the Ganges, the site is located amidst lush agricultural fields. Inscape Publico inserted the production wing of the facility between a large mango tree and the vegetation along the northern border of the property. The courtyard pivots at its axis with the support structure rotating 45 degrees to the southwest. This connects the courtyard and support building with the proposed access road that bends along the northern edge of the property and unveils the facility to the arriving weavers and visitors.