Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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A Bend in the Ganges

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posted on 2022-07-28, 02:59 authored by Elsen, Sebastian

This thesis examines the Indian government’s Namami Ganges project and related river cleaning and sewage treatment projects along the Ganges river in India. One of the challenges of these water cleaning projects is that the waters of the Ganges are sacred to millions of Hindus, and interfering with the flow can cause significant cultural resentment and frustration. This design-led architectural research investigation looks at how river purification and urban sewage management along the Ganges can be strategically integrated into urban architectural infrastructure in ways that enhance, rather than damage, cultural relationships that are fundamental with local communities. The thesis argues that by embracing architectural links to cultural narratives, these new industrial typologies can transform urban sites along the Ganges into rejuvenated public spaces, while reconnecting them to their environmental and cultural contexts.

This design-led research investigation proposes to develop embedded industrial filtration systems that are integrated into a framework that responds to the local identity. These can be integrated into efficient wetlands and bioswales to enhance the natural biodiversity of the area. This investiagtion examines how contemporary architectural design can help integrate effective pollution mitigation with the cultural, spiritual and pragmatic ways people actually use the river basin. This investigation proposes that in this way the community’s cultural and civic needs can actually be enhanced through the use of design as architecture and landscape blended water purification systems.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Architecture (Professional)

Victoria University of Wellington Unit

Antarctic Research Centre

ANZSRC Socio-Economic Outcome code

960310 Global Effects of Climate Change and Variability (excl. Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica and the South Pacific) (excl. Social Impacts); 960203 Weather; 960299 Atmosphere and Weather not elsewhere classified

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Architecture


Brown, Daniel