Cities Master Plan

Jama Masjid Masterplan runs into a roadblock

Days before the Jama Masjid redevelopment plan is to come up for hearing at Delhi Urban Art Commission (DUAC), the caretaker of Delhi’s monuments — Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) — has expressed reservations about the project. It has warned the MCD that Jama Masjid area now comes under the buffer zone of World Heritage Site Red Fort and, therefore, no major changes can take place in the area.

At a meeting held recently to discuss the project, ASI officials feared that the Jama Masjid plan was sounding similar to the controversial Taj Heritage Corridor project where a mall and commercial complexes were due to come up between Taj Mahal and Agra Fort. It is learnt that ASI is not happy with the "commercial" aspect of the Jama Masjid plans, fearing it would affect the heritage value of the zone.

Cities Environment and Climate Infrastructure

Freedom Park in Bangalore Set to Open in November

A vital green space to beat the city centre rush, topped with a slice of history. On offer is a unique experience, as the BBMP gets ready to open the long-in-the-wait Freedom Park to the public in November, this year.

The 20-acre park, coming up in the former central prison premises on Seshadri Road, has had a long drawn record, ever since plans for the park were finalized as early as in 2002. According to the BBMP officials, delays in awarding contracts have been a key reason for the slackened pace of progress. With the run-up to the launch gathering steam, it’s time to look ahead.

It’s business as usual at the construction site. Labourers are busy completing the landscaping works, as work on reviving the prison barracks is also on. The basic structure of the 150-seater amphitheatre is in place, along with the auditorium.

Infrastructure Urban Transportation

Railway expansion plan stuck in court

Central railway station is bursting at its seams. The number of trains and passengers far exceeds the capacity of the building and also the railway lines.

Southern Railway has finalised an over Rs 600-crore expansion plan to build a separate terminal on the west side of the Moore Market Complex (MMC) and to realign the railway tracks which would prevent cross-movement of upcountry and suburban trains.
But now the project is mired in a legal tangle as the Indian Institute of Architects (IIA) have dragged the railways to court over its plan to redevelop railway stations across the country. The architects’ grouse is that the project size is such that only foreign firms would be able to bid for it.


Cities Real Estate

Sabeer Bhatia to build sustainable Nano City in India


From SF Chronicle, written by Joe Garofoli, Chronicle Staff Writer

Sabeer Bhatia plans a 17.6-square-mile city of world-clas… Nano City, as shown in this architectural rendering

Nano City India

A few days after his 29th birthday, Sabeer Bhatia sold Hotmail, the company he co-founded, to Microsoft for $400 million. Selling the Web-based e-mail service bought him a swank Pacific Heights condo with a panoramic view, buzz as the next hot Silicon Valley player, boldfaced name recognition in the Indian press – and eventually, one incredibly unchallenging year off playing golf and jet-set partying.

He became haunted by the question common to those who find wild success at a preternaturally young age: Now what?

Granted, over the past decade, Bhatia has had his hand in several technology startups and post-startups both here and in India, some mildly successful, some not. But his latest project is one that comes from the heart: He is trying to develop an Indian version of Silicon Valley, a sustainable city spread over 11,000 acres in northern India that he envisions will be home to 1 million residents employed largely by world-class universities and A-list companies that act as the country’s idea generators. He calls it Nano City.

Infrastructure Real Estate Urban Transportation

No space for shops in most Bangalore Metro stations

By Zainab Bawa , 14 Aug 2008

It will not be a happy Independence Day for shopkeepers displaced by the Metro. The BMRCL has planned shop-less stations in key areas like Indiranagar, drowning the question of compensatory space for them.

The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL)’s plan for shopping space inside the to-be-built metro stations is likely to leave many displaced traders stranded. Except two stations, one on M G Road and the other at Byapanahalli, and possibly a third — the Trinity Circle station, all other stations will not have shops inside, according to K Nagendra, Public Relations Officer at BMRCL.

Nagendra says that Metro stations which will have provisions for parking lots and integrated transport facilities will be the ones earmarked for inclusion of shops. The other stations are going to be basic.


Continue reading entire article here.

Cities Infrastructure Real Estate

7 deadly sins of Indian design

Came across a very interesting article in LiveMint.


India is enjoying a design boom, but we seem to be making some odd — and expensive — mistakes

by Melissa A. Bell

Every other week a new design store opens in a major metropolis in the country. In every direction, buildings are coming up, hotels are being refurbished, and homes are being renovated. In the mad rush of design and architecture over the past few years, taste, beauty and urban planning have often fallen by the wayside. Here are the seven worst mistakes we’re making as we rebuild India.


Walk into any recently reopened design store on Delhi’s Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road or stroll through the shops in Mumbai’s Raghuvanshi Mills, and you’ll feel as if you’re trapped in a maze of mirrors: Every display looks the same. Didn’t you just see that gold pillow, decorated with sequins, sitting on a beige couch? Wasn’t that mahogany coffee table, inlaid with mother-of-pearl in a dragonfly design, in the last shop?

Designers say the customers take photos of products they like on their cellphones, and then take them to other stores asking for the same design. But even this does not account for the near-identical furniture displayed in different stores.

Most furniture stores have failed to establish any personality — they all meld into a blur of high-priced, straight-lined, contemporary looks that fail to stand apart, or surprise.

Environment and Climate Housing

Rabi Rashmi Abasan: India’s First Green Housing Project Completed

rabi rashmi abasan

Via Bengal DCL

Rabi Rashmi Abasan, India’s first solar housing complex, conceived by WBREDA and engineered and managed by Bengal DCL on a plot of 1.76 acres in New Town Kolkata. Destined to be a dazzling milestone in the development of housing complexes in India where every owner will not only have his land but also generate his own power for domestic use as well as for feeding the grid.

Solar PV (Photo Voltaic) technology has a widespread application and is used to convert solar rays into electricity. About 700 MW of generation capacity has been added in 2004 alone, bringing the world total to 2500 MW.The application of Building Integrated Photo Voltaic (BIPV) technology, used in Rabi Rashmi Abasan, has been growing a rate of more than 50% during last 10 years, Japan, Germany and USA having taken the lead.

In Rabi Rashmi Abasan, each home will generate 2kW of power from solar tiles on the roof for its own consumption and feeding the surplus into the grid. The owner will also get power from the grid as and when necessary. The utility will pay the house owner and vice-versa on net monthly metering. Benefits of Energy Banking will also be available to the house owners. Each house will have solar water heaters and solar signage; area lighting will be done by solar streetlights.

More information on IndiaPRWire

Real Estate

Landmark City: New Cyber Park in Gurgaon

Via the Hindu

Landmark Group, an information technology and real estate company, will be constructing a Rs. 350-crore Cyber Park in neighbouring Gurgaon. The company also plans to invest over Rs .4,000 crore in various real estate projects in the next three to four years in North India, particularly in cities and towns neighbouring Delhi.

The project is designed by Christopher Benninger


The Cyber Park is situated in sector 67 of Gurgaon city, India’s new business destination and economic hub. The park will be built on 1.5 million square feet of land and boast 100% wi-fi support, fiber-optic connectivity, and 100% power back-up, all of which are prerequisites of any IT industry. The facade has been designed facing North and North East to help mitigate the heat of the tropical South.

The park will incorporate several green design strategies. The building will be energy efficient, significantly reducing energy costs. The external walls will be clad to reflect the sun and insulate the interior work areas. Natural light will shine into working areas without heating up the structure, which reduces the need for lighting during the daytime. Terrace gardens in the sky courts will help to cool the interior, and will be irrigated by the structure’s water recycling systems. The design also integrates rainwater harvesting and ground water recharge. These eco-friendly features will cut the structure’s energy use by over 35 percent. [link:inhabitat]

Amongst all the renderings available on Landmark City’s website, this one caught my eye. Guess there is no spellcheck in the rendering program !


Architects Education

Sorry State of Architectural Education Legislation

Architectural education in India has transformed beyond recognition since the early 90’s. Today there are dozens of schools in the big metros, where a few years ago a couple existed.

However in most things that are unplanned, there is a danger of the whole education system going haywire. Some of the issues have to do with recognition of professional educational institutions by government bodies. What happens if you dont agree with these government bodies or do not want to follow their sometimes lopsided regulations.

Read On..

Architect of disaster: Council of Architecture (COA).

Created by a Parliamentary Act, COA is at loggerheads with many architecture schools, giving sleepless nights to hundreds of enrolled students and making one wonder if it’s under anyone’s control.

Armed with its statutory powers to regulate the education and practice of profession throughout India and maintain the register of architects, COA has been insisting that architecture schools introduce its National Aptitude Test in Architecture (NATA) or face de-recognition. COA website lists many schools of architecture (including IIT-Kharagpur and Chandigarh College of Architecture), where intake of students has been withdrawn or frozen for not submitting NATA undertaking .

COA has also recommended withdrawal of recognition for the reputed School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi, as also several others, alleging several sins of omission and commission.


Sustainable Remaking of Mumbai

In a very thorough analysis of the "Remake of Mumbai Federation" plan Daryl D’Monte brings out the issues that will become the stumbling blocks as Mumbai (and all of urban India) try to negotiate the population explosion of the coming years.

Is the remaking of Mumbai sustainable?
A self-styled Remaking of Mumbai Federation (ROMF) has spun out a Rs.60,000 crore plan for redeveloping the city, which includes housing the urban poor in skyscrapers. Experiences show that this does not work for the poor, notwithstanding redevelopment’s own merits.

Continue reading the entire article here.