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APURVA BOSE
Apurva Bose is an architect from India, pursuing architectural journalism. She writes for various architectural and interior journals and websites. For her buildings are 'intelligent and intriguing spaces' that reflect and promote certain lifestyles and work styles. Formerly the Architectural Assistant for India's foremost architectural journal 'architecture+design'.
Mumbai (formerly Bombay) was always acknowledged for its colonial architecture. But post independence, urban architecture here has been now proliferating with its use of concrete and glass. The commercial and entertainment capital of India is mushrooming at an irrepressible pace. To mitigate the pressure on its resources, the city is being redeveloped on a massive scale. The aim is to convert this capital into a world-class city and a top business destination, thereby realising the ‘Vision Mumbai goal’.

 

The MMRDA (Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority), responsible for the development of the Mumbai Metropolitan, has embarked on a multi-pronged development programme (including transport, housing and civic infrastructure). Road networks are being ameliorated, a large number of flyover projects on the Western and Easter Highway are being thought of. The Western Express Highway has been widened and now stands at 24km long and 61m wide.

High-rise construction could well be the new fad of the burgeoning city, with a continuum of towers coming up. With India’s already highest number of high-rises, more vertical development is being planned unremittingly. Right from India International Trade Tower (IITT); Oberoi Skyz, Worli; Imperial Towers; Sarvodaya Heights, Mulund; Residence Antilia, Parel; Akruti Lakewoods, Thane; Spring Mills, Mill Lands; Indiabulls’s Elphinstone Mills Tower; Rustomjee O-Zone,Goregaon; Waves,Worli; Global Vipassana Pagoda, Goregaon; Ispat Tower, Pedder Road; India Tower; the list continues without a halt.

India Tower, Marine Lines by New York based FXFOWLE ARCHITECTS envisaged being India’s first and tallest skyscraper with 74 stories is under construction and assumed to be completed by 2010. The developer is committed to making it a United States Green Building Council (USGBC) LEED Gold-rated project. Indiabulls’s Elphinstone Mills Tower, Mumbai’s first commercial skyscraper has been designed by Chicago based firm Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture. The latest in environmentally friendly signature towers planned for Mumbai, the construction has already started and is going to be completed in September 2008.

The country’s 1st fast-track I.T. Building, at Mindspace Malad was designed, executed and handed over in just 8 months period from the date of 1st client meeting to handover. Designed by architect Prem Nath, one of the two towers has been completed with the other under construction. It has the distinction of being one of the first buildings with cladding panels to be seen in western suburbs of Mumbai.

The site of Bandra Worli Sealink (BWSL) was recently packed with action as its completion was supposed to take place in April 2008. One of the most sought after projects for the metropolitan by the MSRDC (Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation Ltd.), this would be a breather for the crammed Mahin Causeway which is at present the only link connecting the western suburbs to Mumbai.

This 6 km long bridge is all set to change the life of a regular commuter. The project which has been in the making for three decades is supposedly again going off-track due to some financial issues. 50% of the project being completed, the south carriageway will get fully completed in January 2009 and the north carriageway by June 2009.

The residence of Reliance Chairman Mukesh Ambani, Residence Antilia in Parel will be an architectural bastion having being coveted with the title of the tallest single residence, tallest living wall and tallest garden. The design of Perkins + Will, this 27 storey glass fronted tower with a height of 173.12 meters is already under construction with its completion due in late 2008.

The South Mumbai Marine Drive Refurbishment Project by Ratan J. Batliboi Architects which was launched in 2005 may well be completed by 2009. The assignment covers the refurbishment of road corridor stretching between the Chhatrapati Shivaji Museum and Nariman Point and Marine Drive; between Nariman Point and Tambe Chowk (Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Marg). This is one of the main corridors in Mumbai.

The Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport is undergoing transformation. The first phase work is over which includes the changes conspicuous in Terminal 1B, which now has gleaming granite, newly-planted waving palms, kalzip roofing (a rainscreen system) and substantially more personnel and counters. A second runway, parallel to the existing main runaway is scheduled to be operational by 2010 which would assist in handling about 60 flights per hour as compared to the current 500 flights per day. A link between the international and domestic terminals will also be established through a monorail facility which would connect to the Western Express Highway through an elevated six way highway. Talks are on to link the Mumbai airport to the Mumbai Metro.

The construction of the much-debated, much-discussed and much-anticipated Mumbai Metro is also progressing at a steady pace. The first of the corridors, the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar (VAG) corridor (the design consultants being SYSTRA based in Paris) will be a completely elevated 11.40 km route along the median of the road comprising 12 stations from Versova (Western Mumbai) to Ghatkopar (Eastern Mumbai). With an official deadline of 2012 coupled with a vision to make Mumbai’s first Metro a "Green Metro", Mumbai Metro One Private Limited (MMOPL) is working round the clock to complete the project much ahead of the scheduled time frame.

A makeover is being given to the Gateway of India since April 2007 which would come into being visually available soon. Designed by Architect P K Das, a plaza has been planned which would allocate space for more people to stand and gaze across the harbour.

2008 will also see the commencement of some new residential projects. The Dharavi Redevelopment project (architect - Mukesh Mehta) is a Rs. 90,000 crore project which promises to transform the face of Asia's largest slum and develop massive 70 million sq feet of built-up space. The project is slated to take 7 years for its completion. The architect hopes to raise Dharavi’s existing ramshackle homes and shops and replace them with a new town complete with modern apartment buildings, parks, schools, markets, clinics, industrial parks, and even a cricket museum and an arts center. Other than that, a new residential township in Panvel spread across an area of 280 acres called the Hiranandani Township in Panvel is also on the cards.

The Residential Buildings at Bhakti Park Complex by architect Prem Nath, Mumbai got completed recently too. The 90 acre development which has been converted on land which was initially of refineries encompasses more than 25 acres of landscape space, thus creating an eco-friendly environment.

Hotel I.T.C Fortune at Vashi, Navi Mumbai (architect - Reza Kabul, Mumbai) is fast becoming an appealing destination for the discerning business traveller. A melange of international and tradition Indian hospitality welcomes you at this hotel.

The global headquarters, of the Tata Consultancy Services, TCS House opened up recently in mid 2007. In the words of the architect Brinda Somaya, Somaya & Kalappa Consultants (appointed to convert the original Ralli House into the TCS house), ‘We’ve tried to prove that an old building can eloquently fulfill the expression of life today and also provide for the future, without losing the spirit of the place."

The Raghuleela Mall (architect - Reza Kabul, Mumbai) greeted the people in 2007 in Vashi, New Mumbai. Built on an area of 7 lakh sqft, the focal point of the mall is the huge 40,000 sqft atrium covered by a modernistic conical glass skylight which greets the visitor with a spectacular view from the entrance.

In addition to this 37 new malls and a number of multiplexes are assumed to adorn the financial capital in the new future.

In conclusion it could well be said that one can see architecture progressing voraciously in Mumbai. The financial and business hub of India, the city has and will always be an icon of Modern Indian Architecture.