Metamorphosis of a neighbourhood

Thursday 18 Oct 2012

Architects MQA tries to rectify urban issues in Mumbai with Bhendi Bazaar concept

This 16 acre & 3000 cr majestic project is the largest urban renewal project in India. Designed by Mandviwala Qutub & Associates, it is conceptualised to help turn a squalid city pocket into a ‘green haven’ without burdening Mumbai's shaky infrastructure. It looks to uplift the living standards of 4,000 homes and 2,000 businesses, changing the face of the old city centre with its crumbling infrastructure, poor sanitation, inhabitable buildings and lack of public green spaces and replacing it with habitable homes with cultural and community spaces and better infrastructure.

Located in the 'C' ward of South Mumbai, the site is centrally placed between the Central and Harbour Railway Lines and is 21km away from Mumbai International Airport. It is flanked on the East side by the J.J. flyover which acts as the connecting link between the North and South of the city. The site is a conglomeration of a century-old commercial and residential development and lies on the thin line between multiplicity and chaos.

This project attempts to bring in orderliness to the existing fabric of Bhendi Bazar without losing out on the essence and character of 20th-century neighbourhood. This looks to provide the residents with new ownership apartments; to offering wider roads, 50 % more open spaces, well lit houses with parking facilities, amenities, community spaces and shops; and in doing all this maintain religious structures within the site. The project takes a step towards an environmentally-friendly Mumbai.

Buildings step up progressively from north to south thus ensuring South-Westerly breeze flow across the site. Mandviwala Qutub & Associates looks to maintain cultural vitality through bazaar shopping, pedestrian plazas, wide footpaths and interactive green pockets within building. Another noteworthy feature is the Indian traditional courtyard planning for shopping areas that creates maximum street front and breaks the monotony of the linear planning. The culture of Bhendi Bazar will be enhanced with this Pedestrian Walkway from North to South.

The basic concept of the planning is to replicate the feel of ‘Fatemi Architecture’ and to uplift the socio cultural habitat of the ‘Bhendi Bazaar’ area. Layout has been divided in three parts such as religious structures like Roza complex, rehab area, sale area. It is been further divided in six clusters for the better infrastructure, creating 18m wide North-South and East-West avenues. The various elements of Fatemi architecture such as Colonnade Archways, Elegant Domes, simple pointed Arches, blank walls with arch punctures have been incorporated.

Each cluster has its own Courtyard spaces for people to gather during Milad, Eid and Mohorram. Terraces on the amenity level will give public space to overlook the cultural activities. The skyline has been maintained in such a manner that it concentrates on the symbolic identity ‘Roza’, restoring its religious value.

The structural module is a combination of the green pockets at the ground level creating the community spaces, and the green terraces at the intermediate levels. The intermediate green terrace levels are formed so as to create a rhythm in hierarchy. Hierarchy of buildings varying from 15 storeys around Roza and merging with skyline of the sale towers.

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