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Transit Architecture Time for a Drastic Change

Transit Architecture Time for a Drastic Change

cover story

cover story Transit Architecture The Change has to be Drastic Given the state of India’s air, rail and bus transit hubs, a gigantic push is not only the way to make travel and movement consonant with the country’s ambitions as a growing economy but also to facilitate it. 18 Architecture Update February 2018

Churchgate railway station in Mumbai A. K. Yadav It’s no secret that the tremendous growth that some Indian cities are seeing is largely contributed by their satellite centres. Places that were separate cities, towns or even villages not that long ago, but are now part of large bustling and demanding metropolitan areas. All this growth has spurred the need of better mass transit of populations to and from city centres or within the suburbs. The architecture of transit services thus comes centre-stage and Transit Oriented Development (TOD). This focus is also rooted in the preferences of today’s citizens. Health, convenience and diversification of access points, amenities and services are becoming equally relevant as the more traditional challenges of handling continuous volumes and safety and security. Another matter regaining prominence recently is aesthetics as well as a sense of awe that transit stations generate amongst commuters. And for good reason- not only is it important for people to find and navigate them easily but it highlights the importance transit architecture has in addressing urban challenges such as pollution, congestion, economic inequality and lack of convenient travel. Today architects working on design of these structures are focusing on making sure access is available to a broader base of commuters. Specifically transit services within TODs are ensuring that transit stations are no longer isolated but form part of a dense mix or utilisation of public recreation, office, retail and residential space. Roles may have changed, but architecture has had, and continues to have, a significant role in facilitating the rapid growth and evolution of transit. And it has always gone past just functionality. In the past, transit architecture has created monuments to governmental power and human achievement. New York City’s Pennsylvania Station built in 1910 was a monument to American economic success. It occupied four full city blocks at three levels and was designed as the new main point of entry into New York. But grand and beautiful as they may have been, not all such expensive and inflexible architectural projects have stood the test of time. Today’s stations have to be built to account for rapidly changing Architecture Update February 2018 19

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