8 months ago

Transit Architecture Time for a Drastic Change

Transit Architecture Time for a Drastic Change


PROJECT IN FOCUS Reinstatement through a Holistic Lens Bhendi Bazaar situated in the centre of South Mumbai is a 100 year old settlement situated in the heart of South Mumbai, which was initially built in a ‘Chawl’ or dormitory styled fashion to cater the housing needs of labourers working in proximity to Bhendi Bazaar. Businessmen from various communities like Dawoodi Bohra, Memons, Gujaratis, Sindhis, Parsis, Katchis etc., seeing an opportunity owing to its strategic location, moved into Bhendi bazaar selling things as diverse as hardware and foam, to clothing and antique items. As businesses began to flourish, the traders brought their families and settled in these chawls. Today, however, due to lack of maintenance this opulent area has been reduced to dilapidated buildings, crumbling infrastructure and a run-down neighbourhood. In order to revive Bhendi Bazaar and restore it to its previous glory, Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust (SBUT) was established. The Trust aims to redevelop 16.5 acres of landmass comprising of 3200 homes in 250 existing buildings and 1250 businesses, all of which put together will touch lives of 20,000 people. 40 Architecture Update February 2018

RESEARCH Strategic planning was required before undertaking redevelopment of an area like Bhendi Bazaar which is both culturally and geographically rich. The genesis of the project was to uplift lives of people without compromising with the area’s socio-cultural fabric. Keeping this in mind, during the initial days of the project, social surveys were undertaken to better understand the nature of the area, current scenario and people’s requirements before chalking out master-plan layout. The outcome highlighted various difficulties faced by the residents, like lack of sanitation facilities, open spaces, green cover, waste management and fire safety measures, amenities like car parking, footpaths, elevators etc. Businesses were relatively declining due to narrow and congested lanes, traffic snarls and infrastructural hassles. Mixed use development was kept at prime consideration and tenants were involved in every-step of the planning process. As Bhendi Bazaar houses multi-generation residing in one room, the residential tenants were given three options to choose their future home design. Cent percent tenants selected the design that would provide them with privacy, which is being incorporated in the rehabilitation towers. Suggestions on the commercial space design were also taken from the tenants. Since this is a first of its kind project in the country, a team of expert architects, master planners and consultants from around the world have been mobilised to give shape to this ambitious redevelopment project. PRESERVING THE CULTURAL ESSENCE As Bhendi Bazaar is situated in the heart of South Mumbai, the area is highly influenced with the existing architectural elements of the city. Therefore, this project attempts at bringing in orderliness to existing fabric of Bhendi Bazar without losing out on the essence Abbas Master, CEO, SBUT “The Project is developed and planned holistically to encourage a sustainable way of living. The master plan is developed with nine clusters, which will be self-sustaining, supported by modern technology and environment friendly practices. The basic concept of the planning is to not only uplift the socio-cultural habitat of the area but create a futuristic development to meet the needs of growing population.” and character of 20th century neighbourhood. This undertakes responsibility to spiritually, socially, economically & psychologically uplift the locality; providing the residents with new ownership apartments, open spaces, well lit houses with parking facilities, community spaces and shops; and in doing all this maintaining the religious structures within the site. The project layout is uniquely designed to blend elements of the historic essence of Mumbai and Bhendi Bazaar. Each of the towers will adorn traces of British architecture like the usage of ‘Malad Stone’ on the façade at lower levels and podium, followed by a matching shade of paint. Further, the towers will blend in the contemporary design and ‘Fatemi Architecture’ weaving a distinct identity with Colonnade Archways, Elegant Domes, and intricate jaalis and lattice work. Maintaining cultural vitality - through bazaar shopping, pedestrian plazas, wide tree-lined footpaths and amenity spaces at podium and terrace levels - is the noteworthy architectural and planning contribution towards the project. Architecture Update February 2018 41

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