Navi Mumbai is a planned satellite city of Mumbai. Gadgil Planning committee of State Government of Maharashtra recommended considering a twin city, to ease the ever-increasing population load on the island city of greater Mumbai. The Navi Mumbai project began in 1971, with the formation of City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) a company registered under company act. CIDCO was entrusted with developing necessary social and physical infrastructure. Forty-one years later, CIDCO carved out an eminent nest of planned, sustainable and self-sufficient inhabitation, out of a common, undeveloped expanse of 344 sq. km., once a marshy sanctuary to salt pans and paddy fields. As per the latest census which was carried out in 2011, the urban / metropolitan population of Navi Mumbai NT was 18,394,912 and is rapidly growing with the growing real estate in this planned city.
Railway Network of Navi Mumbai forms lifeline of the NMNT (Navi Mumbai New Town) connecting the residential population to their work places in the Island city and its suburbs. The extended harbor & trans harbor sub-urban rail commuters’ systems are a major part, of the Railway Network in Navi Mumbai. A 29-km Mankhurd-Belapur-Panvel corridor has been operational, along with inception of this city. A 23-km Thane-Turbhe-Nerul/Vashi Trans harbor suburban corridor connecting Navi Mumbai with Thane city, is also operational. The hallmark of suburban railway stations is its unique architecture, commuter amenities, double discharging platforms and subways/over-bridges for easy exit and entry; integrated facility layout of modal split of commuters as forecourt area. Use of air space of forecourt as commercial complex above and adjacent to railway station is very innovative & successful idea introduced in this new town.
Concepting Commuters Lifeline
Hiten Sethi & Associates were appointed by CIDCO to design the phase, i.e. 4 out of 10 stations on the Seawood Darave–Uran railway line. Sagarsangam Railway station and Tharghar Railway Station are being constructed, with RCC as the principal structural material, whereas Bamandongri Railway Station and Kharkopar Railway Station are designed with superstructure in structural steel.
The brief given by the client was that – the concept plan and other requirements, should cover all the operational activities of the stations including the forecourt area for the various amenities, transportation facilities, parking for modal split and commercial activities. The various connectivity for the movement of commuters was also to be examined and the provisions for Escalators, Skywalk/Foot over Bridge, foot under bridge/subway, dedicated footpaths and pedestrian walkway etc. had to be considered where necessitated.
Working on Bamandongri and Kharkopar stations has been a privilege for me. It always is a matter of pride and joy to be a part of the process of creating a new identity for a locality and these railway stations will be iconic structures coming up in the said areas. This is thus not just an opportunity for us as Architects but also a responsibility to design a space that shall serve the people of Bamandongri and Kharkopar and be the face of the locality. It is a unique experience where we act as an interface with most efficient institutions of our country like the Railways and CIDCO along with the execution agencies.
Hiten Sethi, CEO, Hiten Sethi & Associates
Designing Within The Guidelines
The proposed stations were to be designed considering railway requirements and norms and as per applicable bye-laws and Urban Design Guidelines of Navi Mumbai – as directed by CIDCO. The task also included the preparation of the manual for standards and specifications for railway stations set out by Indian railway board under Ministry of Indian Railways as well as other special requirements, if any, in the specification, the type of planning, construction methods, materials and innovative structures.
The proposed station building also had to be planned, based on the National Building Code (except in case of fire system for station building where NFPA has overriding priority over NBC), Bureau of Indian Standards, American Standards, such as NFPA, ASTM, AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials), British Standards, International Standards, and conforming to all norms as applicable for development of Railway Stations in Mumbai Metropolitan Region and Navi Mumbai area.
It was supposed to be aimed to utilize the full Floor Area Ratio (FAR), accommodating work space for departments with appropriate basic amenities. Block design in the form of elevations, 3D forms, and full parking requirements were to be done for the full FAR, as per the requirement of respective department as detailed out in the scope of work. The basic planning considerations to be considered were designing with environment-friendly elements which were not just good at construction stage, but, were appropriate for operation and maintenance of a public area like this. Universal Design was also one of the basic criteria of design.
Seawood Darave -Uran line is an under-construction railway line in Navi Mumbai. This railway line will cater to the passenger traffic demands generated by Jawaharlal Nehru Port, port-based industries, ONGC, Defense establishment at Uran, other residential, industrial, and warehousing complexes in Uran taluka and the commuters for the proposed Navi Mumbai International Airport. CIDCO intends to develop the station complexes with state-of-the-art architectural and structural designs, functional and efficient planning with low maintenance finishes which shall become icons of the city.
Connectivity Plan: Kharkopar Station
The architectural design consists of a 270 m long x 30 m wide parabolic curve roof, with combination of polycarbonate and aluminum roof sheet over platform area, supported by 35m long parabolic truss spaced 15 m C/C on cylindrical hollow steel columns. The steel framed roof has enabled the architects to design a column free, larger spanned island platform, thereby, giving an experience of grandness and huge space on the platforms. A 92 x30 m wide and 13.00 m high roof has been provided above the concourse area there by creating a grand entrance to the station.
The project is one of the finest examples of the User Centric Design, where each space has been designed keeping in mind the various users and their movement patterns. The drop off and pick up areas are designed keeping in mind the users and their priorities at the station and to enable the users a quick commute through the station in to the trains. The multiple access points to the platform area are designed such that the route of the regular pass holding commuters and the ones travelling after buying the ticket is totally segregated. This enables the regular commuters to fast track their passage through the station to and from the platforms converting negative filled mass in to passive by subways and through vision. This also helps the ticket buying commuter to avoid the rush hour crowd while entering the station.
Essence of Seawood Darave -Uran Railway Line
- Length: 27 km. approx. Approved Cost By Railway Board Rs.1412.17 crore
- Number of stations: 10
Names of the stations: Seawood, Sagarsangam, Targhar, Bamandongari, Kharkopar, Gavan, Ranjanpada, Nhavasheva, Dronagiri & Uran
- Road over bridges: 5 Nos
- Road under bridges: 15 nos.
- Track under bridge: 1 no.
- Major bridges: Important Bridge of 751 m span across Panvel creek completed, 4 major bridges, one viaduct
- Number of rakes: 11 nos.
- Platforms: 270m platforms for four B.G. tracks to cater 12 car EMU rakes with double discharge facility.
There is a direct access from residential to the railway station by foot, it has convenient interchange facility from one corridor to another. It possesses double discharge platforms at every station, easy to follow routes are comfortable. These projects are being monitored by PMO under the ‘Pragati Portal’. This made it a time bound project. The design-detailing execution and commissioning of the project has been meticulously worked out.
This also became a springing point for deciding the structural system and architectural envelop. The design had to be modular to accommodate the future expansion for proposed second railway line. Another most important criteria while finalizing the design of the project was designing of the public infrastructure with minimum operation and maintenance cost post occupancy.
Steel Stands Out
Pre-engineered steel structures were found to be the best option for the fast execution of the project, this was one of the most important criteria for the success of the project. Fabrication of the said pre-engineered structure was carried out under Controlled Environment (Factory Fabrication) in order to ensure standardization of quality and efficient site management during construction.
Steel structures provides modularity in design pattern and flexibility for future expansion of the station complex. Steel is also a structural strong and comparatively lighter material for such long span designs. Steel is one of the materials with high recycled content and is a highly recyclable building material having minimum wastage ratio.
The architectural design is based on the principle of ‘Less is More’ using clean lines and simple geometry. The building profile is lining with symmetrical massing on both sides of the railway track. The internal spaces are designed to maximize and give commuters a sense of grandeur. The volume of the structure is designed to create specific user experiences based on the intended function of the said space.
Learnings & Studies
This is one of the most interesting projects that Hiten Sethi & Associates are working on. This project is a unique combination of the highly technical aspects to be combined with peak hour crowd management while designing an iconic structure that shall become identity of the said locality. The only way to achieve these was through efficient team work between all the stake holders. As architects, HSA had an opportunity to do an in-depth study of the behavioral aspects of the users and crowd management and translate it in to physical spaces that work through architectural design. Software like AutoCAD, Sketch Up, 3D max and Revit were used for Architectural design and visualization. Software like Etabs and Tekla were used by the structural engineers for structural designing and detailing.
The execution of the project was begun in February 2017 and the construction is scheduled to be completed by April 2018.