Halo of Kolkata

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In a transformative fusion of tradition and modernity, the Biswa Bangla Gate emerges as an iconic symbol of unity, progress, and artistic prowess. Standing at the juncture of heritage and innovation, this monumental structure, with its soaring steel arches and panoramic walkways, encapsulates Kolkata’s evolving urban narrative.

The Biswa Bangla gate was envisaged as the embodiment of the essence of being united in strength, dynamic in progress and liberal outlook. The conceptual design pays homage to Rabindranath Tagore and his composition, ‘Where the mind is without fear’. Kolkata, a city steeped in heritage and cultural richness, is rapidly transforming into a sprawling metropolis. The increasing population and expanding urban infrastructure necessitate the creation of a contemporary urban space.

This new town demands to have its identity depicted with its modern culture while at the same time showcasing state-of-the-art technologies. The site chosen to place this iconic structure was a road intersection square of two major arterial roads. This square is also the entry point to the new town for travellers arriving from the Kolkata International Airport. Consequently, the structure is one of the first overwhelming things to be spotted by a visitor and becomes the first impression of the new town.



Design brief
Elaborating on the design brief, Anita Dake, Founder, Vector Designs, says, “The client’s brief was to create a magnanimous sculpture to make an impact on the visitor. As designers, we took up this challenge to create an imposing structure with elegant forms with sleek steel members. Given the inherent attributes of steel, the resulting components exude an innate elegance while concurrently delivering an enduring impact of grandeur upon those who encounter the sculpture.”

The envisioned sculpture stands with two commanding arches. Their stability is ensured by an integrated walkway that not only offers a panoramic aerial perspective of the new township but also solidifies its status as an iconic emblem.

The crossroad square accommodates four traffic islands, positioned diagonally across from each other. This unique arrangement served as the foundation for erecting four monumental curved steel pillars, seamlessly uniting to form two intersecting arches at a towering height of 55 m.

Crafting challenges
Highlighting the challenges during construction, Dake adds, “The site was located at the junction of roads with heavily plying traffic throughout the day, so, most of the erection was carried out at night. Our strategy embraced the utilisation of pre-fabricated structural components, streamlining transportation logistics to the site. Adjacent to the primary site, an open plot was allocated for assembling the arches and deck segments, offering ample space for these elements to be methodically lifted into position using cranes. The structural elements were each 70 m in length and weighed more than 100 kg. A diligently planned sequence was executed, involving careful lifting and securing of these segments ensuring that the structural members were aligned optimally and that their behaviour was well understood before interconnecting them. This prudent approach effectively managed the stresses induced during the erection process.”

Midway up, approximately 25 m above the ground, a circular platform measuring 60 m in diameter is poised. This platform, with a width of 4 m, is ingeniously linked to the four primary pillars, establishing a stable connection and adding to the structural integrity of the installation.

She further reveals, “Adopting modular designs significantly reduces production lead times while concurrently enhancing the efficiency of manufacturing procedures and curtailing associated costs. The methodical modular approach facilitates meticulous oversight of component production at the workshop, resulting in impeccable quality control during the fabrication process. This level of precision translates to seamless final assembly on-site, showcasing finesse and ensuring an exceptional end product.”

Multi-dimensional uses
The platform itself constitutes a lightweight steel complex, spanning approximately 8,000 sq ft. Enclosed within its confines is an air-conditioned space, distinguished by its glazing along the outer perimeter. Dake shares, “The intent behind this design is to offer visitors an unforgettable encounter, a panoramic 360-degree vista of the meticulously developed Kolkata New Town from an elevated vantage point.”

Access to this elevated platform is facilitated by two lifts and two artistically adorned staircases, wrapped around the two primary arched pillars. Beyond serving as a viewing gallery, the platform is envisioned to double as an exhibition space. The platform will also serve as an exhibition space portraying the culture and heritage of the town.

The gate boasts a tailor-made architectural lighting system. This illumination, carefully designed, lends the building a captivating charm that persists even after sundown.

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Fact File

  • Project: Biswa Bangla Gate
  • Client Name: WBHIDCO
  • Architect & Consultant: Vector Designs
  • Steel Fabricator: Construction Catalysers Pvt Ltd.
  • Tonnage: 925 Tonne
  • Status: Completed