COVER STORY

Proposed Railway Structure, Maharashtra

Nagpur Railway Station is one of the oldest and busiest stations in Maharashtra, a prime junction built in 1867. The city of Nagpur is slated to be developed as a smart city, concentrating on high impact infrastructure development. Nagpur Railway Station is therefore, being redeveloped in a bid to ease congestion and to meet the needs of the city that is growing fast as an important IT, educational and health hub. Railway stations are today the epicenters of the growth and development in any city and have capabilities to develop much more than a transit mode.

Design Intent
It is a proposed design by Creative Group to develop the masterplan and design the proposed redevelopment of the Nagpur Railway Station. They believe in generating design schemes that add value and are commercially viable. Through the design of the Nagpur Railway Station and its precinct, the aim is to restructure the station with better amenities, create connections within the city, connect the main concourse with the main flow, and boost influential growth in the precinct by insertion of plug-ins in tandem with the existing urban fabric. The focus is on multi- modality and increasing commercial and economic viability by means of PPP mode.

Salient Features
With the integration of different modes of transport and creation of an inter-modal hub, the design is expected to boost the economy of the region. Instead of existing one entry – now three entries have been proposed – one on the rear and one through the upper levels to maximize circulation. The aim is to fully utilize the available area and have multiple uses in the same space, railway land has been used for maximum commercial potential and develop a district centre. This promotes last mile connectivity as well, and beings work, play and travel in the same place.

Taking lead from global technological advancements, an elevated city above the railway tracks at the flyover level, with a drop-off curb for the station, has been visualized. The entire skyscape has been utilized and conceptualized with dynamic and vibrant spaces within. The station is designed considering ergonomic factors effecting people and their needs, making it inclusive and functional.

The proposal is sustainable—buildings have been oriented north to south for maximum glare-free light, with large overhangs, mutually-shaded and ventilated courtyards and green roofs for thermal insulation, and skylights for inducing sunlight. The sustainable and energy efficient buildings form a part of the design that promotes active public life at the precinct. Care has been taken to provide and maximize green spaces within and around the precinct, making it a source of civic pride as well. The precinct has been designed to maximize functionality of urban spaces on a daily basis, by provision of office lots (45 per cent), retail (30 per cent), hotels (10 per cent) and residential lots (10 per cent).

Encounters
Since it is a brownfield development, it was a challenge to propose such massive redevelopment and proposing intramodality as well as other activities within the same precinct. A comprehensive approach to developing, enhancing, and managing public spaces has been adopted for this project.

Taking cues from the Multi-modal International Cargo Hub and Airport at Nagpur, architect believed that the creation of an inter-modal hub at Nagpur Junction can contribute positively to the construction of a Central Business District (CBD) at the station, which can then coexist as one of two major hubs of the city. By provisions of Foot over bridges (FOBs), slip roads and public piazzas, they have tried to connect the city within and increase the last mile connectivity to and from the site.

Designed as a multi-use destination, we believe the Nagpur Railway Station and its precinct can become important anchors for civic activity that can host a broader range of engagements. Additionally, the station building has been revitalized though strong place-making, contributing to social cohesion and pedestrianism. The airspace above the tracks has been utilized by provision of a podium with commercial spaces to foster maximum public interaction. We have envisioned around 20 such railway stations for the future such as Nagpur, Ambala Cantt., Chennai Egmore, Pune, Mumbai Central and Thakurli, among many others. This is the developmental vision for the future – combining multi- modality, last mile connectivity and commercialization. This is the future of urban development.

Ar. Gurpreet Shah, Principal Architect, Creative Group

Uniqueness
For the structure, the steel columns support the metal deck floor. The roof structure is a modular shell shaped metal exoskeleton —a light-weight steel structure with Kalzip roofing, while the covering is of tensile fabric allowing sunlight into the building supported by tensile cables. The form of the station is innovative in its design and fabric roofing adds to the design of the state-of-the-art station.

There is structural glazing on both sides of the roof, thus allowing for maximum sunlight within the station building. The roof is a combination of double standing seam and tensile structure.

Besides this, for the main commercial buildings, a podium has been designed above the existing railway tracks, due to less availability of free space on the ground. The base structure is supported by massive structural columns, while the trusses support the hung sections of the building.

Three different designs have been employed: The first is modular in nature, the second with historic intent engaging the local flavor of Nagpur, and the third is a light-weight futuristic structure. The project is currently at its proposal stage with stakeholders to be yet finalized.