ITC, Mixed Use Development

Rajarhat, Kolkata

THE CONTEXT OF RAJARHAT:

 

Rajarhat, or Kolkata New Town is the latest extension of the city of Kolkata, Capital of West Bengal. In opposition to the city of Kolkata or the satellite city of Salt Lake, Rajarhat is not planned around a comprehensive network of avenues, streets and parks. It is a city of a different nature.

 

While Calcutta is famous for its deep urbanity, a XVIII and XIX century European pattern of streets with alignment of 7 storey buildings not unlike central London, its bustling street life, and Salt Lake City as a middle income group planned garden city around central park, Rajarhat is a proposed linear strip of urbanization along a high speed corridors with voids in between high rise developments, prioritizing large plots for investments by tertiary corporations.

 

Rajarhat is an attempt to recapture Calcutta economic glory by attracting an active private sector, comparable to Gurgaon or Greater Noida in NCR of Delhi. The city of Kolkata has chosen to develop towards the East as it is on the same side of the river, unhampered by the urban chaos of Howrah.

 

In this context the ITC mixed use complex is located at the end of that large eastwards artery connecting to the center of Kolkata. It has the advantage of being in the middle of 3 poles: the airport proximity to the North, the availability of a qualified middle class from Salt Lake City to the West and the proximity to the future Bhatipota Special Economic zone on the South. The East remains a natural border to urban development with the Kolkata wetlands.

 

In this context of aggressive urban development, the urban character of the city has changed and we can observe a generic pattern of XXI century development similar to other metros in India. It is a series of developer’s islands created along large linear infrastructure, forming a string of gated communities along the road.

 

 

A GARDEN FOR ITC:

 

In this urban context of car oriented development, the ITC project aims at creating a shaded oasis protected from the urban chaos. We have oriented the project inwardly towards a very large walled garden that will provide a serene environment for all the users and inhabitants of this urban insert. The trees species native from Bengal like banyans and rain trees, that are the pride of the Botanical Garden of Calcutta, the oldest and most famous botanical garden in India, will be planted in full earth in the garden for all the users and visitors. The other references of a garden midst of a dense city can be found in the Palais Royal in Paris (XVIII century) Central Park in Manhattan (XIX century) or more recently the garden within the National Library in Paris. Closer to Bengal, one can look at Luytens Delhi to be convinced of the long term achievement of tree planting. Experience shows that these gardens are an investment and a positive belief in the future of city living. The project proposes the plantation of 450 trees on ground and few hundreds more on the terrace gardens.

 

A GATEWAY FOR KOLKATTA :

 

The project is located at the Eastern edge of Rajarhat. We propose to create a landmark project by offering the icon of the Eastern Gateway to Kolkata, balancing the Howrah bridge as the Western Gateway. The tower buildings such as the My Fortune Hotel, the ITC and the IT offices towers create the image of a symbolic gateway between them. They symbolize the renewal of Kolkata as a power center based on new technologies, hospitality services and the affirmation as ITC a permanent corporate presence in Kolkata. Incidentally this proposed skyline of high towers overlooking a green space is very typical of central Kolkata with high corporate towers like the Tata Steel HQ or LIC buildings, architectural marvel of modernist style visible from the entire Maidan.

The contemporary urban gateways and plazas with office buildings, can be observed with the Grande Arch in Paris, where the arch is actually the head quarter of the ministry of public construction forming a city gate.

The North and South Facades of the towers will be opaque and colorful while the opening and glazing with vertical fines to cut the sun radiation with be open towards the park with view over the city of Kolkata New Town.