A Vertical Manifesto for Mumbai

By:  | April - 13 - 2011

2011 Skyscraper Competition

Ankita Dahiya, Dhruv Bahl, Mayank Ojha

1 The following key concepts, taking off from a conventional habitat, form the core of our design, along with justifying the manifestation of the adjective – vertical.

1.1 Multiplication of Urban Space: The vertical habitat is conceived, not as a sub-division of the Urban Floor with stacked plans of identical units, but instead as an extension of, or multiplication of the Urban Floor along its normal. This reifies the conventional ideology of a ‘core + lobby + unit + facade’ typology and incites us to design for ‘built areas’ and ‘open spaces’ within a vertically rising structure.

1.1.1 Built Areas: The elementary unit constitutes of a lot, instead of a built up fixed layout apartment, where depending upon the ownership, an individual, a cooperative or a developer can construct houses/offices/shops/institutes as per the regulatory zoning planned.

1.1.2 Open Spaces: The multiplied Urban Floor is utilized by creating vertical gardens, piazzas, congregational and communal spaces thus maximizing green areas, leisure and recreational prospects as well as facilitating interaction and healthy living.

1.2 Circulation Network: The circulation within the habitat is analogous to a typical urban transit system which evolves to a hierarchical network as well as allows for multiple choices based on priorities.

1.2.1 Dynamic Piazza: At the top of the hierarchy, based upon maximizing interaction and minimum commute time are a set of 4 dynamic piazzas. The piazzas traverse throughout the habitat although they stop only at certain levels from where the occupants have to change to either local elevators or walk along the continuous ramp.

1.2.2 Urban Floor: The urban floor extends into the habitat along a continuous ascending path connecting all floor levels, adjacent and vertical. Smaller ‘streets’ or paths branch off from it to provide access to units on all levels.

1.2.3 Elevators: The elevators have been employed for usage limited to a set of 8-12 floors and thus rank the lowest in the hierarchy, also owing to the lack of interaction facilitated amongst their users.

2 Habitat: Literally explained as the physical environment or surroundings which ‘influences’ and is ‘utilized’ by its occupant’, it is envisaged as a continuous process wherein the history of every element is evident of the process of its coming into existence. Hence, the habitat becomes a critique of the society occupying it.

2.1 Sustained Development: Our proposal allows for the ‘margin’, an excess capacity that enables different and even opposite interpretations and uses, changing over time. This is made possible by providing a spatial surplus, spacious lot sizes with regulatory zoning. Thus, the habitat becomes an incremental, constantly developing enterprise instead of an autocratic intervention by a solitary designer(s).

2.2 Meshwork & Hierarchies: Although we usually attempt to achieve a heterogeneous mixture of people from all strata of the society to live within the habitat, referring to prevalent societal behavior and needs, people tend to aggregate in communities whose members share economic, cultural and occupational characteristics. Community living has been promoted programmatically. An organization of ‘meshwork’ – communities from different cultural backgrounds and various occupations, and ‘hierarchies’ – communities of different economic strata tends to achieve closely-knit societies through constant interaction and mutual inter-dependence.

3 Form: The habitat is a single continuous urban space intersecting the city at the ground level. Its formal geometry responds to the climatic, social and economic factors and also the distribution of various programs and functions within the habitat.

3.1 Climate: Essentially sculpted by the lateral wind forces acting towards the top of the building, it is split at the top in the form of a tapered bowl dipping towards the south and having unobstructed paths for cross-winds that blow East-West throughout the year. This also helps in allowing a deeper penetration of the daily sun path.

3.2 Economic: The diameter of the habitat widens at the base to maximize the area of the habitat that directly interacts with the city. Successively, the outer section comprises of offices and high density housing. A majority of the users need not penetrate the habitat thus reducing the load on the circulation network.

3.3 Structure: The structure resists lateral wind forces, and reduces the overall thickness of structural members. A cubic lattice in steel with diagonal bracing and vertical concrete piers enables construction freedom and flexibility.

4 Nodes: The habitat is divided in 3 sections vertically by nodes. The node comprises of various activities catering to daily needs and residential demands. It also acts as a transit hub, to change from one hierarchical circulation level to another.

5 Transportation & Parking: Preference is given to Mass Transit systems, a metro station and a bus depot is proposed below the piazza at the ground floor.

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