Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Estate One in Panipat, India by Design Forum International
August 5th, 2016 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Design Forum International
Eldeco Estate One, Panipat is one of the first few residential townships in close proximity to NCR that was built with a clear objective to redefine residential lifestyle by means of a novel, community-centric design approach. It is situated on a prime location on the G.T. Karnal road with a straightforward approach and is well-connected to Panipat city and the other nearby towns of NCR. Spread across nearly 120 acres, Estate One is located just five minutes away from the town center, and therefore has quick and easy access to the entire Panipat town and its facilities (markets, hospitals, schools, entertainment centers, shopping centers, educational institutes, government centers etc.).
Its architectural vocabulary draws generously from traditional European villa architecture, using exposed brick, arches, vaults, grey stone sloping roofs and white architraves. The public buildings forming part of this development and streetscaping draw their inspiration and scale from the grandeur of Dutch Architecture. The Master plan blends around principles of town planning, sustainability energy efficiency and responsiveness to climate.
The key design strategy was to work with characteristics of the Built environment that shape the character of cohesive communities, creating a sense of belonging, voluntary participation and community festivities, sports etc., The master plan is based on parameters- Community based enclave planning based on a cozy size of approximately 50 families, A Clear Hierarchy of roads to enable smooth flow and minimal trespassing and Community Facilities placed along arterial roads in manner that respects accessibility, security and privacy from visitors to those facilities and Useful, well-proportioned land parcels for parks and community spaces. The zoning of the township is planned in a manner that the Club, commercial hub and the hotel are located at the entrance, segregated from the villas for easy accessibility and security. The larger plots of land are located closer to the commercial zone, following which are sited the smaller plots of villas.
The planning process was initiated with the conception of community spaces originating from the traditional ‘mohalla’ concept, that are well-connected, whilst being private, the ideal community size of 50 families was devised. The entire layout therefore, is a combination of small pockets of enclaves for each community on a 8- 10 acre parcel of land with a central 1 acre green/ park to fit in sports activities, tot lots etc. Enclave planning further allows to reinforce the mohalla concept for security, climate control and cohesiveness of the community. Each enclave is planned as a gated community, with three levels of security; the main gate, the gate after the commercial belt which announces the entrance and then a separate gate for each enclave.
A key challenge was to address the limitation of a one acre wide frontage and approach. In order to craft a grand entrance in sync with the overall aesthetic, the entire 1 acre width is used as the primary approach to create a breathtaking entrance with a spectacular 70ft high clock tower at the center and 35ft high side vaults flanking it.
Typically, townships don’t distinguish between major arterial roads and primary roads. Shifting away from stereotypes, a clear hierarchy and segregation of the roads into the arterial roads, Peripheral enclave roads and internal enclave roads was done to guide and control traffic to enhance safety and convenience. Within enclaves at any point, there are 2-3 exits that can be conveniently used so even if any one or two exits are blocked- this enhances the strength of the master plan to achieve security and easy accessibility simultaneously. The land is transected by a sector road resulting in odd shaped parcels. The master plan cleverly accommodates the institutional parcels for primary school, nursery school, post offices, police stations etc. in these pockets and also along the sector road so as to provide easy accessibility to its users, protect trespassing in the enclaves and also enhance the efficiency of residential plotting. Care was also taken to ensure that the institutional pockets were buildable and not rendered ineffective. As a no red lights development, roundabouts are provided that prevent speeding and create a natural regulatory system. A well resolved system of service co-ordination has been crafted at various levels; trees are located after every two plots, underground wiring (a novel idea in the time that this township was built), public toilets in the parks, rain water harvesting and waste/water management etc. all are cohesively planned in conjunction with each other resulting in a comprehensive system of services.
All the houses and other ancillary buildings have been designed and executed in the classic mould of architectural expression; creating an amalgam of exposed brick, slate cladding, windows, shingles, keystones, cornices and grooves on solids. The materials used are natural, rustic, earthy and warm in sync with the Colonial villa style. Each villa is built on 200 to 500 sq yard plot which are expandable from the rear to maintain a consistent architectural vocabulary at the front. This creates a homogeneity in the built volumes and defines an urban character and identity for the entire development which are further controlled by standard design guidelines for facade development.
Credit must also be extended to Eldeco and their visionary leader, Mr. Pankaj Bajaj who offered the latitude to let go of a percentage of saleable space in the overall initiative to create meaningful green open spaces that became the nucleus around which the enclaves were planned and eventually stitched into quasi Grid iron master plan. His vision did courage to sell built up villas and expandable single storey homes was also critical in accelerating the inhabitation of this development. Therefore, despite being aware of the developer’s intent to maximize profit, the challenge was to let the master planning effort be hinged entirely on the centrality the human element and not let Community-based planning be sacrificed at the altar of the maximum yardage in a manner that combined the enclave-based approach with carefully calibrated hierarchy of roads. Shaping Built Environments for community living, Estate One incorporates the best practices of planning, design and sustainability to establish an exclusive model for townships in the region and country at large.
Goonmeet Singh Chauhan Partner, Design Forum International
Goonmeet Singh Chauhan studied (B.Arch.) Hons, from Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur and started the practice called “Tevatia Chauhan & Sharma Architects” in 1995. In 2003, the practice was rechristened as Design Forum International (DFI), with a clear intent to foster an egalitarian organizational ethos where distinctive architectural talent finds self-expression and can contribute in a democratic and collaborative work environment across diverse typologies. DFI’s prime objective is to achieve excellence in design, perfectly in balance to both time and cost. Having won many accolades for our works, DFI has emerged as an institution which attracts great design minds; who love to thrive in a professionally charged environment focusing on every detail and exploring new design methodology for every project.
Goonmeet is an Architect, Urbanist, aspiring author and a futurist with boundless enthusiasm to push the frontiers of possibility and bring forth ‘Newness’ that is both ‘Delightful’ and ‘Useful’. He believes that architects must go beyond the stated brief and use their imagination to discern the dynamic flow of life that shall happen within the containers called buildings to create habitats that are birthed in their context and irradiate experiential joy and visual delight.He Has Created Landmarks such as Select Citywalk, New Delhi And Cyberwalk, Kolkatta. Along with His Passion To Use Creativity, Design And Innovation, He Is Actively Involved In The Reform Of City Architecture With His Numerous Projects In Public Sector.He has a strong urge to change what is not right, his upcoming book “Betterment of civic life” is a response to the change.
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Category: Housing Development