Monday, April 12, 2021

Table of Contents for Project Focus

Interview - Qutub Mandviwala (Bhendi Bazar Redevelopment Project)

Our master plan integrates well with the urban fabric of the city



QUTUB MANDVIWALA, MANDVIWALA QUTUB AND ASSOCIATES, master planner for the Bhendi Bazaar Redevelopment Project, in conversation with SHRIKANT RAO




On his association with the project: We started at a very initial stage where we didn’t even have the data. We conceptualised the whole thing right from the basic land parcel and the plan kept on going through a metamorphosis and changing as the requirements, the brief kept on getting more firm. Eventually we have come up with a plan which we think is of international standards which we see as good for the project as well as city. It integrates with the urban fabric of the city. On the brief given to him by the client and the scope of work: The basic brief was the upliftment and urban planning of the 16.5 acres of existing development. The buildings had to be recasted, redesigned, remodelled and  keeping the cultural fabric of the place intact; try to see how to maintain the religious structures that were there as they were and creating a pilot project in the city which would be a cluster development project which could be taken up by others, a project which would be a way forward for changing the skyline of the city.  And since this was a pilot project a lot of brief was developed by us as architects. This was the first project where roads and infrastructure also played an important role. We created our own brief of how we wanted to do things: we wanted proper roads, infrastructure, parking, sustainable development, green development, integration of the proposed roads with the existing roads of the city, we considered wind direction, light and ventilation. We wanted the religious structures to be as and where they were so they were not only retained in their original places but also opened up on all sides so that they could afford a better visual connectivity. We also wanted to retain the commercial character of the place so as to continue with the fabric and vibrancy of the existing Bhendi Bazaar. So we created eateries, pedestrian walkways, and pedestrian plazas to enhance the vibrancy of the place.



On the lack of precedent for such a development: There is no precedent but being a local to Mumbai and also being a part of the community, one had the cultural understanding  and one knew of all the needs that were to be taken care of. Even though there was no precedent to this kind of development n India or Mumbai, the concept was very clear that we had to recast all the roads and see how the infrastructure and the traffic movement was worked out. We also had to see that we had to create eight or nine pockets which would take care of the density. The brief was very clear; it was not a redevelopment project but an upliftment project. And hence taking the brief forward we had about 75-80 percent of the land given back to redevelopment and only 30 percent given for sale unlike a normal developer’s project. We also wanted to give maximum shopping so that it could become one of the best planned High Street shopping areas unlike all the malls that are coming up everywhere which are not working. Linking Road and fashion Street are organised. This is an organised 16.5 acre of high street shopping.



On the challenges faced: There were a number of challenges. The first and foremost challenge was the lack of precedent to such a project; second was the density to be handled, third to accommodate shopping within minimum levels Then to make sure that each of the sub clusters was complete as possible with enough parking and residential units fitting in and still having room for light, ventilation and open areas for children. Trying to accommodate everything in one sandwich layer was a major challenge at the individual level. Another challenge was to create an ambience, create a density in such a way that there was still space for natural light and ventilation, the orientation done in such a way that the development is sustainable. That is what we brought into the master plan.



On the international best practices adopted: Everything right from the orientation, maximum light, to green spaces, maximum ventilation and utilisation of space, number of parking spaces, fire fighting and safety devices, vertical transportation, composition of materials. Everything that we use right from the façade to cladding materials is of international standards. The infrastructure and technologies right from STPs, solar panels, etc are going to be of international standards. Even the driveways, safety and fire escapes are all taken care of.


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