Hafeez Contractor is one of the most recognizable names in Indian architecture and is well known for upgrading the Mumbai skyline along with its urban landscape. So, when it came to fulfilling the vision of the City and Industrial Development Corporation, CIDCO, Maharashtra, of creating Turbhe Railway Station – a station complex at Turbhe, Navi Mumbai, that depicted modernism and served as a grand entryway to the city of Navi Mumbai, architect Hafeez Contractor was a natural choice.
Inaugurated in November 2005, the Turbhe Railway Station sits on the Harbour Line of the Mumbai Suburban Railway Network in Navi Mumbai. It is 15 km or 9.3 miles away from Thane railway station and 3 km or 1.86 miles away from Vashi railway station. Its location is of strategic importance predominantly due to its connectivity to the Thane-Belapur highway, the Sion-Panvel highway, and the proximity to the MIDC industrial area, the agricultural produce market, and the bus depot plying buses that cater to the populace in Navi Mumbai city.
Hafeez Contractor’s design for this railway station exemplifies his careful consideration of all these factors, the need to showcase the contemporary image of Navi Mumbai, and his sensitivity to user-centricity while ensuring a structure that is resilient in battling the ravages of time.
The station is spread over a 15000 sq.m area, including its ample parking capacity. The station has five platforms that are two hundred and ten meters long with double discharge facilities on each of the tracks to handle the burgeoning commuter traffic. The island platforms have a width of 12 meters each and the end platforms have a width of 8 meters each.
The platforms and concourses have been finished with Andhra stone flooring and clad with glass mosaic tiles. The ticket counters are strategically placed at the center of the station keeping commuter needs in mind. There are two commuter subways and one pedestrian subway within the station complex, each of them being 7m in width and 66m in length.
The profile of long-span structures, particularly the roof profile, makes a strong visual impact with respect to the exterior of the building as well as shapes the form of the interiors that it encompasses. The gigantic 84 meters long, semi-circular and ribbed roof does exactly that.
The roof, designed by Hafeez Contractor, is supported by trussed arches which offer a more economical alternative to monolithic and rigid arches due to the convenience of fabrication in multiple sections, ease of transportation to the site, and of joining them at the site. Unlike other stations in the city, this one is not enclosed on the sides. This factor, combined with an overall column-free appearance, gives the station an open and expansive feel, a much-needed requisite for harried commuters.
The hydra-like columns are perfect foils for the ribbed design of the roof. Natural light floods the platforms from the large strip skylights on the off-white colored roof, thus enhancing energy efficiency. The station includes a forecourt area that spans 5600 sq.m. on the Thane– Belapur side and 3840 sq.m.on the nodal side.
This long span structure, while resisting the large bending moments does not compromise on visual appeal or safety. The large roof is held up with plate girders and trusses that are grounded with large columns at both the sides of the station. In keeping with its state-of-the-art image, Australian Zincalume was used for the roof.
Zincalume, while being lightweight but strong, offers the double protection of termite and fire resistance. Zincalume steel is a zinc/aluminum alloy-coated steel that is, also, corrosion-resistant and consequently durable due to its resin surface finish. The roof frame was precision-engineered to be accurate, dimensionally so as to lend itself perfectly to the innovative and stylized design.
Attention was paid to connection details, in the form of usage of clips for fixing joints, eliminating the need for drilling. The purlins on the roof, that span between the arches, are made up of steel hollow sections with the high tensile strength to provide support to the decking.
The Turbhe railway station designed by Hafeez Contractor has acquired more prominence with the opening of the Swedish chain store Ikea sprawled over an area of 5.3 lakh sq. ft. and within 1.5km of the Turbhe railway station.
With plans for a six-lane elevated road and a proposed tunnel from Turbhe to Kharghar node of Navi Mumbai to reduce congestion on the Sion-Panvel highway and to facilitate speedy travel between the two nodes, in the pipeline, development of an international airport and a corporate park in Kharghar on the lines of the Bandra-Kurla Complex, Mumbai, Turbhe node and consequently Turbhe railway station will play a pivotal role as a connectivity hub and will fulfill its purpose of symbolizing an imposing entryway into the rapidly growing and futuristic city of Navi Mumbai.