The Amaravati masterplan project was handed to the award-winning design firm Foster and Partner in 2017 and intended to finish in 2025.
They have said that ‘the design brings together our decades-long research into sustainable cities, incorporating the latest technologies that are currently being developed in India.’
Amaravati, the new administrative capital of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Amaravati came into being by change of the borders between Andhra Pradesh and the newly created state of Telangana.
“Amaravati was selected as the new Capital City of Andhra Pradesh due to its strategic location which lies between the two nodal urban centers of Vijayawada and Guntur in the Capital Region.”
The master plan designed by Foster and Partner includes a Capitol complex situated on a 1km by 5.5 km long strip with keys buildings Legislative Assembly, high court, and some Secretariat buildings.
The rich history of Amaravati
Amaravati, also known as Ambanagri meaning “abode of the Gods,” is the city where the heavenly deities performed yaksha. It is situated on the banks of River Krishna.
Amarmatvi is acclaimed for being an ancient Buddhist site of the region and is the most distinguished by one of the largest Buddhist stupa in India.
Many sustainable strategies have been employed to make the new state environmentally and socially sustainable.
Strategically placed on the banks of River Krishna to make use of the abundant water supply. Furthermore, inspired by the famous Central Park in New York City, Foster and Partner have proposed an axial strip creating a beautiful promenade that runs all through the River Krishna on the north and south of the city, of which 60 % will be greenery or water.
A part of social sustainability is how attractive public transport is. Some sustainable transport opportunities are through electric cars, water taxis, defined cycling routes along with well-shaded streets and squares with well-defined walking tracks prompting citizens to walk more.
Furthermore, the mixed-used quarter has 13 urban plazas for citizens symbolizing the 13 states of Andhra Pradesh. In the heart of the central green strip is the Legislative Assembly, “a democratic and cultural symbol for the people of Andhra Pradesh.”
What is proposed for the master plan?
‘We are delighted to be working with the chief minister and the government of Andhra Pradesh to help them realize their vision of the people’s capital and team to build a clear and inspiring vision for the governmental complex at Amaravati,’ says Norman Foster.
The Capitol Complex
The legislative building
Situated in the Capitol complex, the central focus sits in a large pool of water, while being framed by cultural and secretariat buildings.
The placement and orientation of the programmatic layout and circulation are in line with Vaastu principles, a traditional building code of the Indian system of architecture. As a result, the plan of the legislative building is a square, with an entrance from the north and an east entrance for the ministers.
In addition, the assembly chamber is placed south-west and the council hall on the northeast axis respectively, with administrative offices on the north-west. The center is kept as a void akin to a courtyard; a space that acts as a gathering place for the public and the elected members of the legislative assembly. The spiral staircase leads to a cultural museum and viewing gallery to view the court hearings.
The 250 m the conical shape of the roof allows for along with the cantilevered canopy allows for a cool breeze to flow through.
The high court is located off the central axis with its stepped roof inspired by the Indian stupa. Just like the traditional temple layout, the “plan is formed by alternating concentric layers of rooms and circulation space,” where the outer layers are public and the inner layers are more private. The deep overhang of the form provides shade in the prevalent summer climate providing shade. The courtyard and the roof garden allow greenery to be incorporated into the structure.
Foster and Partner are reminiscent of the rich history and landscape of the region as the materials, colors, and forms pay a tribute to it.
The sad truth of the project
Some speculate, making Amaravati as capital was a hasty decision. Some question its feasibility. Recently, the project has been facing severe difficulty as funding from the World Bank and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank as of 2019 has been stopped. Unlike its predecessor, the current government would prefer to downgrade the city to a strictly legislative center
The first phase of the project was completed in 2021, and final completion in 2025. As of now, the project is showing bleak results.
Once built, the Amarvati master plan will become a blueprint for future cities for improving living conditions not only in India, but developing countries located in South Asia, eventually booming tourism. But as the world revolves around money, and politics, let’s pray a promise for better living is not lost.
- www.fosterandpartners.com, F. + P. / (n.d.). Amaravati masterplan | Foster + Partners. [online] www.fosterandpartners.com. Available at: https://www.fosterandpartners.com/projects/amaravati-masterplan/ [Accessed 11 Oct. 2021].
- World Architecture Community. (n.d.). Foster + Partners Finalised The Design Of Amaravati Capitol Complex. [online] Available at: https://worldarchitecture.org/article-links/epfze/foster_partners_finalised_the_design_of_amaravati_capitol_complex.html [Accessed 11 Oct. 2021].
- ubm magazin. (2020). The beautiful heart of Amaravati. [online] Available at: https://www.ubm-development.com/magazin/en/the-beautiful-heart-of-amaravati/ [Accessed 11 Oct. 2021].
- Designboom | architecture & design magazine. (2018). foster + partners to masterplan amaravati, a new state capital in india. [online] Available at: https://www.designboom.com/architecture/norman-foster-partners-amaravati-masterplan-india-05-10-2018/ [Accessed 11 Oct. 2021].