Mumbai, as we see it today, is not what it used to be if we look at its history and specifically how its skyline changed with years, calling it Bombay feels appropriate while talking about its history. Bombay, today one of the most populated cities in India, also the financial capital, has had a steady growth rate.
Bombay used to be mainly a barren land with long stretches of roads with a scarce population as compared to the current scenario, with an infrastructure of few old houses and colonies. Bombay comprised a majority of traders and merchants, the Parsis, the Marwadis, the Sindhis, and Gujaratis who thrived in areas of Walkeshwar, Bhuleshwar, Dhobi Talao, C.P.Tank, etc., in Southern Mumbai.
Bombay is made up of 7 original islands, the Isle of Bombay, Colaba, Old Woman’s Island, Mahim, Mazagaon, Parel, and Worli which were eventually joined with time by reclamation of land during the 18th century. Later on, Trombay and Salsette were merged to make up what we have as north Mumbai.
An incident happened on 17th Feb 1803 in which a major fire spread out in South Bombay destroying a lot of houses on the fort wall alarming the city with around 417 houses, 6 worship places, 5 barracks and properties worth millions were lost. The city was then completely revamped into Mumbai as we now know it collectively by the rich Parsis, the Britishers, merchants, and traders. The Britishers built houses in European architecture (Victorian Gothic style of architecture) which can be seen standing apart. There was an Indian touch in the form of verandahs in houses.
Some of the major buildings which are still visible even today when you go to proper Mumbai are Bombay Castle, the David Sassoon Library, the Bombay high court, the old printing press, the St.thomas church, the mint, the government houses, the old metro theatre (Eros Cinema & Regal Cinema), the Parsi temples & many more. From a stretch of barren land into a picturesque city that is one of the most populated and has the best infrastructure in the world, Mumbai has seen its skyline change drastically and is still developing.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) was established in 1974 by the Maharashtra state government to plan and coordinate the development activities in the city. The Heritage Committee in Mumbai was established in 1995 to unify architects, historians, and citizens to preserve the city’s architectural heritage. The need for a grading system was also felt to classify the old and unique style of structures in the city, where Heritage Grade I are recognized as landmark buildings of national importance, Heritage Grade II as regional importance, and Heritage Grade III as urban importance.
There were the enclosed communities that were built in the early and mid 20th century which were designed with keeping the religious and cultural background in mind, but now they can be seen getting replaced by multiple units of apartments in large colonies (usually termed as mass housing) usually inhabited by similar income groups. This has changed the earlier skyline, where we could see the rich and poor used to live side by side whereas now we can see the stark difference between the rich skyscrapers and poor slums in the skyline of the city.
The city can be seen expanding in all possible directions or in some cases connecting to the nearby clusters of the population from where daily commuters can be seen at a large scale. The new part of the city like the suburban areas like Navi Mumbai, Kharghar, Powai can be seen having huge apartment complexes which are being designed to keep up with the increasing population and needs with the main aim to ease the load on the main city and shift the financial burden to a new properly designed part of the city.
Lalbaug, Sewri, Parel, and Lower Parel areas of Mumbai till now had a lot of mill areas, housing for lower-income groups, consisting of dilapidated buildings can now be seen changing with major redevelopment projects made into high rises which are changing the skyline of the city. Considering the population growth of Mumbai every minute, the infrastructure and development must support the growth, hence the high rises are the key to the city’s housing problems.
What would describe the skyline of Mumbai none other than its skyscrapers. Mumbai skyscrapers are known around the world for the sheer number present in the city. There are almost over 3000 buildings in Mumbai that qualify as skyscrapers. Also, the city has the highest number of such skyscrapers in the country. Building typology including residential towers, office blocks, and retail spaces form the skyline of Mumbai.
No wonder Mumbai happens to be one of the world’s largest cities, still growing at a steady rate. The tallest skyscrapers in the city, surpassing 200m are relatively new and built after 2010 and still increasing in number rapidly. Currently, there are around 20 skyscrapers over 200m with 150 still under construction. Mumbai stands at 4th place in the world in terms of the number of supertall skyscrapers.
Some of the tallest Mumbai skyscrapers include the following:
World OnePalais Royale
Three Sixty West Tower B
One Avighna Park