The architecture of urban bazaars functions on a melange scheme; it appears to be the leitmotif for such programmes, offering a type of ride through places and experiences that are governed and improved by architectural forms and materials. The visual mélange creates an architectural setting for the activity of leisure and pleasure, an indulgence in shopping, and the experience of taking part in activities relating to craft and culture. It provides an urban scope that inserts itself into a parallel dimension; a bubble of reality within the mundane reality of the city outside, much as in an amusement park.
Project Name: Avadh Shilpgram, Lucknow
Studio Name: ARCHOHM
The layout of the twenty-acre Awadh Shilpgram grew naturally during the planning process from business, cultural, social, and recreational interactions. An elliptical shape allows for smooth corner-free movement; it narrows down while spiralling inward, emulating the density and liveliness of yesteryear’s Lucknowi Bazaars; bazaars with streets that progressively narrowed. The physical environment is an interpretive collage, a nod to the Roomi Darwaza and Imambaras’ distinct traditional architecture. Adequate daylighting and appropriate air circulation through cross ventilation add to the design’s warmth and comfort. Its articulation has been realised using a modern interpretation of classic arches and Jaalis elements.
Avadh Shilpgram serves tourists and craftsmen with almost 200 craft stores, some of which are air conditioned, craft courts, a dormitory hostel, an auditorium, and a food court with vendors providing cuisine from several states.
The arch, an integral element of Lucknow’s architecture, is presented as a skin to the interior face of the structures. It is given a ‘makeover’ in a modern manner while yet enabling ongoing access beneath it.
A freestanding structure is designed to appear integrated. Each arch provides access to the corridor on the ground floor. The zigzag shape of jaali arches is produced by changing the fundamental lines of traditional mughal arches through which one may travel in the passageways; the double height nature allows one to experience the grandeur sensation of arches such as those seen in the Buland Darwaza in Agra. The steel framework is covered in Red Agra sandstone in a Jaali pattern, with designs inspired by the well-known Lucknowi embroidery art known as ‘Chikan kari.’
The original concept, as well as the shape, scale, materials, and features that constitute the architecture, contribute to the creation of an iconic structure for the city of Nawabs and the people of Lucknow.