The factors which constitute an Urban fabric are streetscapes, buildings, soft and hard landscaping, signage, lighting, roads, landmarks, and other infrastructures. Compared to remote areas, the urban context is the busiest with all physical activities happening around. There are a few important things that have a large impact on the urban context. Comfortable and well-linked road networks, visibility of landmarks, well designed public gathering which helps in better movement of crowd in the city. These are a few general factors that can create an intense impact on a visitor who visits the city for the first time or even for the native people. Though it is difficult to redesign the entire fabric, the important landmarks which help the people in creating a mental image of the city can be taken into consideration. It is not only important to just build a landmark but to make sure that they are sustainable and also a better cultural impact on the people.

Listing down a few factors which describe the relationship between an urban context and the landmarks in it in a better way. Generally, landmarks designed in a city/town will be preserved and protected from public use to prevent it from damage and to preserve it for the future. This is a true fact that not always everyone will access them in a hasty manner when it comes to public property most of them would take advantage of it and can cause damage to it. As we all know preserving such culturally rich landmarks is difficult to maintain. It can also be designed in such a way that it depicts the image of the city and also in a functional self-sustaining design.

MG Road Boulevard – Bangalore

The above-mentioned factor can be explained with a few examples. One such wonderful example is a place in Bangalore – MG Road Boulevard under the metro track that was redesigned as a functional landmark which was used to be an empty walkway before.

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The old look of MG Road Boulevard, Bangalore (www.iheartblr.com)
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The old look of MG Road Boulevard, Bangalore (www.iheartblr.com)
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Renovated promenades (iheartblr.com)
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Interactive play area (www.architecrurepressrelease.com)
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Art Installations and space for workshops (www.architecrurepressrelease.com)

These are redesigned space, which is used as a hub for various activities right from weekdays till weekends. It also has a stage, exhibition space and long maintained interactive walkway which makes the space sustainable and functional. It also has installations, games and many more engaging factors. Art and crafts workshops are conducted here and space turns out into a whole new experience.

Sabarmati Riverfront, Ahmedabad

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The old image of the weekly market (www.sabarmathiriverfront.com)
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The old image of the riverbank (www.sabarmathiriverfront.com)
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Negative spaces on the bank of Sabarmati river (www.sabarmathiriverfront.com)

The main objective of the design is to redefine the identity of Ahmedabad along the banks of the Sabarmati river and also to protect the water body from the flood. To define a better relationship between the land and the river and to design a meaningful space by utilizing the existing one.

The three main objectives of the design can be categorized as:

  • Environmental improvement
  • Social Infrastructure
  • Sustainable Development

The total area of the waterbody is 204.91 hectares. The riverfront includes various functions of which the first phase of the construction is completed. They include promenades, pedestrians, parks, laundry campuses which have been open to the public since January 2014.

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Developed stairs (www.sabarmathiriverfront.com)
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Developed garden (www.sabarmathiriverfront.com)
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Laundry campus (www.sabarmathiriverfront.com)
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Redesigned space for the weekly market (www.sabarmathiriverfront.com)

From an abandoned public space, it has changed its identity into an interesting riverfront. It is now used for both livelihood and also for leisure activities. It also includes an exhibition center, event center, Laundry campus, public markets, and washrooms. Along with these, the sports facilities were also proposed in the design and it is yet to be executed.

Pondy Bazaar, Chennai

This is one of the busiest shopping areas of Chennai. It is crowded for almost 365 days of a year. People from various places in and around Chennai visit this place from morning spend the entire day by shopping, eating and resting for a while and then repeat. In order to reduce the pollution and traffic in that area, the government came up with the idea of developing the pedestrians of Pondy bazaar.

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Proposed design for Pedestrian (www.spiritofchennai.com)
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Older image of T.Nagar pedestrian (www.spiritofchennai.com)
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newly installed seating and lighting (www.spiritofchennai.com)
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Play area installed (www.spiritofchennai.com)
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installed play areas (www.spiritofchennai.com)
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seating for the public (www.spiritofchennai.com)

So, the proposed design includes hassle-free wheelchair passage for the disabled, street furniture for the public, children’s play area, greenery, Bus shelter, decorative street light, Public toilets, and street art. Introducing all these public-friendly components have made the place more organized and flexible for all age groups visiting the place.

Kannagi Nagar Street Art, Chennai

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Street art depicting a mother and daughter duo (www.architecturaldigest.in)
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participation in workshops (www.architecturaldigest.in)
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participation of inhabitants (www.architecturaldigest.in)
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wall art acting as a backdrop for the vendors (www.thehindu.com)
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wall art by a-kill www.thehindu.com
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wall art by a-kill www.thehindu.com

This abandoned street of Kannagi Nagar in Chennai has got a brand-new artistic look in order to break the stereotype view of an old-looking community housing. The community is majorly occupied by people rehabilitated from far wide places of the city and also slums across the city. It also houses people who were strangled during the natural disaster of the Tsunami in 2004. This area was the least visited place as it had different types of images when googled. So, St+art started an initiative to create an artistic look for the neighbor in order to give a new image for the place. The whole process involved various international artists who came up with interesting and beautiful themes to make the place a composed piece of art canvas. Paintings in each wall portray individual meaning which makes the place more attractive. Artists also conduct workshops in order to make the inhabitants and also other public to involve in the project.

This is more of a non-profitable project where people and artists work out of passion and not out of money. The main aim of the artists working for this project was not interested in making a viral social media event but wanted to create a new identity and image for the buildings as well as the people living there.

From all these live examples of redesigning a public space, it can clearly deliver that redesigning a landmark in an Urban context involves a lot of research about the type of function that has been followed before in the same place. It also lies in creating a new mental image for the city itself.

Author

Amodini an amateur enthusiast, who is an Architect by day and an observer as a whole pushes her limits to explore herself as an artist and relating her works with Architecture. She truly believes that studying Architecture has laid her a basic platform to try every possible things to exhibit her works.

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