One of the primary reasons for poor urban planning in India is the presence of multiple agencies and often disjointed state and central government schemes. Measures are taken impulsively just to meet the immediate need without thinking about future interventions. When cities do not provide effective public transit or safe spaces to walk or bike, urban dwellers increasingly turn to cars, the most energy-consuming form of transportation.

Undergraduate Thesis: Thinking Beyond the Station
By: Palak Gupta
Project Name: Karjat Railway Station
Project Year: 2019

©Palak Gupta

A transit station can serve much more than a transportation function; it can be a setting for community interaction, a place that fosters a diversity of activities. Karjat, being a dormitory city, where majority of the population travels daily to Mumbai for work, a railway station would play quite a contrasting role, building a different animation. Hence a station in context of such a city stands a potential to become an “anchor of growth” to direct urban growth of the city, serving much more than just a transport facility.

Given the height restriction of minimum 6.25metres clear height from the rail level to the upper floor, the above floor plate is placed at a height of meters from the platform level. Instead of using this space as a whole, it has been divided into two parts to avoid space wastage and make use of the space efficiently.

The main floor plate has been segregated into 3 parts based on the passenger flow.

  • Floor Plate A – Supported by the columns of platform 1 and platform 2.

(Comprising of retail stores and resting rooms)

  • Floor Plate B – Supported by the columns of platform 2 and platform 3.

(Comprising of rental rooms)

  • Floor Plate C – Supported by the columns of platform 3 and platform 4.

(Comprising of food stalls and general stores)

©Palak Gupta

The canopy comprises 10 individual roofs mainly supported by space trusses, arranged in two rows that follow the lines of the tracks and each of the platforms. The building has also been broken into segments to ensure a more manageable scale. The way different functions are organized makes it easier for the user to understand the layout of the design, thus increasing the efficiency. The station is not only a ‘transport facility’, but also a ‘meeting point’ and a place to socialize, used by travelers, students and people of Karjat.

  • Paid-Unpaid Concourse – The design strategy was to segregate the spaces in the station based on the user, the program is catering to. Hence, basic passenger amenities have been provided on the home platforms which become the paid concourse. And the floor above acts as an unpaid concourse catering to the non-commuters. Thus, the commuters can access through the paid concourse thereby not obstructing the way of the respective user.

The main aim is to go beyond the usual travel-related services and provide a range of retail outlets and commercial facilities that meet everyday needs, so as to make the time spent in a station both useful and enjoyable. Daylight is captured and directed into the interiors, creating uplifting and luminous atmospheres. It becomes a way-finding devices inside the structure as well. The openness of the interior provides clear sight lines.

©Palak Gupta
  • Specifics of retail and commercial provision – The stores and businesses are a key component of the restructured station. They have been designed according to specific criteria, with the twin aim of meeting passengers’ needs and attracting non-travelling passersby. Shops have been located according to studies on passenger flow, movements, peak hours, etc. To attract customers they must be visible and accessible, i.e. as close as possible to passing commuters.

Development on Railway Land is executed under the authority of Railway Land Development Authority (RLDA), their main objective being generating non-tariff revenue through commercial development of Railway Land entrusted to it by the Ministry of Railways.

Given a large scale public project, the program is phased into 3 parts.

  • Phase 1: Relocating and rehabilitating the existing infrastructure (few as proposed by Railways) for the smooth dispersion of crowd.
  • Phase 2: Development of commercial and MFCs (Multi-Functional Complexes)
  • Phase 3: Relocating railway colonies and offices.
©Palak Gupta

A new and vital impetus is given to the station design, so rather than merely designing the station around the activities that already took place there, the expanded architecture of the new station design directs and determines how people use and move in and around the building. The concourse is also an architectural gateway to the mixed-use developments built on the upper floor. To ensure a lively station throughout the day, a mix use of programs, including shops offices, pharmacies are in cooperated. Emphasis is placed on the functions that create a coherent structure and rationale that allow passengers to easily, seamlessly and safely get to the train, wait and switch between different modes of transport.

Author

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