Suparna Maiti, Lead Urban Designer at KGD-Architecture shares her experience working with Vastushilpa Consultants in rebuilding the old fort of Bhadra in Ahmedabad. Here is what she has to say:
Tell us what was the project all about?
Bhadra fort is located on eastern bank of Sabarmati River in Ahmedabad. It’s a part of the citadel, which today is known as old Ahmedabad, built by Sultan Ahmed Shah-I (the founder of Ahmedabad) in 14th century. It’s a historically important place and also a major market place. As observed in old parts of any Indian city Bhadra precinct has transformed over last 600 years into something which was one the verge of losing its character.
Legendary architect BV Doshi who had his first office in this citadel had thought about improving the square almost 35 years ago. It got materialized recently under central government scheme JNNURM.
What were the objectives/goals for this project?
Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation in its bid to improve the character of the place appointed Vastushilpa Consultants, founded by Dr Balkrishna V Doshi along CEPT University to formulate the proposal. The objectives of this proposal were to make the historic core of the city a walk-able precinct, promote the use of public transport, develop existing parks of the area, conserve the built heritage and make Bhadra fort true city center of Ahmedabad.
What was your contribution to this project?
I was responsible for designing the square, traffic and parking analysis of the precinct area, preparing proposals for traffic rerouting, provision for parking and design of street furniture. I also attended the meetings with corporation officers and Municipal commissioner to present the work. It was a privilege to work on such projects in public realm as they are very complex where the users are people in general and involves dealing with multiple things, parameters and criteria ranging from public policy to physical design.
How would you describe your experience working with such a legendary architect?
I worked at Vastushilpa Consultants from 2008-2010, where I got this amazing opportunity to work on a real urban design project like this. In India where any urban development work is limited to either transport planning or urban infrastructure planning one rarely gets an opportunity like this. I was also fortunate to work closely with Mr. B V Doshi on this project. Although I worked with him on other projects this one is close to my heart as it is the line of work I specialized in.
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About the magazine:
My Livable City is a quarterly magazine published in India. Its objective is to showcase the innovations being carried out to improve the livability in urban areas in India and across the world. Various experts in the field of urban design, urban planning, transport planning, public policy, landscape and architecture contribute to this magazine.