Project: Redevelopment of Gomti Nagar Railway Station, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh
Architects: C P Kukreja Architects
Lucknow, the vibrant capital city of Uttar Pradesh and a potpourri of Nawabi culture, is undergoing a transformation in its urbanscape, keeping other metropolitan cities as a benchmark. As a city with impeccable educational, commercial, banking and legal infrastructure, it witnesses a great influx of people in information technology, banking, retail, construction and other service sectors. It has, additionally, been enlisted as one of the cities in the Government of India’s Smart City Mission, which would only act as a catalyst to the increasing numbers.
Located only 12 kilometres away from the city centre, the Gomti Nagar Railway Station currently serves 40,000 passengers on a monthly basis. Owing to its proximity to the city, a plan to redevelop and upgrade its available facilities was proposed. Lucknow is adorned with Awadhi architectural sensibilities, which can be seen dispersed across the city, and is reflective not only in its heritage, but also in the prospering cultural fabric. The redevelopment, thus, is conceptualised to be an extension of the existing design language prevalent in the city, albeit one that needs to be revived, keeping the requirements of today’s times in mind.
The Gomti Nagar Railway Station Redevelopment Project is a railways upgradation project, in which a 40- acre commercial land parcel has been combined with the railway station infrastructure to create an integrated development. To facilitate the economics of the project, the improvement of the existing facilities and renewal of the railway infrastructure would be accomplished using the revenue generated by the sale of services developed on the retail side of the land parcel.
The façade of the station is a bespoke amalgamation of the grandeur and luxury reflective of Awadhi architecture. The jaali-work adorning the face of the complex spans the entire length, punctuated with a design pattern that seems timeless in its appearance. It is complemented by the introduction of arches in the skin, while accommodating it as the structural element on the outer face of the terminal. Taking inspiration from the design of traditional domes, the roofs have a curvilinear shape, with photovoltaic cells lined on it. The façade would have space for advertisements on or around it, to serve the purpose of a reciprocating revenue practice. Kiosks and exhibition halls would act as a way to generate and contribute to the revenue for the project, while also providing a platform to local artists and agencies.
The project is an iconic model of transportation infrastructure, by virtue of its prowess to influence movement on an urban scale. Upon entering the complex, one is able to realise the efforts incorporated into the design to simplify traffic movement. Another unique feature of the Gomti Nagar Railway Station is a hassle-free circulation. The concourse areas have been divided into levels to avoid confusion between the incoming and outgoing passengers. An elevated road leads the passengers to a drop-off area, from where one can make their way through the ticket counters and information desks to arrive inside the Departure Hall. Waiting facilities such as seating, kiosks etc. are provided inside. The passengers may then walk through the concourse and the escalators going downwards, in order to reach their respective platforms.
Passengers arriving at the platforms would be required to walk down through the subways, which open up to the Arrival Halls with areas for meet-and- greet and pick-up facilities, and subsequently exit the railway station. Distinguishing the arriving passengers on ground floor, from the departing passengers on the first floor, helps free the railway station from any hindrances that are caused due to passenger movement. This also facilitates a pedestrian-friendly design, creating a safe and secure zone for the elderly and disabled, too. There would be a provision for resting and medical room facilities, in addition to buggy and pre-paid taxi services.
The design also strives to model the Gomti Nagar Railway Station as an efficient transportation hub, which is technology-driven and energy conscious at the same time. To work towards the same, the walls would be conceptualised on the basis of a ‘living wall’ design, which promotes fluidity in landscape from a horizontal surface to a vertical one. The buildings have large spans of rooms allowing natural daylight and ventilation to flush its interiors.
Another highlight in the design for the Gomti Nagar Railway Station is the connectivity of the railway station building with the retail complex. Passengers can seamlessly walk from the shopping and office areas into the railway station and vice versa. This allows for one to enjoy entertainment spaces, kiosks, retail shops etc. while making their way in or out of the station.
Gomti Nagar is now developing as the commercial and IT hub of mainland Lucknow, providing ample scope for implementation of a green design proposal on an urban scale. It is also the first of its kind railway project, in which the railway station is integrated with a retail space. The development of such a complex would be a model to follow, which would also help boost the economy of the region.
Site area: 40 acres
Built-up area: 20 acres
Year of completion: 2020