Towering Township

Project: Lodha Belmondo, Pune

Architects: CCBA DESIGNS, PUNE

Text by: Rishaad Amlani

 

The project is a refreshing attempt at providing affordable luxury in an urban fabric governed by exorbitant land prices, height restrictions and market demand for total soil optimization. Envisioned as a 3000-unit township, it stands apart amongst the congested housing schemes that are typical of the new constructions in the region.

Nestled between the Expressway and the Pavana River, this 100-acre township boasts of picturesque views of the Western Ghats and the adjoining river while maintaining easy access to the employment hubs and emerging residential areas of Pune. The Hinjewadi IT Park and satellite town of Pimpri-Chinchwad are within a radius of 15km, while the upcoming Navi Mumbai International Airport is only a two hour drive from this township. A National Sports Complex and one of the state’s largest cricket stadiums are in close proximity to the site.

Development control regulations required wide setbacks from the Expressway and the adjoining river. These setbacks, along with a large swathe of land unfit for construction through the centre, limited development to small pockets along the periphery of the site. To make the project financially viable for the developers, the architect proposed a high-rise construction to utilize maximum FSI. This approach also freed up more than 70% of the site’s groundcover to develop amenities including an 18-hole golf course and a world-class club house. This central breathable space caters towards people of all ages, multi-generational families and diverse backgrounds. The riverfront is developed as a sweeping promenade with recreational boating and an ‘urban forest’ with machans and plazas for picnics and camping. Multipurpose areas like these have been instrumental in bringing people together. The housing scheme takes cues from the global trend of ‘plus one’ that focuses not only on the private living spaces but also on the common and public spaces, amenities and the surrounding environment as significant value- adding enhancements. The state-of-the-art living spaces are a mix of flats and villas. Contrary to market practices, studio and 1-bedroom apartments were provided, complimented by family-oriented 2-bedroom, 3-bedroom and 4-bedroom apartments. The architect has seamlessly assembled these varying typologies, both functionally and aesthetically. Open kitchens and a diversity of layouts provide a variety of living and entertaining options for the residents. Their outward-looking plans and large balconies provide the users with panoramic views of the Sahyadri Mountains and surrounding plains. The layout allows daylight to filter in to all nooks and corners of the apartments and make cross ventilation possible.

The large facades of these imposing vertical towers have been broken down into horizontal elements. The composition of the aluminum louvers, the cantilevered balconies and recessed windows, appropriately complements this considerable upright mass. The terracotta-faced staircase and elevator cores rise up to resemble ancient temples of the medieval period. The complete façade is bound together by a projecting frame of masonry along its edge. The architect has succeeded in creating a simple and profound architectural language that is constant throughout the township.

Photo credit: Ashish Bhonde

FACTFILE

Client: Lodha Group

Design team: Daraius Choksi, Rahul Sathe, Shivaji Karekar, Sachin Deo, Sundar Bommaji, Prashant Kulshreshtha, Prashant Verma, Rashida Lokhandwala, Kalpak Shah, Shreyashi Dasgupta, Swapnil Kanitkar, Sagar Shah, Supriya Krishnan and Devyani Shekhawat

Structural Design: J+W Consultants, Pune and Ramboll, Mumbai

Landscape Design: Landscape India

MEP Design: (Infrastructure) Tata Consulting Engineers, MEP, Mumbai

Golf Course Designer: Greg Norman, Florida, USA

Interior Designer: HBA Designs

Built-up area: 4,55,312sq m (Phase I & II )45,000sq m (Phase III Ongoing) Site area: 98 acres

Year: 2009-Ongoing