KNITTING Architectural fabric in traditional existing architecture style: Howrah Railway Station

November 30, 2021, 10:06 am IST

Today the densely populated urban areas face significant transport and mobility challenges in the phase of ever expanding economic, environmental and social footprints of the transportation sector. Even the Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi envisions Railway stations as intermodal hubs that are global integrated solutions to futuristic development. Transit hubs are no longer an isolated development, rather critical links between commercial, retail, residential and recreational spaces.

The Howrah Railway is a terminus station located on the banks of river Hooghly. It is one of the oldest stations in India and an iconic landmark of the city. The station is flanked by the Howrah Bridge which spans over the Hooghly river. 

Howrah Railway Station (HRS) being the major railhead of the Kolkata Metropolitan Area caters to a large number of passengers who move in and out of the metropolis. HRS also caters to a significantly large number of suburban commuters within the metropolitan area. 

Location : Howrah 

Client : IRCON International Limited 

Architecture Firm: Creative Group LLP, Prof. Charanjit Shah, Ar. Gurpreet Shah, Ar. Sanjay K Surya

Cost : 4192 Cr. 

Built Area : 72,476 sqm 

"These land parcels are to be developed as the walkable centres. While we at creative Group aim at creating a sustainable city, we look at a balance between built mass and the green pockets, which helps in creating the user experience needed for the people" 

says Ar. Gurpreet Shah

The riverside development has also been done in the quest to make the area walkable and to increase receptiveness towards the pedestrians. As the development takes place becomes welcoming to tourists and locals, it would help in increasing the generation of revenue. Since, there are ghats in that area that serve the religious purposes to the locals, they're retained and they in turn give aesthetically pleasing aspects. 

The current infrastructure has challenges in terms of upgradation but also shows equal opportunity in terms of channelizing the space for passenger easement and public recreation with the thoughtful integration and interventions. 

The largest whole sale trading market of the eastern India — `Burrabazar’, is located adjacent to the station. The intermixing of the different modes of travel further adds on to the problem.

The major concerns are:

• Rapid increase in vehicular traffic.

• Slow traffic movement – increase in travel time. 

• Illegal occupation of the footpaths.

• Increase in the number of accidents.

• Decrease in the Level of Service.

• Safety and security of the passengers.

There has been a conscious effort to introduce various active and passive design strategies to make the development more ‘greener’ and treat it as a living organism rather than a mass of brick and concrete. Apart from keeping in mind the solar orientation and the wind movement, throughout the various buildings within the development, mutual shading through step terracing has been extensively used. This also introduces breathability within the otherwise dead structure.  

Researches have proven that “the rail transport systems are six times more energy efficient than road and four times more economical”.  In addition to that the proposal is sustainable. Buildings have been oriented North to South, for maximum glare free light and minimum artificial lighting usage.