Wednesday, February 8

Metro station in sync with heritage neighbour

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The design of EastWest Metro’s Howrah station, which will be India’s deepest station, has been tweaked for the second time to make the part of it above the ground sync architecturally with the adjoining 114-year-old Howrah station building.

East-West Metro, when fully operational, will connect Sector V with Howrah Maidan and run under the Hooghly river.

The new design had been in the works since mid-2018 and was approved recently, a railway official said. The exterior of the East-West station will partially resemble the Howrah railway station, the first phase of which was unveiled on December 1, 1905.

The office of the divisional railway manager, which is adjacent to the station, has a similar look, too.

“We have asked the construction agency (Afcons) to design Howrah and Mahakaran stations in keeping with the surrounding heritage structures. The Mahakaran station’s exterior should have a design similar to Writer’s Buildings, Currency Building and other heritage structures in the area,” said an official of Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation, the implementing agency of East-West Metro.

Architects involved in the project said the design of the interior of the station, which would go down 100ft (roughly equivalent to a 10-storey building) below the surface, would remain the same.

The Howrah station building was designed by English architect Halsey Ralph Ricardo, who chose the Romanesque style that originated in the medieval Europe and is characterised by semi-circular arches and imposing towers.

The book Vibrant Edifice The Saga of Howrah Station, written by railway officials Soumitra Majumdar, Dhrubajoyti Sengupta and Pradeep Kumar, states: “Halsey Ricardo chose the Romanesque style. The design feature consisted of brick built arches and windows articulated by eight square towers on the front ele- vation from the east.” According to the book, the station came up on a plot where an orphanage once stood and became fully functional in 1911.

The exterior of the EastWest station will have Romanesque elements like Howrah station, said an Afcons official.

“The station will have two towers built in the Romanesque style. Each will have a pyramid-like structure atop. The exterior will be painted red, like the older station building, which is a heritage structure,” the official said.

The two towers or columns, which will cover the ventilation shafts of the station, were earlier designed in modern style and were to be painted yellow.

According to the first design, prepared in mid-2017, the station was to have a roof consisted of a series of pyramidal structures. But the design was changed because architects feared that water might leak through joints in the pyramidal structures during rain.

Water leaks through the roof of the terminal building at the Calcutta airport because of too many joints, officials said.

The new design of the station, which draws on features of a railway station in China, has a flat roof with geometrical skylights.

The entrance level will have perforated walls for ventilation to save energy. In the old design, there were no perforations..

Source: Telegraph India

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