60-second interview: Dikshu Kukreja, managing principal, CP Kukreja Architects
With urban planning being an area of major concern across Indian cities, residents have been grappling with various issues such as safety, commute, living spaces, as well as basic amenities such as clean air and drinking water. Therefore, it is time to approach the problem differently. A unique project that aims to do so is the East Delhi Hub, located in Karkardooma, New Delhi, touted as India’s first transit-oriented development (TOD) project, which is set to be designed by CP Kukreja Architects. Managing principal Dikshu Kukreja tells us about plans to transform the sprawling 60-acre site into a holistic integration of world-class and modern residential, commercial and retail spaces.
What is the design philosophy that you have adopted for the East Delhi Hub?
Dikshu Kukreja: We believe that the East Delhi Hub is not only a miniature smart city, but the definition of living organic architecture on real ground. The East Delhi Hub will show the way for smart, auto-adaptive and responsive architecture in the days to come. With each project, we aim to read and respond to the built and un-built contexts of the urban scape.
How has the transit-oriented development (TOD) concept been applied to this project?
Dikshu Kukreja: The way we have been talking about our cities and the manner in which they have been ill-planned or unplanned, requires an urgent remodelling as sustainable models of development become the need of the hour. A new paradigm will be imperative. The East Delhi Hub will be the first step towards that new paradigm for urban planning, one where people will not have to travel much for work or recreation. The East Delhi Hub will be centred on the concept of transit oriented development (TOD), one which improves connectivity across different parts of the city through mass transit and reduces dependence on private vehicles. The integrated development of the hub, which will bring together metro stations, residences, workplaces, and recreational spaces such as museums, is spread over a 60-acre site and expected to be completed by 2023.
What is the significance of this project for the future of India’s urban development?
Dikshu Kukreja: A unique aspect of the TOD project is that it will have a central and massive green lung of around 10 acres. While South Delhi has several huge gardens and lawns, East Delhi does not have this kind of a recreational space. The other area of focus is to have integrated self-sustainable developments where, within a single site, there is a right mix of residential, commercial, recreational, healthcare, and institutional facilities.
The East Delhi Hub has been designed as a sustainability model, and will have provisions of vertical gardens as well as water-harvesting facilities. There will also be a huge plaza near the Delhi Metro stations, and skywalks will be built to take people directly to their destinations without them having to step onto the streets. The project aims to herald an iconic development for the city.