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June 6, 2014

Golden Temple Entrance Plaza project

A visit to the holiest Sikh shrine in the world will not be the same again. The experience will be enriched by the much awaited entrance plaza which is about to get completed. 

The entrance plaza is a befitting solution to the urban chaos existed at the entrance which attracts over 1 lakh visitors on the week days alone.

An international design competition was called for by Punjab Heritage and Tourism Promotion Board to redesign the entrance plaza of Golden Temple in Amritsar. Entries poured in from all over the world and after much deliberation, Punjab Government selected the design by Delhi based Architectural firm, Design Associates Inc., and rightly so.

The design proposal aims to address the shortcomings of the current structure whilst creating an urban focus. The architect explains the salient features of the proposal:

  • The reassembly of the four fragmented spaces of the Ghanta Ghar Chowk into a since large ‘forecourt’. This would enlarge the public domain. 
  • That the proposed forecourt be of an adequate scale and aligned along the main north-south axis. This would lead visitors directly to the portal as well as emphasize the simple axial geometry of the complex. 
  • Using the architectural vocabulary of the Golden Temple as reference - balance in the composition of the forecourt to emphasize the symmetry. 

  • Rationalization of the disposition of functional spaces as per the sequence required for rituals and ablution so as to ensure seamless movement of visitors and pilgrims proceeding for ‘darshan’. 
  • That traffic flow around the northern periphery of the new forecourt is realigned - away from the temple complex and ensuring primacy of pedestrian traffic.
  • That the VIP parking be shifted to the basement below the forecourt to minimize pedestrian-traffic conflicts and to provide ‘pride of place’ to the regular pilgrim. 

  • That the New Public Facilities and the Interpretation Centre are on a preferred pedestrian circuit ensuring maximum utilization. 
  • That the sequence of entry be redesigned beginning with the creation of 2 pavilions at the mouth of the plaza and an octagonal corner bastion be created using the existing temple as a ‘pivot’. This would be to guide visitors to the sub-terreanean ‘jauda ghar’ and then back to the forecourt. 
  • That the vertical cores that result from the statutory fire-escape requirements of the space be utilized to daylight the sub-terranean space, enhance the axial symmetry and frame the portal, while maintaining transparency along the axis of movement and opacity in the transverse direction.

  • Enforcing urban elevational controls to improve the shop facades fronting on the forecourt and if required creating an additional colonnaded bay along the shop fronts to ensure visual continuity while enforcing a strict façade and signage control regime. 
  • That a shaded pedestrian colonnade be created along the periphery of the forecourt wherever possible, so as to repair the fractured urban-edge and generate a coherent imagery. The remainder spaces is to be used to relocate shops, provide fire escapes, medical facilities and public amenities on the ground floor and banks, security facilities, police post etc. on the first floor and overlooking the proposed forecourt. 

  • That adequate shaded seating space are created using trees, colonnades, street furniture etc. 
  • That materials and lighting is used for: defining higher and lower order spaces; providing direction; creating tactile surfaces for the disabled and to reducing the speed of the traffic in the plaza. 
  • To design and lay a custom designed floor for the forecourt whereby a constant temperature of 24-28 degrees is maintained to ensure comfort to barefoot pilgrims. 
  • To redesign and seamlessly integrate all services into the fabric of the space. 
  • To ensure barrier free access.

More news on the project:

1 comment:

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