Foreign Hands building Indian Infrastructure

Foreign Hands building Indian Infrastructure

In keeping with the growing trend of foreign design firms foraying in the Indian building and construction space London based ZahaHadid Architects joins the list as it gets shortlisted to design the Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA).

Following up on the newly constructed terminal of Chhatrapati Shivaji International (CSI) Airport designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) an American design & consultancy firm, India’s first Greenfield Airport project,Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA) will be designed by yet another foreign design firm, ZahaHadid Architects from London.

The GVK led Navi Mumbai International Airport (P) Limited (NMIAL) announced the appointment of the ZahaHadid Architects (ZHA) to design the first phase of the Navi Mumbai International Airport’s Terminal 1 and ATC Tower. ZHA’s is currently constructing another major airport – a 70-hectare terminal in Beijing, set to accommodate 45 million annual visitors. At one stage, the studio was also looking at the feasibility of a new London airport.

Inadvertently, we will continue to seeestablished international firms gaining stronger presence in the Indian architecture industry. Mostly, they pair up with Indian firms who have the on-ground expertise. Conversely, the booming Indian economy and the burgeoning middle class have prompted foreign architects to set foot in the country to expand their work portfolio as well company revenue bottom-line.

NMIA will be the second international aviation hub for Mumbai and will addresses capacity issues of the Chhatrapati Shivaji International (CSI) Airport, which has almost achieved saturation point.At the end of an intensive 12-week fast track international design, ZahaHadid Architects (ZHA) was selected to design the new airport, a long-awaited infrastructural project for India’s finance capital.

Commenting on the occasion, Dr. GVK Reddy, Founder and Chairman, GVK and Chairman NMIAL, said, “Our vision is to establish one more landmark airport after creating Terminal 2 at Mumbai CSI airport. We are committed towards bringing the best global practices from the industry to design, engineer and build this most awaited airport project in western India and hence we decided to go with ZHA, a firm known for its path breaking architecture. It also has the expertise of delivering a world class airport design through a highly professional team.”

Navi Mumbai International Airport
Navi Mumbai International Airport (P) Ltd., is a Public Private Partnership venture in which the GVK led Mumbai International Airport (P) Ltd., (MIAL), has a 74 per cent stake with CIDCO, the nodal agency of the Government of Maharashtra, holding the remaining 26 per cent.

The NMIA will be constructed in the PPP mode on 1,160 hectares on the mainland in Navi Mumbai, across the Mumbai harbour, with the advantage of the upcoming Mumbai Trans Harbour Link, a Special Economic Zone and other major infrastructure developments coming up.The terminal building, and accompanying runway, represents the first phase of a strategy, which will see the construction of two runways, handling 80 flights per hour. The scheme is envisioned as a secondary facility to support the single-runway CSI Airport, which currently handles one departure per minute.

The Global Expertise
ZHA is a world-renowned firm established in 1980 by Iraqi-British architect ZahaHadidand continues her posthumous career with a portfolio of over nine hundred and fifty projects spread across forty four nations. The Iraqi-British architect designed iconic buildings around the world.

Since GVK has signed an NDA with ZHA, they were unable to share the names of the other architects who were in the running for the project. But they did assert that they were ‘some of the best in the businesses’.While renderings of the building have not yet been released, the architects said its design will “speak to India’s future, while celebrating its present and honoring its past”.

While, India has no dearth of capable designers with some remarkable architectural works under their belt, the vast expanse of expertise and exposure of global design firms works in their favor. The government determination to fast track India’s infrastructure development especially the aviation segment that needs to be at par with international standards requires tried and tested processes and functional precision of design firms like ZHA and SOM.

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