At a Glance

Client

Sri Gurudwara Parabandhan Commitee

Services

Architecture
Urban Planning
Redevelopment & Revitalisation

Sector of Work

Monuments
Urban Design
Heritage & Tourism

Golden Temple Complex & Urban Improvements in Amritsar

Location: Amritsar, Punjab

The Ghanta Ghar Chowk, as it is currently configured, is inadequate for this task. The chowk is not a singular urban entity but a conglomeration of four non-interactive spaces; a narrow, rectilinear, hemmed-in strip facing the temple where visitors perform their ablutions; an irregular shaped adjacent lot whose primary use seems to be for parking; a 'park' fenced off from all users; and, a busy vehicular thoroughfare that completely segregates the park from the former two spaces. The resultant fragmented spaces are either under-utilized or of inadequate size to cater to the sheer volume of visitors and unable to address the physical and spiritual scale of the golden temple. The visitor entering this space has no sense of arrival and no clear sense of direction. The constrained space in-front of the temple makes the pre-entry rituals cumbersome. A number of arbitrary disposed structures block views to the facade, while a multiplicity of materials, signage and billboards, Overhead electric cables, etc. Add to the visual clutter. The urban edge along the periphery of the chowk seems fractured and lacking in a unifying vocabulary. The space does not offer adequate shelter from the extremes of summer and winter. The design proposal aims to address all these shortcomings and create an urban focus at the very heart of the city. The proposals envisage the following: The reassembly of the four fragmented spaces of the Ghanta Ghar Chowk into a single large 'forecourt' thereby enlarging the public domain. The proposed forecourt is to be of an adequate scale and aligned along the main north-south-axis leading visitors directly to the portal and would emphasize the simple axial geometry of the complex. To emphasize the symmetry, balance in the composition of the forecourt using, as reference, the architectural vocabulary of the golden temple. To rationalize 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'. The realignment of traffic flow around the northern periphery of the new forecourt away from the temple complex while ensuring primacy of pedestrian traffic. The shifting of the VIP parking to the basement below the forecourt to minimize pedestrian-traffic conflicts and to provide pride of place to the regular pilgrim. To ensure that the new public facilities and interpretation center are on a preferred pedestrian circuit, to ensure maximum utilization. The sequence of entry would be redesigned beginning with the creation of two pavilions at the mouth of the plaza & the creation of an octagonal corner bastion using the existing temple as a 'pivot' to guide visitors to the sub-terranean Jauda ghar' and then back onto the fore court. To utilize the vertical cores that result from the statutory fire-escape requirements of the space below to daylight the subĀ­ Terranean space and enhance the axial symmetry and frame the portal, while maintaining transparency along the axis of movement and opacity in the transverse direction. To ensure the removal and relocation of shops defacing the facade to create covered waiting space for pilgrims or at the very least create an additional colonnaded bay along the shop fronts to ensure visual continuity while enforcing a strict facade and signage control regime. To create a shaded pedestrian colonnade along the periphery of the fore court wherever possible, so as to repair the fractured urban-edge and generate a coherent imagery utilizing the remainder spaces 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 overlooking the proposed forecourt. To create adequate shaded seating space using trees, colonnades, street furniture, etc. To use materials and lighting for: defining higher and lower order spaces; providing direction; creating tactile surfaces for the disabled and to reduce speed of traffic in the plaza. To design and lay a custom designed floor for the forecourt whereby a constant temperature of 24-28 degree c is maintain ed to Ensure comfort of barefoot pilgrims. To redesign and seamlessly integrate all services into the fabric of the space. To ensure barrier free access.
Related Projects