Mudita Kumar, Ananya Singh Parmar and Anuranjan Singh, final year undergraduate students of BArch (Hons) of the Department of Architecture and Regional Planning, won the INSDAG (Institute for Steel Development & Growth) organized ‘National Competition for Students 2019 for the Best Innovative Use of Steel in Architecture’ recently. Their brief was to design an international cricket stadium with a seating capacity of 45,000 with a dedicated space for a cricket academy using steel. The stadium was required to have an open parking space for 2,500 vehicles, modern facilities, proper signage and make ample use of natural lighting and artificial lightings. The team was mentored by Prof. Sumana Gupta of the Department and went on to create a structure made up of eight arches. They studied the Wankhede and Sydney Cricket Ground as part of their work that saw a lot of team synchrony. Anuranjan Singh, with inputs from his team members, talks to KGP Chronicle on the experience.
What was the most unique feature of your project that you think contributed to your win?
Anuranjan: The three major features we focused on were -1) Efficient crowd management, starting from site level segregation itself. Different zones for different users based on the level of scrutiny and security, usage, time frame etc., easing out circulation and ensuring hassle free movement.
2) Addressing structural complexity through aerodynamic form for sustainable maintenance over the time, interlocking arch form which supports the roof structure as well as protects it from seismic activities, and a balancing cantilever structural unit that offered unobstructed view to spectators.
3) Cultural integration and a landmark creation that would give a sense of belonging to its users. Efforts were made to create a unique outlook of the stadium in the context of the city of Ghaziabad.
At all stages of the design development, our prime focus was on user behaviour, safety and convenience, and this helped us come up with this user-sensitive design and helped us win.
How difficult or challenging was it to come up with the plan?
Anuranjan: A stadium environment is a complex one, with varied areas of security, multiple services provided in different areas of the arena, tiered accesses for VIPs, talent, staff, and others, and of course, the huge crowd that sports, concerts, and other events draw. While handling close to 50,000 people, it becomes really challenging to prioritize the best experience for all of them and integrate them together without compromising on the needs of any group. It took us around 20 iterations and frequent overnight working to finally come up with an optimized plan.
Every contest is a learning process. What have you learnt from this particular experience?
Anuranjan: There were several design setbacks and things that didn’t work out as per our expectations. These moments were really disheartening and demotivating for us. Team work kept us going at all times. We were very supportive of each other at difficult times and encouraged each other to come back stronger with every setback. So we learned to be patient and resilient throughout our journey. We learned not to fear these adversities, because each setback and imperfection was an opportunity for growth and improvement for us.
How has the curriculum at IIT KGP or mentoring helped you?
Anuranjan: The curriculum at IIT KGP has made us technically adept to handle such scale of projects with ease. It taught the foundation and basics of everything we needed to work on this design challenge. It was important for us to emphasize on structural feasibility along with design. The study program at IIT KGP offered us to take courses from other departments such as civil engineering and mechanical engineering. This makes us different from other architecture colleges. IIT KGP gives access to labs and advanced facilities which extends our knowledge and helps us in implementation. Our professors constantly monitored our progress and gave quality feedback which helped us to focus on our shortcomings. There were a lot of calculations, advanced simulations, drawings and details done by us which helped us take this project from idea conceptualization to reality. Summing up, all this led to the INSDAG say comment, “Your work is beyond academics! And you have taken this to the next level!”
Why do you think it necessary to participate in such contests?
Anuranjan: It is necessary to participate in such projects to gain in experience. For any design or problem solving challenge, there are several approaches to think of a solution. As we develop our approach, we may get biased on our design solution. We focus more on thinking about making that approach work. However, when we participate in such events we see how other people come up with alternatives. For the same design problem we see so many approaches and ways it could be solved. Such exposures are priceless. It gives us an opportunity to learn and explore things beyond our cognitive bias. It broadens our horizon of knowledge.
What is the future of this particular project?
Anuranjan: Cricket is the most watched sport in our country. Cricket stadia are large scale projects that require a lot of land and other resources. Projects like these should not be restricted to cricket and sports. In the near future, we see them as community centres fostering the identities of places. We have designed our structure to support mixed use development. The seating remains closed and other spaces can be converted to commercial usage. Concourse of these stadia is developed as shopping malls. We have provided a museum as well which can be visited by people beyond match days. We have provided an extensive landscaped area with mounds, walkways, water bodies and plaza type of setting for people near the Hindon river. This creates a beautiful recreational experience for people. These areas will be accessible and can be used by the communities throughout the year. This will increase community vitality, which is crucial for the happiness of people. Cricket stadia in India have immense potential. However, the current stadia are not designed flexibly to accommodate mixed use.