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Premkumar S


Enriching the Gateway-Breathing space for the busy town

The study area is in Dharapuram, a developing agrarian town in Tamilnadu with an extent of 7.02 km2, situated along the banks of the Amaravati River which originates from the Western Ghats. The chosen Old highway (Pollachi-Karur highway) is about 1km and runs east-west in the core of Dharapuram. Once serving as the main highway, over the years when the town expanded it became an entrance street to downtown and also a developing commercial corridor that attracts new upcoming businesses. The design proposal aims at reimagining the old highway into a transitional green corridor with series of vivid spaces to invite a variety of users and functions for active business throughout the day. This stretch would act as a breathing space for the busy town by hosting various social congregations as well as serve as a vibrant gateway street of the town. Overall experience through the street is a grand entrance gesture that gives a glimpse of the everyday life of business town Dharapuram over seasons and daily routine.

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Deciphering the development of the town with highway and five major street morphologies to find a significant corridor of the town.

Analysing Existing site conditions of the old highway (Karur-Pollachi highway) and mapping the hawker's activities to understand the different edge conditions.

The formulated vision for the corridor is to promote the old highway as a vivid gateway street of the town which will influence other transit corridors as the town develops in the future.

Inferences from site analysis are put together to formulate the six overarching ideas that meet the aspirations of different users and also for the progressive town.

The strategies are laid out on the master plan to make the street a cohesive space. Network-level measures have been formulated to mitigate traffic congestion.

500m stretch in front of the municipal school along with the farmer's market node has been chosen for detailed design development. Sections show the detailed transient and fixed program of the formulated spaces at different transects.

The design idea is to mimic how streets in small-towns are celebrated during festival times. The nodes in the design act as series of business hotspots whereas in other connections between the nodes there are no spaces for interactions but acts as respite spaces, Borrowed landscape from the school is reimagined as a multifunctional plaza.

Strengthening the tree cover would add value to the entire corridor. Designed streets with good management of runoff water would increase the groundwater quality as the town faces severe groundwater depletion.

The pocket with proposed planting, strategically placed plant species contributes to the experience along the stretch and also acts as linkages of existing stepping stones.

The idea of Shared Street and hawker's street of the town contributes to nurturing the commercial systems. The living room of the town supports the socio-cultural value of the locals; these three ideas are taken forward and spread along the 1km stretch to make the street a vivid gateway of the business town.