Delhi – Gurgaon and IGI Toll Plazas
Although they are probably the most neglected forms of architecture, toll plazas form an important ‘every day’ space for millions of people in cities. In an effort to redefine the design of toll plazas, Archohm, has attempted to give toll plazas in India, an identity of their own. With each new design, there is an attempt to create a new experience and innovate with form.
The initial two toll plazas being built by DS Constructions were at the Delhi - Gurgaon border and a smaller plaza at the entry point to Dwarka and the IGI international airport. These would be used by millions of commuters every day travelling to Gurgaon, the upcoming commercial and residential hub of NCR. Taking off from the client’s brief, ‘Give us our visiting card in the road infrastructure’, Archohm set itself on a mission to design functional city and urban spaces that would leave an impact on the city skyline.
With sound prior experience in toll plazas, Archohm defines the functions of a typical toll plaza with three distinct areas.
The first is the plaza zone which comprises of lanes, toll collection booths, an underground tunnel and an over-head canopy which defines the toll plaza area and provides the required visibility to approaching commuters.
The second is the toll control zone, which begins with the ‘cash up’ area at the end of the tunnel, a strong room and a money transfer facility to the bank. These facilities are at the basement level with a ‘control room’ that oversees the complete operations of the toll plaza. After several brainstorming sessions between the Archohm design team headed by Mr. Sourabh Gupta and the tolling team, headed by Mr Allen Le Roux, a comprehensive and holistic design was achieved.The IGI toll plaza, was intended to be a high visibility plaza. Acting as a gateway to the city for people flying into Delhi, nationally or internationally, its design adheres to international standards. Comprising of attractive and hi-tech frame less glass booths, a glass operations unit and a tensile canopy structure that punctuates the compact plaza, this design is anything but the usual. Today, the Delhi – Gurgaon toll plaza has been declared the largest in Asia. With a twisted floating canopy that sits on seven 7.2 m high pins of concrete, its form has been declared as a structural marvel. Architecturally, the bottom of the canopy is lit with changing colored LEDs that allow the daily commuter to undergo varied visual experiences. Another iconic feature of this project is the roof of the administration block which doubles up as a parking. Being associated with flyovers and highways and addressing issues of space constraints and security, the rooftop parking creates an out of the ordinary statement. From the surreal aesthetic of seeing the cars parked on the roof, to giving people a strategic deck to enjoy the plaza view, this toll plaza design has helped Indian transport architecture graduate to the next level!A plaza of this nature and scale gave Archohm an excellent opportunity to play and experiment with urban street lighting in modern city life and show off the ‘power of power’. The canopy provides shade as well as keeps the structure light and minimal in design. Specialized lighting seeps through the fabric enhancing the structural aesthetics and bringing a sense of dynamism in form and surface.
Colour renderings through changing LED systems provide the canopy with an iconic sense that is distinctly visible, when approaching from a distance. The all- white vocabulary of the plaza is in line with the entire urban color scheme of the expressway, with its slick white streetlights and reflectors.
The IGI toll plaza was built in record time of six months, marking a new design and engineering trend in Indian toll plaza construction.