‘CIDCO-We make cities’-This tagline of Cidco, the city planning organization created by the Government of Maharashtra(India),intrigued me even when I was in primary school. As my father is a Cidco employee, I often visited Cidco Bhavan (Navi Mumbai) when I was young. The architectural models of the city nodes, the airport, the NRI Township, the plans of satellite node city of Kharghar, etc. fascinated me.
During my early studies, my knowledge about architecture was limited. My passion for architecture was recognized by my parents when I was in high school. After receiving guidance from architects known by my father, I chose to pursue architecture and later joined Pillai’s college of architecture, Mumbai. I found that learning architecture gives me immense joy and satisfaction. I often get immersed in designing the way an avid booklover gets wrapped up in a good book. My interest in photographing and sketching sceneries,- both urban and natural and urbanscapes, is in consonance with the study of urban planning. The major part of a city planner’s job is to formulate plans for the development and management of a urban and suburban areas, typically analyzing land use compatibility with consideration of economic environmental and social trends. Urban planners must also consider a wide arrey of issues such as sustainability, air pollution , traffic congestion, crime, land values, legislation and zoning codes (Source : Wikipedia).
My first critical exposure to urban planning was in fourth year of B.Arch in preparation of my thesis topic seawoods integrated commercial complex cum railway station. I had limited the scope of my thesis to the design of ‘railway station building with the commercial complexes and a shopping mall’ on upper floors. However the principal of my architectures college Prof. Arif Merchant specified that the actual project was being developed by Larson and Toubro (L&T) at the project cost of INR 3500 Crores, and with the maximum usable space of 460,000 sq.mtrs. Arif sir cautioned me against the substantial scale of the subject and specified that such a project comes under urban planning and may be considered beyond the scope of B. Arch.
On further research and taking under consideration my interest in city planning I decided to take a proposed design of Vasai – Virar Municipal Corporation Head Quarter as my thesis. Fortunately, the ongoing Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) Head Quarters project, proved to be an excellent case study. This ground plus five, domed, gold rated green building which has a construction area of 33,259 sq.mtr is designed by the famous architect Mr. Hiten Sethi. I had the privilege of having discussing my thesis design with Arch. Hiten Sethi. He gave me valuable insights about the co-relation of the head quarters and the city with regards to its general planning, transportation network, economic and social trends, the political constituents of the Municipal Corporation, etc.