Designing a Distinct Identity for a Unique and Historic City in India
Following successful developments in Dubai and Malta, TECOM Investments has selected the south Indian city of Kochi as the third SmartCity in its global network of knowledge-based business developments.
The 246 acre site for SmartCity Kochi is located at the eastern edge of the growing metropolis of Kochi (formerly known as Cochin), the prime city in the southern Indian state of Kerala. Kochi’s geographical location placed it at an important intersection of East-West trade since ancient times, and the evolution of Kochi follows a remarkable path from being an international maritime port since ancient times to its current place as an economic and cultural gateway to the state of Kerala. This history makes Kochi unique in India, and its extroverted and pluralistic culture is an intrinsic part of the city’s identity. This aspect will resonate with SmartCity’s intentions to create a global city, with cosmopolitan flair.
We developed three alternative design concepts explored while developing the Master Plan for SmartCity Kochi. Our emphasis was on tracing forms and patterns that are inherent to Kochi and the region, so as to bring cultural resonance and a distinctive identity to the project. We then collaged the best aspects of each together to make a composite scheme which was ultimately developed.
Radial City draws inspiration from the often seen radial patterns in natural and man-made forms in Kerala. These patterns are particularly apt for this site since they complement the topography of the site.
Canal City attempts to create a microcosm of the backwaters that define this region. Numerous waterways are drawn from the existing river and canal, and create a unique landscape for public areas on the site.
Ribbon City is defined by 3 intersecting linear elements that unite the 3 parcels of the site. Two of these are defined by programmatic elements – IT and non-IT facilities cross over as they inhabit the site. The third ribbon – the most prominent – is a green ribbon. It traces open areas, gardens, and parks that weave across the site as a unifying linear landscape. This green ribbon has the potential to become the defining feature of SmartCity that makes it stand out as a catalyst for responsive and smart development in the region.
Three speculative office buildings were designed as the first phase of project development.