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Foster + Partners reveals first images of new Indian state capital

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Foster + Partners has unveiled its competition-winning masterplan for a new £500 million capital for the state of Andhra Pradesh in south-eastern India

The studio, working in partnership with Mumbai architect Hafeez Contractor, was chosen for the prestigious commission to plan the new settlement, known as Amaravati, ahead of an undisclosed shortlist of international firms last year.

Practice founder Norman Foster recently visited Andhra Pradesh to meet its chief minister, Nara Chandrababu Naidu, and to oversee the next stage of design development.

Foster said: ‘We are delighted to be working with the chief minister and the government of Andhra Pradesh to help them realise their vision of the People’s Capital and to build a clear and inspiring vision for the governmental complex at Amaravati.

‘The design brings together our decades-long research into sustainable cities, incorporating the latest technologies that are currently being developed in India.’

Planned to complete in 2022, the project will create a new municipal capital for India’s eighth largest state, which lost its former capital, Hyderabad, to the newly formed state of Telangana two years ago.

The competition-winning 365ha masterplan will deliver a new civic core for the planned 200km² settlement on the southern banks of the Krishna river.

An estimated 740,000m² municipal centre will feature an assembly building, secretariat, offices for heads of departments and ministerial residences and guest houses.

Foster + Partners is masterplanning the civic core and designing both the Legislature Assembly and High Court Complex, along with several other secretariat buildings.

The city will feature a central green spine with waterways and open green spaces. Renewable energy is expected to supply the entire settlement and support a sustainable transport fleet of electric buses, trains, water taxis and bicycles.

The Legislature Assembly will be located at the centre of the axis and will include a public museum and viewing platform. The High Court Complex will feature a rooftop garden.

The entire Amaravati settlement – located on former agricultural land close to the existing cities of Guntur and Vijayawada – is expected to take up to 25 years to complete.

About 26,000 farmers are being relocated from the area as part of the development. A foundation stone for the new city was laid by prime minister Narendra Modi in 2015.

Japanese practice Maki and Associates won an earlier competition for the city’s civic core in 2015 but the scheme was later abandoned and a fresh contest held.

Architect’s view

The new administrative capital of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, Amaravati, was born following the redefinition of state boundaries between Andhra Pradesh and the newly created state of Telangana. Situated on the banks of the River Krishna, the new city is strategically positioned to benefit from an abundant supply of fresh water, and will be one of the most sustainable in the world. Measuring 5.5km², the governmental complex occupies the heart of the city, defined by the strong urban grid that structures it. A clearly defined green spine runs through its length, providing the foundation of the masterplan’s environmental strategy, where at least 60 per cent of the area is occupied by greenery or water. The city has been designed to the highest standards of sustainability, including the widespread use of solar energy. The transportation strategy includes electric vehicles, water taxis and dedicated cycle routes, along with shaded streets and squares that will encourage people to walk through the city.

Travelling south from the river’s edge, there is a mixed-use quarter structured around 13 urban plazas, signifying the 13 state districts in Andhra Pradesh. At the centre of the green spine is the Legislative Assembly building, a democratic and cultural symbol for the people of Andhra Pradesh, which sits within a large freshwater lake and is framed by the Secretariat and cultural buildings. The High Court Complex is located off the central axis, with a stepped roof form inspired by India’s ancient stupas.

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