Sense of Place- Landscapes for new Urbanity

  • January 29, 2014
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The idea of identity in emerging urbanity is a difficult one.
With clone like relentless growth , the new urbanity of India has no soul, no character, and no sense of personality.
Arguably , to deal with both, the idea of this scale and pace in any other way seems difficult. Either we should build slowly, or we should build less- or perhaps there is another way- one that has not been developed till now.
Till we find a better way to build, how does one find the expression of the human spirit, build an idea of identity, and more simply bring a smile to  people’s faces, in the new supplanted urbanity, they call homes.
The studio was recently confronted with a small space, measuring 3700 sq.mts, in the middle on 500 middle income housing flats.
The buildings are done with military precision; and between them was a narrow long strip on a podium , below which cars were parked.

gala haven plan1

We designed the space,  in seemingly unconnected fractals. A series of unconnected events ,that still were meant to be seamless were imagined. Each space with its own distinct character, its own tale, its own aesthetic. Almost like many fun, joyous, intelligent people in an animated room – holding hands.
At the lower end of the plan, an entrance walk amongst trees, that had water at its edge, leading to a plaza with large trellis structures, that led to a green court. A secluded water court with cool caves were isolated from this composition; and they in turn hid away and created a separation with a series of active play spaces and a small amphitheatre. The entire series of spaces are ringed with a walking track, that is dotted with small seating enclosures along the building edges.
The space compositions were each crafted with hand skills that were exuberant,  and have a series of installations that mark the spaces.


The giant trellis structures that shield the main court of the composition. This space is reached after a short walk, amidst a grove of trees, that has a hand crafted copper and brass fountain that marks the entrance. ( below). Vyoms sculpture marks the node of the garden court.


The entrance fountain ; a composition of many petals – in hand beaten copper, brass and steel.

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The trellis composition; the main court.


A fountain along the edge of the trellis for children.



In all there, are four trellis structures; the largest one is 35 mts long.


The trellis is fine crafted; each piece differently assembled; tilting and weaving in itself; the lattice forming many textures of light; shielding the space from the sun.

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Seen away from the main court is the court of caves, and the giant dinosaur that lurks beyond it. The head of this animal intrudes into the court of caves and stitches two spaces. Over a time the court will have tall bamboo clumps and lotus and fish in the pond. The caves are quiet retreats , their roofs lined with grass.

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The dinosaur is 32 mts long.


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Details of the giant dinosaur, that is a bridge, a slide, ladders, and swings and a joyous play structure where many an imagination can run riot.


One of the seating courts along the building edge

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Details of the windmills on the amphitheatre and another of the steps along the garden court.

The project is just being completed. But initial reactions are interesting. 
People who earlier came on weekends to show their new flats to their freinds and family, now just spend time in the garden, and dont even bother to go their flats. This is their area of pride.
Every one who comes to it, takes to it easily and the child in them in easily evoked.  A dear freind who came with her children could not resist trying the slide. Just moments before, the client , a mostly serious man, had already quickly tried the slide when no one was watching.
Many people who come there now talk about having meals in the courts, or inviting freinds for meals and spending the time before the food, sitting in the gardens.
Most investors who have bought the flats now refuse to part with them.
And everyone who has worked on it, or visits it, have a twinkle of joy in their eyes.
Early days, but this is good news….

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Recent Comments

  • Given a chance to describe in one line – “An amazing, interacting, innovative, stunning, engaging, unique yet lovely space”.

    PBB team has designed the space in a unique way that is beyond imagination, setting a new and challenging BENCHMARK in residential real estate landscape development. There are numerous elements designed beautifully with innovative/unique details. This development is much beyond so called a usual residential project landscape development.

    This space has elements for every age group, taste, mood etc. The moment you enter the space, the leaves like crafted metal fountain will set your eyes for moments then the trees and water channel lays a stone carpet to welcome you to breathe relax under the trellis, a giant branched structure, designed and executed to the finest possible level. This space will surely pull out your smart phone to capture the moments rather of every space, happy Instagram(ing). 20+ feet turkasur (the sculpture) is a creative structure adding an element of art into this space. There are amazing hidden surprises like play fountain, pebble court, cave sit outs, dinosaurs bridge, beautiful amphitheater and themed sit out zones. Meticulously designed children play areas for different age groups are placed close to each other. Well designed play courts.

    Let the evening arrive and you are into a different world. It has been lit in the way that will make you feel “HAPPY”. No further description, as well said, sometimes feelings can’t be described in words. You need visit the place to get the true feel.

    An imagination…Delivered!!!

    Cheers to each n every member of team associated with this development.

  • Couldn’t believe anything like this can ever be imagined. Designers of course, surely must be an excitement for those who actually built every part of it. Too eager to see it. CONGRATULATIONS

  • three things comes to my mind…
    – innovation
    – quality
    – benchmark

    I have seen Gurgaon’s changing skyline since last 7 years. So called millennium city where India’s top rated developers have build magnificent iconic structures. But when it comes to softscape or hardscape only thing we expect is a big patch of earth covered with a carpet of green grass and 3-4 types of tress defining a boundary of ‘garden’. Quality and quantity of plants, shrubs, trees are directly proportionate to the cash flow position builder hold with him at the end of the project. Children’s play area: only if developers have committed while launching the project and is generous enough to provide it at the end.

    While you enter gala heaven immediately what comes my mind is ‘wow’. Picture above says a lot but you get to feel better when you personally see it. Being a construction professional I understand architects’ effort given to minute details.

    You have raised the bar completely. Well done. Congratulations to the Architect, Developer and the complete team !!!

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