New Delhi (/ˈdɛli/, Hindi pronunciation: [dɪlliː] Dilli), the capital of India – is the seat of power of the largest democracy. This city has been continuously inhabited since the 6th century BC. Through most of its history, Delhi has served as a capital of various kingdoms and empires. It has been occupied, demolished and re-written several times, particularly during the medieval period till the last century. But today, as New Delhi is identified more by a larger territory called the National Capital Region, the scale at present is beyond comparison to the past kept in context. This region is now a host of sprawling built masses and various emerging megacities.
Connaught Place, fondly called “CP”, practically forms the City Centre of Delhi. Conceived as a commerce hub or CBD by the British it has been constantly growing and becoming one of the most vibrant recreational and institutional space attracting local, regional and international visitors throughout the year. CP then slowly became a hub of many things – Social (Circus, Events, Protests, etc.), Political (Rallies, Parades, Road Shows, etc.), Cultural (Celebrations, Festivals, etc.), Economic (Workplaces, Business Centers, etc.) and Accessibility (with all the national highways passing through CP).
The sprawling circular market was the largest of its kind in India. The structures have been continuously transformed by the inhabitants/tenants/shop owners while keeping the external skin same. The market has been consistently trying to keep up with the information age by providing many digital services/facilities to keep people hooked. This has kept CP relevant reflecting its compatibility to the needs of today.
This exhibits one of the key properties of New Delhi, being the city of change.
On the flipside, the structure already has started to crumble because of losing strength and usage violations by its tenants. A series of maintenance activities have to be done every day to make sure the market is still in shape. But the insides are decaying considerably making it impossible to ensure 100% safety of its occupants. Being the CBD, it’s lack of performance / innovation / growth / scalability is also hindering the primary purpose of the place. But its heritage ties and nostalgia make it impossible to even think of a different outcome that will change its existing image in any manner.
How would the next century of this place be, under such an existential question?
Learn more about the full details of the challenge in the brief.