Third Award | Urban Design (Built)

Upcycled: Narrow Gauge Railways Heritage Park
A railway heritage park is a protected area, in its natural or semi-natural state, or improvised, and set aside for human recreation, enjoyment and awareness along with preservation of its existing historical context.

Firm Name: Ankit Darda
Participant  Name: Ankit Darda
Team Member: Ankit Darda, Devanshi Purohit, Astha Panchal
Country : India

The visionary idea of ‘preserve, protect, and popularize’ the heritage of railway took shape of a ‘Railways Heritage Park’. But  unlike ‘heritage parks’ in West which charge heavily to visitors making it a luxurious hobby, this park aims at popularizing the heritage history directly to public at bare minimum expense and integrate into their everyday being. The 150 years of celebration for Narrow-Gauge Railways in Vadodara region envisioned into a heritage park giving opportunity to stimulate the exploration of future possibility of popularizing the not originally intended of local railway history by redefining the urban context into a dynamic, economy, ecofriendly, and less programmatic footprint on existing uses. A contribution by mint-fresh architecture students towards society: an act as a professional and responsible individual of social setup.
By and large it serves as: community gathering space for local residents; enkindling exhibition arena; and activity space for curious on-lookers, school students and railway enthusiast travelers. Through its architectural expression, it carries forward values that creates an ambience that will help ‘talk and celebrate’ railway heritage of Vadodara and highlights the ‘process and hidden hands’ behind the history makers. Recognizes existing eco-system and enhances the biodiversity by planting, weeding and re-planting trees, shrubs, flower-beds, creepers, path etc. such that they support it. The program evolved after studying the inference and implications of proposed existing site with entirely unique program of Heritage Park.
The formal unused parking island has been evolved into heritage design includes an interactive in coach display, gazebo, 20 display panels, diagonal and sizable parking area, outdoor gathering, and a kid’s-trolley on rail track leading to heritage walk through the coach cafeteria with public art display formally a railway storage and engineer office-space. Later, the heritage walk comprises of 14 wagon displays with theme pedestrian path, a turn-table and opens air amphitheater which conclude to the museum’s entrance. The museum houses a newly added display gallery which talks about the role of railways in society. The other wing houses the artifacts.
Design elements adapted for traffic calming like chicanes, neck downs, raised cross-walks, textured pavement enhances the pedestrian movement on the site which is parted by a 10.8 MT wide vehicular road promotes traffic-free zone on site. Railway’s junk material and souvenirs has been used like (except paver blocks) the benches, lanterns, stoppages, signage, boards, bells, panels out of rails and gazebo has been refurbished to operating state. Local landscape plants and construction material with labor selection within 10 miles radius of site reducing embodied energy impact.
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