City Centre, Kolkata

The City Centre Mall in Salt Lake City, done by Charles Correa is a unique shopping mall, not the stereotypical closed glass-box that one finds everywhere. Correa has defined the mall typology in his signature vocabulary – crisp volumes juxtaposed around pedestrian spines leading to courtyards and open spaces. The double height pedestrian pathways act as the organizing axis, directing movement. The double height spaces are covered on top with a semicircular translucent roofing, which lets in light during the daytime. There are bridges connecting the adjacent blocks together, which help in breaking up the monotony of the straight volumes of the pedestrian spine. Invariably, these pedestrian spines open up into informal courtyards and plazas which act as spaces for pause and form activity nodes around the strategically located food kiosks. These gathering spaces are abuzz with people and activity and are pleasant spaces to use with their comfortable volumes, greenery and enclosure.

One of the nice things in the mall is that in the spaces where people are meant to gather, Correa has provided plenty of seating – both in the form of moveable furnitures as well as built-in seating and platforms, giving people plenty of opportunities to sit and relax. One focus area of the mall is the large open plaza with the central kund, an element which is a classic Correa motif. The entire plaza is organized around this kund, with combinations of steps leading down to it. This space acts like a microcosm for the city with people hanging out in the open air, people having conversations, kids running around, families relaxing etc. The open terrace of the mall adjacent to this space has been converted into a large food plaza with open as well as semi covered eating spaces created which are enclosed by vegetation. This serves as a very natural space for people to hang out, especially in the evenings.

The interiors of the mall are more or less similar to the other typical mall spaces, with anchor shops strategically located as well as well defined pedestrian circulation paths along shop frontages. However, credit must be given to both the architect as well as the client for their vision, which has created a very unique shopping mall experience with humane spaces.

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