Amaravati, the proposed capital city of Andhra is creating interest from all corners of the country and also from people of all walks of people because of some of the features incorporated in its Master Plan. Master Plans for Amaravati, the new capital of Andhra Pradesh which is under development on 217 sq. kms area has been prepared by highly reputed international consultants such as SurbanaJuong, Aarvee-GIIC, TCE-Arcadis and Norman Foster. Efforts are made to raise the bar in terms of citizens comfort and protecting the environment with a focus on sustainability which are being created by integrating basic and smart infrastructure services.
Some of the salient features of the city and the Secretariat Complex are:
Apart from the height, the new Secretariat Complex has many other innovative features which may set a benchmark for others to follow. For the first time in India, the structure is designed on the unique structural system called diagrid without the conventional columns. The diagrid (a portmanteau of diagonal grid) is a framework of diagonally intersecting metal, concrete or wooden beams that is used in the construction of buildings and roofs. It requires less structural steel than a conventional steel frame. Hearst Tower in New York City is constructed using diagrid framework which used 21% less steel than normally required. Incidentally, Hearst Tower was designed by the architects Norman and Fosters who are also the architects for Secretariat Complex.
This gives column free spaces and flexibility and a beautiful view for high rise towers. Diagrid structural systems are found to be efficient in resisting the lateral loads thereby making the story drifts constant with the increase in height, unlike in regular steel moment resisting frame where story drifts will increase with the story height. Savings in structural steel is another benefit of this design. Further, heat gain from the sun is reduced due to self-shading effect, thus reducing air conditioning costs.
Amaravati Secretariat with a height of 212 meters is the tallest secretariat in the world and thus its vertical transportation gains significance. A unique feature of the five-tower building is the twin lift system. In fact, for the first time in India, the twin lift system is being deployed. Unlike the conventional lifts where only one car in each shaft is used, twin lift system will have two cars. There will be in-built intelligent system, which ensures efficient and smart vertical transportation.
In case of twin lift system two independent cars, one on top of the other, in one shaft carry the passengers. The system will provide the same conveyance facility and capacity with 25% less space being consumed. The system which is suitable for buildings which are taller that 164 feet, is cost efficient and consumes lesser materials at the time of installation. Under this system, one car can be parked while the other stays in operation. So, when passenger volumes are low, no energy is consumed by moving empty cars.
District Cooling System
District Cooling System is another important feature of Amaravati capital city development. Amaravati Government Complex (AGC), comprising the High Court, the Assembly, the Secretariat, Head of Department (HoD) building, the Chief Minister’s offices and residence, Government Housing, Judges Bungalows, etc., will be covered under District Cooling System.
District cooling system consists of district cooling plant, distribution and interface network, is a thermal energy network (including the DCP, distribution Network, ETS Equipment, Metering Equipment etc.) that distributes chilled water through insulated pipes over a distance to serve residential, buildings commercial buildings, institutional and industry for space cooling and industrial purposes in Amaravati Government Complex.
DCS provides advantage over competing energy systems by replacing many individual air conditioners with one central cooling source and contributes to improved air quality, reduced power, greater efficiency, consequently lower lifetime costs and array of other benefits. It is used widely across America, Europe, Middle-East and Asia-Pacific regions with over 1000 cities in various countries from US to Russia to Japan using it. In India, with increasing industrial activity, especially in IT industry and high-end commercial activities the need for cooling is becoming more obvious and currently being adopted by smart cities like Gift City in Ahmedabad, Tech Park in Bengaluru and DLF Cyber City. Given India’s tropical climate and limited cooling pipeline infrastructure, district cooling applications are limited.
The building will be structurally stable and is resistant to earthquakes and high wind speeds. Helipad on General Administration Department (GAD) tower will serve as means of evacuation in case of emergency. Top class amenities have been planned, apart from health care facilities in the campus along with fitness centres and sports complex. Part of electricity needed for the secretariat complex will be generated through roof-top solar panels. Beautiful landscapes and a pedestrian-friendly environment will be added feature of the Plan.
On drawing board, the master plan of Amaravati is truly a blend of very best features of urban planning, sustainability and effective governance. If what’s on drawing board is transformed into actual reality, the new capital will become one of the highly liveable and world class eco-system in the world. When the city becomes operational, it can provide a living example for the architects to emulate its features elsewhere. Experience and experiments with Amaravati will set a new benchmark for our urban planners to follow.