By Avinash Nair, ET Bureau www.indiatimes.com
AHMEDABAD: The hands that designed the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, will now be sketching homes for the Indian customer. None other than Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM), one of the world’s largest architectural and engineering firms, has been roped in by Godrej Properties for the Rs 5,000-crore project in Gujarat.
Now, the Chicago-based architects and engineers will create the blue-print for the township which will be spread across 300 lakh square feet in Ahmedabad. Christened as the ‘Godrej Garden City project’, the township will house nearly one lakh residents and will take about eight years to complete.
“For Godrej Garden City, SOM has done the master planning,” said Milind Korde, managing director, Godrej Properties, a real estate vertical of the Godrej Group. It was SOM who initially designed the 2,717-foot-long (828 metre) skyscraper in Dubai that houses a hotel, condominiums, offices, and an observatory. SOM’s works also included designing the Burj’s mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems.
SOM is also known to have created iconic structures like the Chicago’s Sears Tower and John Hancock Center, the Lever House in New York City, the US Air Force Academy located in Colorado, and the Bank of America World Headquarters in San Francisco. “One of the latest iconic designs is the Burj Khalifa (the erstwhile Burj Dubai),” Mr Korde said. “The (township) project, strategically located on the SG Highway and having good connectivity with Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar, will offer contemporary designs and amenities,” he added. The firm has been instrumental in laying out the master-plan for two township projects in Hyderabad and has also designed the new Jet HQ in Mumbai.
“We will shortly launch Godrej Garden City. The project has already evoked a good number of enquiries,” Mr Korde remarked. In the Vibrant Gujarat Summit 2009, the Godrej Group had signed an MoU with the Gujarat government for developing an integrated mixed-use township project in Ahmedabad.
Industry experts believe that when the project is complete, it will be the largest township project in the city.
Adi Godrej, chairman of the Godrej Group, had earlier said the township will start off with about 500 residential units in the first phase, which will be ramped up to close to 20,000 units in 8-10 years.
The Godrej Garden City has also been named as one of the 16 founding projects of the Climate Positive Development Programme, a Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) that will support the development of large-scale urban projects that demonstrate that cities can grow in ways that are “climate positive” — Climate Positive real estate developments are projects that strive to reduce the amount of onsite CO2 emissions to below zero.