Why Bombay airport is the greatest 21st century building

Discussion in 'Economy & Infrastructure' started by Singh, Oct 22, 2014.

  1. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    ‘If I had to say which was telling the truth about society, a speech by a minister of housing or the actual buildings put up in his time, I should believe the buildings.’

    So said Kenneth Clark in his unsurpassed Civilisation. I haven’t listened to any speeches by India’s or Maharashtra state’s ministers of housing, but I hope the new terminal at Bombay’s international airport is telling the truth about their country. Opened in February, it is a triumph: not just the greatest airport building in the world, but a strong contender for the greatest of all buildings of the 21st century so far.

    I’ve done quite a bit of travelling in the past few months, and have been inside my share of airports. At London City – which, given the price of any flight in or out, is supposed to be a treat – I found myself asking whether it was necessary for my surroundings to consist so exclusively of flat, grey plastic and metal. The floor, the furniture, the security scanners: all of them seemed as dull as the overcast sky towards which the planes were understandably buggering off. Had the Byzantine building codes of successive governments brought us to this point, where only the most boring blueprints could get past the planners?

    What an unexpected delight, then, to get to the last leg of my trip and fly off from Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport’s Terminal 2. The last time I was in Bombay, ten years ago, the international terminal was ugly, slow, inefficient: none of this is true now.

    Its columns fanning out to the roof like the tail of a peacock, the check-in hall feels like a grand pavilion from one of the last durbars. Shunning the sickly strip lights that blight so much of urban India, the departure lounges’ lanterns give off a cosy glow, while the dark wooden walls are adorned with lotuses, lattices and all sorts of nods to traditional Indian design features. In the background, the unbroken drone of tabla and sitar in a sort of hill country blues formation: building the anticipation of travel without ever needing to change key. You might almost be sheltering in the cool courtyard of some Rajput prince, if you weren’t surrounded by contemporary technology.

    The place also serves as a giant museum, boasting around 7,000 works of art: classical murals, paintings and statues (some dating back to the 700s) sit beside newly commissioned works celebrating modern Mumbai in all its grime and glamour. Only one thought jars: the dishonesty of describing this as ‘public’ art, as the curators do. It’s one thing to put these wonders beyond the reach of the billion or so Indians too poor to enjoy them; quite another to pretend anyone can come and see them if they want to.

    Still, for the growing middle classes at least, there is much to be proud of here. Maria Misra described Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus – the Indo-Saracenic railway hub that dominates the south of the city, and one of the wonders of the Victorian world – as the apex of ‘tropical gothic’. The new airport terminal is also named after the 17th-century warrior king, and shares its ambition, its blend of orient and occident, and its aesthetic contribution to its era.

    I ended my trip back in Singapore’s Changi, which is usually rated the world’s least unpleasant. As I walked through the arrivals hall, an instrumental version of Careless Whisper was playing on the PA. It’s not such a bad song, but in this context it said a lot about the city-state’s lack of cultural ambition. I might have been anywhere – but perhaps that’s how they want me to feel.

    Modern Britain is cosmopolitan, but often needlessly embarrassed by its history and heritage; what might strike you or me as vernacular is pastiche to our governing classes. Other countries grasp the importance of native culture but are too parochial about it. If CSIA’s T2 is telling the truth and the country is opening up to the world while remaining proud of its traditions, then India might just have chanced upon the best of both.

    Why Bombay airport is the greatest 21st century building - and what we can learn from it » Spectator Blogs
     
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  3. thethinker

    thethinker Senior Member Senior Member

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    And..the dimwitted Britards in the comments section of that article associate this development to UK foreign aid as well. :rolleyes:

    will91 • 15 days ago

    Good to see the old foreign aid budget making a difference...
     
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  4. Ashutosh Lokhande

    Ashutosh Lokhande Senior Member Senior Member

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    Well the only bad thing on mumbai int airport is that they made parking compulsary for arrivals i got to pay 180 bucks for only 40 min wait :sad:.
     
  5. Srinivas_K

    Srinivas_K Senior Member Senior Member

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    Domestic terminal is not good, People have to wait in long queues to check in.
     
  6. Bangalorean

    Bangalorean Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Britshits will never learn. I think we need to start paying them back in the same coin. Spit on their country at every opportunity and discuss them in the same way as we discuss Pakis.
     
  7. thethinker

    thethinker Senior Member Senior Member

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    Comments like these from Britards is actually encouraging. Just a good solid indicator that India is progressing.

    Once the " foreign aid" stops, they will use another topic to downplay and degrade other positive India developments. Replying to them over and over explaining foreign aid % is a waste of time IMHO.

    Instead, grab some popcorn and watch Londonistan in the making.

    Radical mullahs v/s racist dimwitted Brits.

    Ding-ding-ding!
     
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  8. Apollyon

    Apollyon Führer Senior Member

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  9. tramp

    tramp Senior Member Senior Member

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    Yes the distance between the new terminal 2 and the domestic one is light years.... and indeed badly managed.
     
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  10. ninja85

    ninja85 Regular Member

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    you paying them in dollars???:rofl::laugh::lol:
     
  11. Ashutosh Lokhande

    Ashutosh Lokhande Senior Member Senior Member

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    lol what makes you think that payment is in dollars?
     
  12. ninja85

    ninja85 Regular Member

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    you said 'bucks' isnt that american name (or what they call )for dollar.
     
  13. Ashutosh Lokhande

    Ashutosh Lokhande Senior Member Senior Member

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    :facepalm: :dude:
    No it isnt restricted to american dollar.
    it is a slang term generally used for money or any currency.
     
  14. genius

    genius Regular Member

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    But but but ... I thought Indians were loved everywhere...
     
  15. Soul83

    Soul83 Regular Member

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    thats great, keep it up india!
     
  16. thethinker

    thethinker Senior Member Senior Member

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    Keep trolling "genius". And you mean "us Indians" right?
     

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