Fly me to Mumbai...

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Maximum city’s grand new airport is a mega mix of art, craft and scientific technique

Fly me to Mumbai...
If you are an art enthusiast, the new integrated Terminal 2 at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) might interest you. It will house the country’s largest museum which will soon be open to the public. It comes with a rider, though: you need to have an air ticket to visit it.

Apart from the museum, the terminal will also have a “largest airport nursery”, a belated attempt to offset all those carbon footprints.

To be inaugurated by prime minister Manmohan Singh on Friday, the new airport lays claim to many such “largests”. Designed by New York design firm SOM, the architecture and design of T2 draws its inspiration from India’s national bird — peacock, which represents flight and, most importantly, beauty. Derived from a peacock feather, the acronym ‘CSIA’ has also been woven seamlessly in the logo.

Titled Jaya he, the public art programme will have approximately 7,000 exquisite ethnographic objects sourced exclusively for the purpose. While the arrivals corridor has been named Layer Narratives, the nearly 3 km art wall has been named Thresholds of India, which comprises six thematic compositions such as Elemental, Moves, Greets, Global and Silent Sentinels.

The museum is also a distinctive narrative of the country’s diversity while offering a glimpse into the rich legacy and an interdisciplinary platform for India’s cultural and creative industries. The concept is put together by one of India’s leading curators, Rajeev Sethi. “It is a privilege to work for a project like this. The programme will continue and this is going to offer a lot of benefits to artists,” said Rajeev Sethi to Financial Chronicle.

The four-level Terminal 2 spanning across an area of 4.5 million sq ft combines international and domestic passenger services under a single roof. With the addition of the new integrated terminal, CSIA will be capable of handling 40 million passengers annually. Once the new terminal becomes operational, it is expected to become the most-visited museum in the world.

The terminal comes with facilities such as a mega apron, which is constructed over 8,750,000 sq ft of pavement. Its mega landscape includes in-site planting and water landscape features in and around the terminal. The mega baggage system, which has nearly six km of conveyor belts for transporting baggage, is designed to handle 9,600 bags per hour for the current phase.

The terminal will be installed with 72 lifts, 48 escalators, six scenic lifts and 37 travelators (incidentally, it will be the first airport in Asia to have a pittless travelator). The mega multi-level car park is the largest in India with a capacity of 5,200 cars. T2 also has a retail space of over 21,000 sq mt with 188 check-in counters. There are around 60 departure immigration counters and 72 arrival immigration counters.

The head house roof (HHR) has 28 major skylights, consisting of an intricate combination of 272 pieces of glass built on a steel framework. At 500 sq m each, these are the largest skylights in Asia. Along with the major skylights are 244 minor skylights, with a size of 140 sq m each. The entire layout of 272 skylights covers over 45,000 sq m, resembling a diamond studded jewel in the HHR. There are nearly 6,420 specially designed “dichroic lenses” crafted in to this sculpted ceiling to give the closest possible look of the peacock feathers on the floor. Around 30 diamond-shaped pods enhance the design of the mega-roof. The total area of skylight glass is over 30,000 sq m and approximately four kms of LED lighting has been used to illuminate the facade.

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