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Fabric cones mark the entrance

Exteriors | September 1, 2012 | By:

A trio of tensioned fabric cones marks the entrance of a New Delhi shopping mall. Women and children to the right, please; men to the left.

Although the threat of terrorist attacks in public spaces is rare in the aggregate, over time enough have occurred that no country today can afford to ignore their possibility. This is the case in Mumbai, India, where on 26 November 2008, a series of shooting and bombing attacks took place in India’s largest city. The “26/11 Attacks” brought about increased security requirements for much of the country, especially in the design of public places.

With this background as directive, the designers of the entryway to the Select City Walk shopping center in New Delhi created a dynamic and prominent landmark that guides shoppers inside while providing space for sophisticated security equipment that is discreetly placed for efficient operation under the fabric arches. The effect is of a smoothly efficient airport security checkpoint, only shoppers don’t have to remove their shoes.

The design is a close-knit lattice of three posts and crossbracing struts held in position by taut steel cables. The three inverted fabric cones that provide the shade and rain protection are fitted to the framework under the crossbracing and direct any rainwater down the columns. During India’s monsoon season (normally from June to September) the fabric canopy is sufficient to handle the excess water, carrying it down to floor drains at the base of the structure on the entrance plaza.

At night, the fabric cones are awash with LED lights that brighten the setting and bring additional attention to the entry.

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