Atmosphere Kolkata

Simon Chivers
Setting a new benchmark for high-end residential real estate in India, the iconic Atmosphere development relies on expert project and construction management.

Kolkata is the main commercial and financial hub of East and North-East India and is currently undergoing long-awaited economic rejuvenation. The information and communications technology industries are driving growth in the city, together with rejuvenation of infrastructure after many years of neglect. Domestic and global investors are also increasingly seeing the potential of opportunities in the retail, transportation, residential, hospitality, energy and manufacturing sectors.

The city is now home to Asia's most complex residential project, the showpiece Atmosphere development. Atmosphere is strategically located in the Topsia district, on the EM Bypass to the east of Kolkata CBD, with direct connections to both the CBD and the airport. There is growing demand for high-end accommodation on the EM Bypass, which is also home to some of the city’s five-star hotels and has good connectivity.

Atmosphere was conceived by Rahul Saraf, managing director of Forum Projects, an innovative development company in Kolkata. The project was inspired by Singapore's Marina Bay Sands integrated resort, where Faithful+Gould was an alliance partner of the Marina Bay Sands project management team. We are now leading the Atmosphere project, providing project management, construction supervision and contract administration services.

The most breath-taking feature is the 'Deya' (Bengali for cloud), a dramatic four-storey high sky bridge spanning 80m and connecting both towers at 100m above ground level.

Cutting-edge vision, design and architecture has created Atmosphere's 37-storey twin towers, which will accommodate 32 double-storey and 48 single-storey superluxury apartments. Marketed as 'villas in the sky', all units include extensive landscaped terraces, some of which cantilever 6.5m from the building and support 5m-high trees.

The most breath-taking feature is the 'Deya' (Bengali for cloud), a dramatic four-storey high sky bridge spanning 80m and connecting both towers at 100m above ground level. The Deya will house the residents' community and recreational facilities, including a swimming pool, gymnasium, spas, running track, sporting facilities, virtual golf, cinema, meeting spaces and function facilities.

The highly complex sky bridge construction will begin later this year, using 2,700 tonnes of fabricated steel erected via 'strand jacking' lifting techniques and supported on four 3,000-tonne specialised earthquake absorbing bearings. Our project management role required in-depth structural engineering knowledge in order to manage the many specialist international contractors and provide effective construction management. Safe construction of tall buildings is a major design-engineering challenge in this area at risk from earthquakes, winds and cyclones.

Local infrastructure was not sufficiently robust and the project required the construction of a power generation system, water borehole, water treatment plant and sewage treatment plant. Ground conditions were also challenging, as the site is recycled landfill with a high water table. The building's layout means demanding conditions for construction, with complicated four-storey height spaces and floor plates with up to 27 different levels in any one storey.

Our project management role required in-depth structural engineering knowledge in order to manage the many specialist international contractors and provide effective construction management.

Faithful+Gould is providing a comprehensive range of services tailored to local construction practices and home owners' requirements. Indian construction practices are traditionally based on the award of separate contracts for each trade and our services include management of multiple façade, MEP, landscape and interior fit-out contractors. Construction management is further complicated by apartment purchasers' expectations for individually designed interiors and we are in effect managing 80 mini interior fit-out projects within the overall programme.

We are pleased to support our client with a strong Faithful+Gould team of 15, in a region which does not have extensive local high-rise or complex construction experience. Our team has brought energy and efficiency and the project is setting new standards in local programming times. Construction of one floor is completed every eight days, an achievement in this less mature construction market, with the constraints of the weather, working at height and the building's complex layout. Forum Projects is very keen that we bring global best practice to the project and we are drawing on our international experience of iconic projects to provide the best possible expertise and services.

We are pleased to support our client with a strong Faithful+Gould team of 15, in a region which does not have extensive local high-rise or complex construction experience.

Our project management services are expanding in India, where we are experiencing significant demand for expert skills in design co-ordination, value engineering, procurement and schedule control, project logistics, site safety planning, construction implementation and control. In Kolkata, this iconic project has sparke considerable interest from the development community and this is likely to become a growing market for the region.