The Imperial Tower Competition has been won by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill of Chicago, the same team that designed the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill have confirmed that ‘the project is on hold and most likely will not get built’ however should it be seen through to completion, the Imperial Tower would be the tallest residential tower in the city, with 116 storeys at 400m tall. And that sounds splendid in aspiration, however conflicted it appears in the context of extreme conditions. But then cities like Mumbai never poised themselves on humanitarian grounds. It’s a city of aggressive entrepreneurship, capitalistic in spirit with a heady rush not usually found, so far, in any other city in India. It conflates this conflicted human spirit of dualism and that is remarkably evident in its architectural aspirations.
The Imperial Tower is poised as softer yet taller – much taller in height – and is said to minimize the negative effects of wind. There are sky gardens with access to natural light, views and a connection to the Arabian Sea like never before. The tower would offer the most spacious and luxurious residences in Mumbai. The 76,272 sq m tower includes 132 residential units of between 195 sq m and 1,115 sq m, along with serviced apartments of between 72 sq m and 252 sq m. It’s a project with superlative adjectives in the built environment.
According to the news brief from AS+GG, the Imperial Tower aims at highest form of sustainability standards with rainwater harvesting and high-efficiency mechanical systems and use of green wall podium with native plants in landscaping.
Looking at the juxtaposed impressions of the Imperial Tower to the existing neighborhood buildings, there is something contrarian in their styles. They do not give you a unifying feeling, just like the city they belong to. Buildings don’t talk to each other or to the site. Once, such many varied aspirations take shape in the Mumbai skyline, I wonder if its schism will be of a concern to the City and its people? Or the magic of token rise in building heights will be sufficient for now and in future?
Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill are design architects on this project.