Yashobhoomi: World Class Conference Tourism Infrastructure

Yashobhoomi: World Class Conference Tourism Infrastructure

After medical tourism and religious tourism, India promises to be a major destination for conference tourism with the launch of the first phase of the India International Convention and Expo Centre (IICC) in New Delhi’s Dwarka. Named Yashobhoomi, the centre is part of a plan to put Delh...
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After medical tourism and religious tourism, India promises to be a major destination for conference tourism with the launch of the first phase of the India International Convention and Expo Centre (IICC) in New Delhi’s Dwarka. Named Yashobhoomi, the centre is part of a plan to put Delhi on the global conference tourism map, besides generating thousands of jobs and helping traditional artisans and craftsmen find an international audience for their skills. Globally, destinations in Spain, UAE and USA are considered the best MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) venues. Asian cities in China, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore also attract large event holders. India has typically lagged behind in this space, with only an estimated one per cent of the worldwide opportunity, because of smaller facilities that lack world-class infrastructure. All this stands to change with Yashobhoomi. Spanning 8.9 lakh square metres, with a built up area of more than 1.8 lakh square metres, Yashobhoomi is India and Asia’s largest convention centre by area, and among the world’s largest MICE facilities, not to mention a first in mega MICE-purposed real estate in India. Yashobhoomi’s first phase comprises a convention centre, two exhibition halls and underground parking for over 3,000 cars. The list of amenities includes electric charging points, cafes, restrooms and a one-kilometre-long foyer to link spaces. Standout features Conceptualised in 2017, Yashobhoomi has been a long time in the making. But the wait has been worth the while. What stands out about the first phase is the way the project “integrates traditional architectural elements with a contemporary vision”, according to Dishu Kukreja, Principal Architect, CP Kukreja Architects. “Classic features such as jaalis, stepped wells, green open spaces, and a lotus motif on the retractable roof of the indoor arena have been reimagined through innovative forms and spatial arrangements,” narrates Kukreja. Within the structure, several design and material choices are also inspired by the country’s rich culture. For instance, the main auditorium’s terrazzo floors with brass inlays, suspended sound absorbent metal cylinders and lit-up patterned walls, and the Grand Ballroom’s petal-themed design on the ceiling. Another prominent aspect of the construction approach is “the emphasis on walkability,” which Kukreja says “is at the heart of the landscape design.” “Paths are thoughtfully lined with native plant species, creating verdant boulevards and courtyards wherever feasible,” he says. “These pathways are shaded by colonnades and canopies, ensuring universal accessibility for all users.” It is impossible to ignore the structure’s bold façades. These, Kukreja says, “are intelligently designed to regulate the entry of diffused sunlight into public areas”. Water-friendly development Throughout the site, strategically placed water bodies serve a dual purpose, enhancing the aesthetics as well as passively cooling the environment, explains Kukreja. The design and materials chosen for the pavement enable the percolation of water, in line with the project’s broader mission to contribute to stabilising the region’s precarious water table, a critical initiative in an otherwise arid area. Excessive groundwater extraction has led to a significant decline in the Delhi water table, and deterioration in the quality of water. Between 2011-2020, groundwater levels depleted by 2m-4 m in almost all of Delhi’s districts with some districts seeing a drop of more than 4m. Yashobhoomi’s wastewater treatment plant will recycle all the wastewater and the complex also has rainwater harvesting systems. Rooftop solar panels on all structures will generate clean energy. In that context, this project stands as a pioneering model for the future, showcasing India’s commitment to sustainable design practices and its prowess in engineering and innovation. It represents a visionary endeavour, creating a mini-cityscape thriving as an urban biodiversity oasis amidst the bustling concrete jungle, all achieved through thoughtful and innovative construction techniques. Yashobhoomi’s environment-friendly features have helped it get “Green Cities Platinum” certification from the Indian Green Building Council. Cutting-edge technology Yashobhoomi features India’s largest light emitting diode (LED) video façade, a wall integrating surface-mounted device LEDs with a red, green and blue pixel configuration. The wall supports a remarkable 48-bit colour depth (16 bits per colour), offering exceptional colour and video processing capabilities. Additionally, the wall features adjustable colour temperature settings. “The LED wall is designed to perform flawlessly across a wide temperature range, from as low as -22˚C to a high of 55˚C,” shares Kukreja. Since it is expertly inclined at a 45˚ angle, it enhances the wall’s visual impact and versatility. Allied infrastructure Alongside inaugurating Yashobhoomi on September 17, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also opened a new nearly 2 km-long extension of the Delhi Airport Metro Express line from Dwarka Sector 21 to Yashobhoomi Dwarka Sector 25 station. This strategically located metro station offers three subways, points out Kukreja. “The first subway stretches an impressive 735 metres, seamlessly linking the station to the exhibition halls, convention centre, and central arena. The second subway provides convenient access to entry and exit points along the Dwarka expressway, enhancing connectivity and accessibility for commuters. The third subway establishes a direct connection from the metro station to the foyer of Yashobhoomi’s future exhibition halls, ensuring a smooth and efficient flow of visitors and attendees.” This infrastructure development promises to enhance accessibility and convenience for both residents and visitors to Yashobhoomi, making it a prominent transportation hub in the region. Overcoming challenges Yashobhoomi proudly features an 80 m by 80 m grid, underscoring its impressive scale and complexity. However, “designing expansive structures with such a vast span presented a formidable challenge,” says Kukreja. “Concealing the extensive network of services posed yet another formidable task, given the sheer size of the project.” Yashobhoomi’s HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) and firefighting systems are both vast and intricate, demanding meticulous planning and execution, continues Kukreja. “The retractable seating system was a laborious endeavor that demanded unwavering attention to detail, involving countless hours of rigorous testing and refinement. Ensuring optimal viewing comfort without straining the human eye required precise calibration of the LED wall. Achieving the perfect refresh rate and pixel density was imperative, underscoring our commitment to delivering an exceptional visual experience for all who visit Yashobhoomi.” With the successful completion of phase one of the IICC, all eyes are now on the opportunities expected to arise from the Rs.200 billion second phase of the project. Word has it this will involve the construction of 5-star and 3-star hotels and commercial space, possibly in the public-private partnership mode.

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