Bollywood y pavos reales: la nueva terminal del aeropuerto de Bombay

Echar un vistazo a las nuevas infraestructuras de gigantes como India, China o Emiratos Árabes Unidos es lo más parecido a admirar proyectos faraónicos del futuro. Si Abu Dabi levantará un aeropuerto en mitad del desierto y China planea uno con nueve pistas de aterrizaje, India acaba de estrenar una nueva terminal en Bombay que es un fascinante cruce entre tradición y arquitectura de alta tecnología.

La terminal, que ha costado casi 900 millones de dólares, es la primera renovación del aeropuerto de Bombay en 30 años.


Como muchos de los nuevos proyectos arquitectónicos en la India, se ubica en mitad de una enorme zona de chabolas donde reina la más profunda pobreza. Muchos de sus habitantes dependen para sobrevivir de los desperdicios generados por la actividad del aeropuerto, sus tiendas y hoteles de lujo. De hecho, la finalización del proyecto se retrasó por los problemas para desalojar buena parte de las chabolas al comienzo de la construcción.

Ahora, la nueva terminal presume entre otras cosas de enormes murales artísticos sobre Bollywood y un diseño arquitectónico inspirado, según sus arquitectos, en los pavos reales. Debajo puedes ver más fotos.

Fotos: AP

Check Out Mumbai's Sparkling New Airport Terminal

It's been almost three decades since Mumbai's airport saw a renovation—a long time, for a city that's seen some of the fastest growth in the world. But on Friday, officials unveiled an $890 million terminal, filled with Indian art and high-tech architectural acrobatics. Outside, it's bordered on all sides by poverty-stricken slums.

Terminal 2 was designed by the NYC-based Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, which also designed San Francisco Airport and Changi International Airport—two urban airports that, like Mumbai's, were strapped for land. The new terminal has plenty to boast about, including the world's longest cable stayed glass wall and the world's largest public art program—including a mural of Bollywood stars:

And a roofline inspired, according to the architects, by peacocks:

Image: AP/Rajanish Kakade.

Just outside the walls of the airport sits a huge slum, 300 acres of which were razed to make way for the airport expansion. Many of its inhabitants are financially dependent on the trash produced by the airport, and the luxury hotels and entertainment centers that have sprung up around it.

In a 2009 New Yorker article, Katherine Boo explains:

The primary industry here is the gathering of airport garbage for recycling—work made a little less miserable by expanded global markets and India's surging G.D.P. Over the past five years, there were enough water bottles, earbuds, Diet Coke cans, used tampon applicators, batteries, and copies of IndianVogue to lift the majority of families over the World Bank's poverty line, which is currently twenty-two rupees a day in India's cities.

In fact, the new terminal was long-delayed because of problems clearing the slum. "It's an absolute microcosm, representing practically every challenge facing development of Indian infrastructure," one infrastructure expert told NPR.

Image: AP/Dhiraj Singh.

India's economic growth has slowed over the past year, seeing a 5 percent downturn in 2013 alone. Mumbai-based analytics company CRISIL unveiled a new study last week suggesting that the downturn is triggering a "reverse urbanization" effect, sending newly urbanized laborers back to rural areas in search of work.

So while the new terminal is a great infrastructural addition to the city, it's is a mirror for the vast income disparity that runs through the country—a new symbol of old inequality. [NPR]

Images: AP/Rajanish Kakade.