With murals and photos, DMRC gives Munich touch to Delhi's metro stations

Over the past few months, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has been trying to position some of its stations as more than just a place to catch a train.

With murals and photos, DMRC gives Munich touch to Delhi's metro stations
NEW DELHI: In 1974, Peter Wolf, an American musician, compared the New York subway to an urban jail with "their maze of security gates, iron railings and narrow stairways". Delhi Metro's commuters may find this to be an echo of their sentiment, but things are changing.

Over the past few months, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation ( DMRC) has been trying to position some of its stations as more than just a place to catch a train. In a series of tieups with various organizations, Delhi Metro has been trying to make its stations active public spaces, with emphasis on art, culture and literature. From murals along station walls and pillars ­ near Preet Vihar ­ to exhibitions and specialized bookstores within the station premises, Delhi Metro has converted some of the stations into hubs where a commuter, or regular pedestrian can get a glimpse of the culture and history of the country.

"We have opened bookstores offering books in different Indian languages, held specialized exhibitions of rare photographs on the history of the country , including Mahatma Gandhi, and even have a permanent Nobel Memorial wall in the Rajiv Chowk station, celebrating the Nobel laureates of the country ," said Delhi Metro spokesman Anuj Dayal.

Metro is also planning to convert the Heritage line ­ extension of the corridor from Central Secretariat to Kashmere Gate ­ into a walk down the history of Delhi. Stations like ITO, Delhi Gate, Red Fort, Jama Masjid and Kashmere Gate will have special panels and exhibitions showcasing nuggets of history of not only Delhi, but also the local area. "The panels will move from the British or colonial at the ITO station to medieval at Red Fort and Kashmere Gate," added Dayal.

Converting Metro stations into public spaces is big abroad. For instance, the Munich U-Bahn is renowned for its colourfully designed stations. Built in anticipation of the 1972 Olympics, the U-Bahn's stations were originally quite mini malistic. But as the system expanded, it changed into its current avatar that's bold and colourful. Stations like Candidplatz, Dülferstrasse, and Georg-Brauchle-Ring use the full colour spectrum to enhance the sense of movement.Georg-Brauchle-Ring station's `The Great Journey' by Franz Ackermann is made up of 400 large metal panels. Colour block tiles, interspersed with images from postcards, maps and paintings bring a soaring sense of energy .

New York too has experimented with its stations, turning them into public spaces. Art installations, murals, sound installations and a neon installation has changed the way the stations on the New York subway function. Even the station architecture echoes the subway's themes: the New York Aquarium station has stairways and walls that dip and sway , mimicking the nearby cyclone roller coaster.
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