booths v. shops

In the sectors, I have learned there are two types of shopping facilities: booths and shops. Shops were part of the original design…subject to architectural controls, and built usually as 3 story mixed use structures with shops at the ground level. These contain a number of variations, but the structure in each is relatively similar. The arcade is embedded in the building structure, a result of opening up the ground floor as walkway. In general, the commercial buildings become larger as the city grows southward, because of increasing height allowances.

Booths began as temporary structures, filling in vacant space with 8’x8’ sheds for smaller merchants…those either without means for a whole shop, or with less merchandise. Since these booths filled an important gap in Chandigarh’s commercial options, they slowly crept in to supplement the shopping areas in most sectors. There are many variations of the booth. Some, like those in Sector 24 are still makeshift bamboo structures with aluminum or plastic cladding. Others are more developed, and some sectors (I have found these in 15, 20 and 22) hold whole booth markets, with which architects were involved. I have yet to come across a sector market without at least a handful of booths.

temporary booths were the originals…occupying extra space mostly at v4 intersections, in the commercial center of the sectors.

The Palace Bazaar in Sector 22 is a designed variation in which the walkway is a ventilated barrel vault with booths on either side.

Designed booths in Sector 18, with some occupant additions included.

The city has also begun to build 2-story booth buildings at many of the open corners of the sector centers. Because the original plans often made green space buffers at the corners adjacent to roundabouts (for traffic safety), the booths first encroach there. Chandigarh administration, concerned about the disheveled appearance of its markets, has put a lot of effort in legalizing and revamping the temporary situation.

Verka booths deliver dairy products to local residents, and are scattered as stand-alone booths throughout the city. There were shops designed for this purpose in the original plan, but because people don’t want to walk all the way to the market in the early morning, booths have sprung up at intermediate points.


The Shastri Market in Sector 15 is a huge booth complex that filled in old parking areas. Sector 15 is one of the major markets in the city, and these booths supplement the shops. Covered in signs and goods, the structure appears to be informally built, but once you see the skeleton and the roof structure, you can see the carefully designed (though slightly claustrophobic) market space.

The market uses booths, with 3 load bearing brick walls, as its structure. These are roofed with a concrete pyramid. The walkway, whose ceiling is far higher than the booths, is created by an RCC frame the rests on top of the brick booths. In an interesting inverse of the shop arcade structure, the arcade here is the focal point, rising higher than aggregated booths below. This also allows it to be ventilated.

The arcade runs all the way around the building, as per Chandigarh aesthetic requirements. But this market distinctly shows the push and pull between the planned concept and the residents needs that is happening throughout the city.

One thought on “booths v. shops

  1. Looking good chica, love the diagrams! Keep it up 😉
    I am in Sao Paulo- trying to secure contacts to see the projects- has not been easy dude, I am struggling a little with time now, but hopefully I can visit some places by next week- it’s a little frustrating when you can’t simply wonder alone…
    big hug bella and keep in touch!

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