Donyi Polo

Itanagar, Oct 28: As people enter the newly constructed Donyi Polo airport in Papum Pare district of Arunachal Pradesh – which is going to be inaugurated soon – they are welcomed by a magnificently constructed welcome gate made of bamboo and cane.

The gate has been added to the attraction of the new airport and is named the Great Hornbill Gate, it is spread over an area of 2,500 sq ft and is exclusively made of bamboo and cane. The height of the gate is 23 feet, and its width is 82 feet, to allow unhindered movement of heavy vehicles and airport traffic.

The gate has been designed by a young Arunachali architect, Aroty Panyang, who hails from the East Siang district.

Having earned a bachelor of architecture degree from the Bharati Vidyapeeth College of Architecture, Pune (Maharashtra), she has trained with various leading global sustainable architects, including BambooU, Bali, and Jorg Stamm, Germany/Colombia.

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Speaking to this daily, she said that it took five months to complete the construction of the gate “with 15 specialized bamboo artisans” working full-time. “The structure is made entirely of bamboo and cane from Arunachal Pradesh. It was built using two types of bamboo – Bambusa tulda (jati bamboo) and Bambusa balcooa (baluka),” she said.

Regarding the longevity of the gate, she gave assurance that it is going to last very long. “Due to the development of new science in treatment and preservation, bamboos can now last a lifetime. We have treated the bamboos used for the construction of the gate with two types of naturally occurring non-toxic salts – borax and boric acid powder. Once the bamboo is treated with these materials, it can be preserved for several decades, making its use viable in permanent structures,” she added.

The design of the gate has been inspired by the great hornbill, which is the state bird.

“As the airport represents flight and the first airplanes were inspired by the flight of birds, it was important to consider this aspect in the design of the Donyi Polo airport gate. Hornbill is a unique bird with very distinct features, and served as the perfect inspiration for the design of the gate,” said Panyang.

“The entry gate has been built with bamboo, a material which has deep tradition and relationship with the tribal community of the state, and designing it in the shape of the great hornbill, the state bird, we hope to give a sense of pride to the people of Arunachal Pradesh, and inspire the present and future generations about the cultures and traditions of this great state,” she said.

Panyang said also that the monsoon was a big challenge while executing the project. “The structure was built during the monsoon, and Arunachal Pradesh is known to receive some of the highest amounts of rainfall in the country. In order to overcome this challenge, we prefabricated parts of the structure off-site, in a covered location, which ensured systematic and timely production of all requirements,” she said.