Modern Architecture

Though Chennai is one of the top Metros of India and is clocking growth in business, infrastructure, and structures, one does not see many attractive architectures in the new buildings.

Occasionally, you come across some architectural features which catch your eye.

I shall attempt to document these, like the one from ELCOT- SEZ, Sholinganallur.


LIC the iconic building

One can never imagine a view Mount Road without this iconic building since the last 60 years.

Building Facade


An interesting façade of a building in Mylapore. I am sure it will be pulled down in a few years for ‘development’.

Closing Time


Working on reinforcement for the new tenements for the fisherfolks in Santhome. Trying to beat the setting sun.

Using a Pollutant to Make a Useful Product

Not an apartment complex, but piles of Fly Ash Bricks
Not an apartment complex, but piles of Fly Ash Bricks

Fly ash is a residual product of coal-fired thermal power plants. It is considered a pollutant and its disposal is a major issue. So, any use for the fly ash is highly welcome.

Bricks made by fly ash not only consume the material but also have many advantages over conventional bricks. To manufacture bricks, fly ash is mixed with sand or rock dust, cement (or lime and gypsum) in a roller mill with some additives. Bricks are formed in a hydraulic press and are cured and air-dried over days.

According to Wikipedia, the fly ash bricks have several advantages.

  1. It reduces dead load on structures due to lightweight (2.6 kg, dimension: 230 mm X 110 mm X 70 mm
  2. The same number of bricks will cover more area than clay bricks
  3. High fire Insulation
  4. Due to high strength, practically no breakage during transport and use.
  5. Due to the uniform size of bricks mortar required for joints and plaster reduces almost by 50%
  6. Due to lower water penetration seepage of water through bricks is considerably reduced.
  7. Gypsum plaster can be directly applied on these bricks without a backing coat of lime plaster.
  8. These bricks do not require soaking in water for 24 hours. Sprinkling of water before use is enough.

From The Chennai Photowalk #140 Nemam Village

Coat of Arms

Interesting architectural features
Interesting architectural features

Architectural features of a house on Arundel Street, Mylapore (opposite Rayar’s Mess). Does the badge represent any coat of arms or is it just a decoration? Any idea?

From the Chenna Photowalk #139 Streets of North Mylapore

Victoria Hall

Victoria Public Hall
Victoria Public Hall

The Victoria Town Hall was constructed in  1890 with contributions from philanthropists. It is one of the many iconic buildings designed by Robert Chisholm and built by Namberumal Chetty. Though it is prominently sited between Ripon Building and Central Station, very few people know about this structure.

It was intended to be a town hall for meeting and staging plays etc. Many prominent personalities like Swami Vivekananda, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Sardar Vallabhai Patel etc.have addressed the public here.

Leading Tamil dramatists like, Sankardoss Swamigal, Pammal Sambanda Mudaliar etc. have performed in the hall. It was also used by SVS Sabha for their performances. In the early days, some films were also screened here.

Over the years it fell into disuse and got entangled in legal battles.  There were many threats to its very existence.

Now that the Metro work is completed, there is an attempt to restore the historic hall. Hope it will be open to the public soon to remind the Chennaites of their past.


Ceiling of University Senate House
The ceiling of University Senate House

The Madras University Senate House was built around 1875. This Indo -Saracenic structure was designed by Robert Chisholm.

The hall was closed to the public but was opened as a venue of Chennai Photo Biennale.

Will it Last?

A heritage house on Broadway
A heritage house on Broadway

Two years ago, during a photo walk, I spotted this interesting building on Broadway. Wonder if it is still there.

Its balcony grilles are particularly interesting.


Government Stationery Store


Government Stationery Store

This is on the corner of Arbuthnot Lane and  Rajaji Salai. Obviously it is a relic from the British era. I could not get much information about it. Does anyone have any information on its history?