Thursday, 17 October 2019

The Senate House (University of Madras), Chennai - a wonderful colonial building needs immedate repair work and restoration

the Senate House,Chennai..agefotostock.com
The Senate House, the main   administrative  hub of the University of Madras in Chennai, on Wallajah Road, along Marina Beach is a fine piece of colonial architecture  designed by famous engineer  Robert Chisholm.  He took five years to complete it in 1879.  A classic example of Indo-Saracenic architecture in India, it is an impressive land mark in Chennai facing the Bay of Bengal.This impressive vintage landmark has  administrative departments of the University and offices of the Vice-Chancellor as well as the Registrar of the University of Madras. The resentful fact isthis amazing building is in a poor state.
Side view, the Senate House,Chennai. en.wikipedia.org
Senate House, Madras - Tucks Oileete (1911) en.wikipedia.org
Robert Chisholm was a 19th-century British architect  of great repute and is considered  as  one of the pioneers of Indo-Saracenic architecture in India rightly mixing Indian elements with European style. A new name came into being called  Renaissance and Gothic styles of architecture.  Chisholm's other wonderful creation is 
the Chepauk Palace  built in 1871 for the Nawab of Arcot  who wanted to move his residence to Madras (Chennai) close to  Fort St. George, then the main center of the English company's trading post. In the place where the Senate House stands, it is mentioned, a  saluting battery was present at that site.
The central tower of the Senate House, Chennai. en.wikipedia.org
Senate House, Chennai, Marina beach .andrewwhitehead.net/blog
Senate House, Chennai, Marina beach thenewsminute.com

Until the the Senate House came up, the university convocations were held in the  Banqueting Hall (now known as Rajaji Hall).. It was during 14 July – 21 December 1937 the legislature of the Madras Presidency met at the senate house to carry on the deliberations. The most note-worthy feature of this structure is the subtle inclusion of many elements of the Byzantine style that adds zest this already wonderful building.  Mainly bricks and  lime mortar  went into construction.  A striking part of the building is the  great hall of the Senate House that is supported by six mammoth pillars. There are domes on each corner of Senate House which are intricately designed and colored.  The Senate hall  was specifically designed with  immense height and proportions and is marked as one  the finest of its kind in India. Senate House has two entrances, which are located on the northern and southern sides of the building.  It spreads over 1.5 acres on the Chaupak campus and the other heritage structure on this campus need immediate attention  to get them  back on their past glory.
Senate_House_(University_of_Madras), Chennai. thenewsminute.com

the Senate House,Chennaitimesofindia.indiatimes.com
Presently, the Senate House presents sad picture  due to lack of adequate funds and  sheer  negligence on the part of officials concerned. It is said the University of Madras does not have funds to take care of the restoration work and the state government recently granted Rs. 5 crores and much of the fund was spent on the senate clock tower alone. The façade may be in good shape, but inside it is in a dilapidated state where one could see rodents, snakes and  other creature; the paint has peeled off and, when it rains heavily,  the water seeps in through the grilled windows. In 2004 and 2007, renovation was done but the work proved to be a failure  owing to poor management of funds R.6 crore alloted for the work.  The government and heritage lovers should act soon on this wonderful vintage structure before it becomes too late for its
redemption. 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Senate_House_(University_of_Madras)
https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/behind-its-impressive-faade-senate-house-hides-an-ugly-truth/articleshow/68103217.cms