PWD building has unique architecture
CHENNAI: A building housing the Public Works Department (PWD) on the Marina has a uniqueness in brickwork, revealed historian and architect Prof George J Jeyaraj here on Monday.
Addressing a gathering on “Indo-Saracenic Architecture” as part of Madras Day celebrations at the MEASI Academy of Architecture, he said the brickwork in “M” shape was located beneath both the domes of the building. Such a pattern was not seen in any other place in the country. Like the PWD, 26 other buildings in the city have the stamp of Indo-Saracenic architecture — a mix of the Mughal, Gothic and Hindu styles. Madras University Senate House, PWD building, Egmore Museum, Poompuhar, Victoria Hostel and Egmore Railway Station stand testimony to this architectural style.
According to Jeyaraj, the sunshades and brick corbels of the 100-year-old PWD building provide ample proof to establish that it was built in a style emerging out of the confluence of different architectures. The side facing Chepauk Palace has been built in an European style, whereas the one facing the Marina Beach reflected the Indo-Saracenic pattern.
The historian said the kalasam-like structures on the top were inspired by temple architecture of the State. Likewise, European vases symbolised British influence. Ornate work done below the verandah arches had a small British crown symbolising their rule. Wooden jalees pointed to the Mughal effect, he said.
Later, speaking to Express, Jeyaraj said certain constructions were included in the Indo-Saracenic architectural style to suit the climate patterns in India. High ceilings, long verandahs, steep sunshades and sloping roofs were examples of this, he added.