Bleah! or, Current Architectural Trends


Look at this poor, architecturally-challenged creature. I am posting it not because it’s ugly — we have plenty of ugly buildings to look at out our windows as it is — but because it represents three of the city’s current architectural trends:

First, see a portion of the building on the left. This is the way most of the city’s buildings look: no architect consulted; slabs extending over the windows to act as sun / rain shades; general boxiness. Flat roofs; generally many small rooms.

If you look at the side of the building in the center, you can see that it is really the same as its neighbour.

The upper part of the facade, made of reflective glass, typifies the new buildings coming up here, of which this is a very modest version – most of them look as weird in their context as if an alien spaceship had come down in (in this case) Santhome High Road.

And finally, we come to the street-level facade, in a style which refers to Tamil traditional domestic architecture: tile roof, columns, verandah. I like this style a lot, myself, and it has come back into fashion once again, primarily for expensive houses — for people who can afford nostalgia, while concealing inside all the modern conveniences.

Any one of these three styles would have been fairly unexceptional in the Chennai of today; it is the combination which makes this a remarkable object lesson in how not to make a building.

4 Comments so far

  1. Lavanya (unregistered) on July 10th, 2006 @ 2:40 pm

    Nancy – a very relevant subject. Personally speaking, I cannot stand the glass facade because the way it is being used in Chennai’s buildings is very pretentious. Your article resonates my sentiments.

  2. R.S.Money (unregistered) on July 10th, 2006 @ 6:06 pm

    The Malaysian Embasssy building opposite to Loyala College gives very ugly looks by having dark green reflecting mirrors finishing. Even if anybody swears it is hard to believe the same as a embassy building of a modern nation

  3. tilo (unregistered) on July 10th, 2006 @ 8:35 pm

    Nancy – Ashok has to move to Madras and never think about going to Kabul or anywhere else if this city is to be saved :-)

  4. Nancy (unregistered) on July 10th, 2006 @ 8:49 pm


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