Chennai heritage building to be torn down for assembly

June 13th, 2008 - 3:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, June 13 (IANS) A 100-year-old heritage building here will be demolished to make space for Tamil Nadu’s new assembly building that is to come up by 2010. Tamil Nadu’s budget will be presented in the new assembly house. The new building, to be built at a cost of Rs.2 billion, will have a seating capacity for 300 lawmakers, said state Minister for Public Works Durai Murugan.

The new assembly complex will come up in the Omandurar Estate, which is a government guest house campus in the Chepauk area. The guest house, over 100 years old, will be demolished.

At present, the 234-member legislative assembly is housed in Fort St George, built in 1640 by the British East India Company under the supervision of Francis Day and Andrew Cogon.

German architects Gerkan, Marg und Partner have won an international tender for building the state’s new legislative assembly house.

“The new assembly complex will blend classic Tamil traditions with urban aesthetics,” one of the architects said.

When bids were invited last year, about 25 architects showed interest. Nine were shortlisted, and of these, three submitted designs.

The assembly building will have a gross floor area of about 160,000 sq. metres. It is expected to be completed by March 2010.

“The geometry of the structure is derived from the traditional, round chakra (mandala) motif, consisting of circles of various sizes inscribed in 36 isosceles triangles. With its highly visible glass dome over the assembly hall, the design also echoes the features of Dravidian temple complexes.

“There will be an inner courtyard with five round courts creating public, semi-public and secure areas. A spacious citizens’ forum on the south side will have the largest circle in the mandala. The three other round courtyards will house assembly hall, legislative assembly chamber and convention hall,” the architects said.

Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi laid the foundation stone of the new complex Thursday evening and said: “This was yet another step towards Tamil Nadu’s scheme of all-round development.”

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