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History of Architecture UNIT 10

Architecture in colonial India

(Early colonial period) And (Architectural character of Indo- Saracenic and Classical revival)

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Under colonial rule, architecture became an emblem of power, designed to endorse the patron. Numerous outsiders invaded India and created architectural styles reflective of their ancestral and adopted homes. The European colonizers created architecture that symbolized their mission of conquest, dedicated to the state or religion. The British, French, Dutch and the Portuguese were the main powers that colonized India. British Colonial Era: 1615 to 1947 The British arrival in 1615 overthrew the Mughal empire. Britain reigned India for over three hundred years and their legacy still remains through building and infrastructure that populate their former colonies. The major cities colonized during this period were Madras, Calcutta, Bombay, Delhi, Agra, Bankipore, Karachi, Nagpur, Bhopal and Hyderabad.


1. 2. St Andrews Kirk, Madras is renowned for its colonial beauty. The building is circular in form and is sided by two rectangular sections one is the entrance porch. The entrance is lined with twelve colonnades and two British lions and motto of East India Company engraved on them. The interior holds sixteen columns and the dome is painted blue with decorated with gold stars. The staple of Madras was Fort St. George, a walled squared building adjacent to the beach. Surrounding the fort was White Town settlement of British and Indian area Black Town later to be called Georgetown. Black Town described in 1855 as the minor streets, occupied by the natives are numerous, irregular and of various dimensions. Many of them are extremely narrow and ill-ventilateda hallow square, the rooms opening into a courtyard in the centre." Garden houses were originally used as weekend houses for recreational use by the upper class British. Nonetheless, the garden house became ideal a full-time dwelling, deserting the fort in the 19th Century.




1. 2. Madras and Calcutta were similar bordered by water and division of Indian in the north and British in the south. An Englishwoman noted in 1750 the banks of the river are as one may say absolutely studded with elegant mansions called here as at Madras, garden houses. Esplanade-row is fronts the fort with lined palaces. Indian villages in these areas consisted of clay and straw houses, later transformed into a metropolis of brick and stone. The Victoria Memorial in Calcutta, is the most effective symbolism of British Empire, built as a monument in tribute to Queen Victorias reign. The plan of the building consists of one large central part covered with a larger dome. Colonnades separate the two chambers. Each corner holds a smaller dome and is floored with marble plinth. The memorial stands on 26 hectares of garden surrounded by reflective pools.

3. 4. 5.

French: 1673 to 1954

1. 2. The French colonized a fishing village (Pondicherry) in Tamil Nadu and transformed it into a flourishing port-town. The town was built on the French grid pattern and features neat sectors and perpendicular streets and divided into two sectors, French Quarter (Ville Blanche) and the Indian quarter (Ville Noire). French styled villas were styled with long compounds and stately walls, lined houses with verandas, large French doors and grills. Infrastructure such as banks, police station and Pondicherry International Port still hold the French presence. To preserve Pondicherry an organization names INTACH was formed. Authorization is needed from INTACH, to annihilate any original French Architecture. French expanded their empire by colonizing coastal towns, Yanam in Andhra Pradesh, Karaikal in Tamil Nadu and Mahe in Kerala with a French atmosphere of quiet towns around beaches. French spelling on signage and traffic signs still remains.

3. 4. 5.


Dutch: 1605 to 1825

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. The Dutch entered India with the only interests of Trade in the early 17th Century. During their 200 years in India, they colonized Surat, Bharuch, Venrula, Ahmedabad, Malabar Coast, Kochi and Sadras. Surat a Dutch factory in 1630s Bharuch: Trading Post of the Dutch East India Company had a Dutch cemetery. Venrula: a warehouse was built for 3000 Guilders by Leendart Janszoons and a castle for the protection of the Dutch. Ahmedabad: The Dutch cemetery lies on the bank of Kankaria lake. It holds a mix of Indian and European styled graves, with domed tombs, pyramids, walled and plain grave stones. Malabar Coast Kochi: The Dutch Palace (Mattancherry Palace) The palace was originally built by the Portuguese, it fell into the hands of the Dutch when the Portuguese lost control of Kochi.


Portuguese: 1498 to 1961

1. The Portuguese arrived as merchants in the 1498 and were more driven by a Catholic missionary zeal than gaining powers in India. The Portuguese gained a foothold Goa and ruled for 400 years. 2. Portuguese dominance in Goa still remains. Their missionary spirit built many magnificent cathedrals, churches, basilicas and seminaries. The Basilica of Bom Jesus (Good Jesus), Old Goa, former capital during the Portugal rule. 3. The three storied Renaissance styled church was built of plaster and laterite in 1605, it holds the body of St.Francis. 4. The interior is built in a Mosaic- Corinthian style and adorned with wood and gold leaf. The walls embrace old painting of saints as the floor is laid with pure white marble. 5. The Portuguese - Catholic houses faced the street with unique large ornamental windows opening onto verendahs. 6. Bold colours were painted on houses constructing distinct identity, allowing the sailors to recognize their houses from sea. The covered porches and verandas were designed for socializing contrary to the Hindu styled housing. 7. Front doors were lined with columns, and railings were popular in embellishment.

Indo-Saracenic Architecture
1. designs were introduced by British imperialist colonizers, promoting their own sense of rightful self-glorification, which came to appeal to the aesthetic sensibilities of continental Europeans and Americans, whose architects came to astutely incorporate telling indigenous "Asian Exoticism" elements, whilst implementing their own engineering innovations supporting such elaborate construction, both in India and abroad, evidence for which can be found to this day in public, private and government owned buildings. 2. Public and Government buildings were often rendered on an intentionally grand scale, reflecting and promoting a notion of an unassailable and invincible British Empire. 3. Again, structures of this design sort, particularly those built in India and England, were built in conformance to advanced British structural engineering standards of the 1800s, which came to include infrastructures composed of iron, steel and poured concrete (the innovation of reinforced cement and pre-cast cement elements, set with iron and/or steel rods, developed much later); the same can be said for like structures built elsewhere, making use of the same design vocabulary, by local architects, that would come to be constructed in continental Europe and the Americas: Indo-Saracenics popularity flourished for a span of some 30-years.




Notable, too, is that the British, in fact Europeans generally, had long nurtured a taste for the aesthetic exuberance of such Asian exoticism design, as displayed in innovative Indo-Saracenic style and also in their taste for Chinoiserie and Japanned. Supported by the imagination of skilled artisans of various disciplines, exoticism promulgated itself across a broad demographic of British, European and Americas citizenry, Adaptation of such design innovations spilled over into and determined the aesthetic direction of major architectural projects, expressing themselves in the Baroque, Regency and design periods beyond. Today, that spread of elaborate Asian exoticism design fulfillment remains evidenced in many residential and governmental edifices wrought of the masterpiece initiatives of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries; much had initially been contributed by the stupendously rich and indulgent sea-merchant Venetian Empire, whose existence spanned nearly a millennium, and whose Gothic architecture came to incorporate a plethora of Asian exoticism elements, such as the Moorish Arch in its windows, related to the latter "harem window"

Main Elements of Indo Sarasenic Architecture

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. onion (bulbous) domes overhanging eaves pointed arches, cusped arches, or scalloped arches vaulted roofs domed kiosks many miniature domes domed chhatris pinnacles towers or minarets harem windows open pavilions or pavilions with Bangala roofs pierced open arcading

Mumbai BMC headquarters

Mumbai Gateway of India by night

Taj Mahal Palace

Mysore palace

Musee madras

Victoria Memorial Kolkata

Ripon Building, Chennai


Khalsa College Amritsar 1988

Daly College, Indore

North Block Govt of India

Thank You
Presented By

Partha Sarathi Mishra

Asst. Prof. Lovely Professional University B Arch (ABIT-PMCA) M Arch (IIT Roorkee) email:-