British Architecture in India

Exact Match

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British Architecture                                                                                                         

Stevens was also responsible for the municipal buildings built in 1893 opposite Victoria Terminus and for the slightly later Bombay, Baroda, and Central Indian Railway terminus at Churchgate. In these works, he took a still more significant step towards the synthesis of Indian and European forms with the incorporation of cusped arches and Deccani Muslim domes.

Following the example, George Wittet achieved a thoroughgoing Anglo-Indian synthesis for the Prince of Wales Museum in 1905 and the Gateway of India some twenty-two years later. The Museum, Classical in plan and purpose, prefers a full-blooded Adil Shahi revival, with its central pavilion modelled on the Gol Gumbad at Bijapur. The Gateway is Neo-Ahmad Shah, but recalls the Roman form of triumphal arch as much as Ahmadabad's Tin Darwaza, and substitutes a Bijapuri central space for the trabeated one provided by the Gujarati builders.

Reformative architecture at Calcutta, Madras and other cities: While the attention of Scott and his Bombay followers was focused on Venice, the Government Architect Walter Granville ruptured the Classical decorum of Calcutta with an excursion into the arena favoured by Street at home and based his High Court (1872) on the Cloth Hall at Ypres. Before the decade was out he showed his versatility - not only at turning a corner - in the splendid General Post Office which, if Classical in the purity of its forms, is certainly Baroque in scale and movement. For the Victoria Memorial at the other end of the Maidan, William Emerson embarked upon a quixotic attempt to rival the Taj Mahal. It was built of a similar luscious material but the alien forms, extruded from post-Bramante schemes for St Peter's, Rome, hover between Mannerist and Baroque.

The potential of so-called 'Indo-Saracenic' hybridization, at best for generating tension, at least for spinning mesmerizing fantasy, was exploited all over the Subcontinent. Outstanding examples are W. Brunton's bold reconciliation of Saracen castle and mosque for the fortified railway station at Lahore, Samuel Swinton Jacob's cross-fertilization of the English quadrangle with the Mughal court of audience for St John's College, Agra, Robert Chisholm's Bizantino-Qutb Shahi University Senate House, Madras, and the stupefying mélange of Gothic and various permutations of the styles perpetrated by the late Deccani Muslims with which Henry Irwin followed it for the Madras High Court.

Chisholm may lay claim to primacy in the late-19th century hybrid school for his work on the conversion of the already 'Indo-Saracenic' mid-18th century Chepauk Palace, former residence of the Nawab of the Carnatic, for the Madras Public Works Department.


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