The Secretariat (Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly), Chennai

Elevation of the Main Courtyard Building

Architectsgmp Architekten von Gerken, Marg und Partner, Berlin
Client: Public Works Department, Tamil Nadu Government
Approximate Area: 180,000 sq. mt.

Those of you who have not visited Chennai in a while might be surprised to see a huge monolithic building better known as the Secretariat. It was meant to be the local government’s seat of power, but it will now be utilised as Multi-speciality Hospital and a Medical College.

Elevation of the Smaller Courtyard Building
Elevation of the Smaller Courtyard Building
Administration Blocks
Administration Blocks

Designed by German Architecture Firm gmp Architekten von Gerken, Marg und Partner, the Secretariat consists of the Assembly, administration building, guest house, convention hall and also a multi-story parking.

Plan of the Main Courtyard with central water feature
Plan of the Main Courtyard with central water feature
Plan of the Smaller Courtyards with century old trees
Plan of the Smaller Courtyards with century old trees

The architect has definitely taken inspiration from Hindu culture especially with that of Chakra (Circles) and the hints of Rangoli. The Architect may have kept in mind that historically all parliamentary and senate buildings are circular to promote discussions which is the heart of democracy.

Elevation of the Main Assembly Building
Elevation of the Main Assembly Building
Administration Block Courtyard
Administration Block Courtyard

The different blocks of the building are also circular with giant courtyards and water feature including Rangoli pattern tiling. This is typical of a traditional South Indian courtyard where the centre is always is a water pond around which there is always Rangoli.

Court Yard with garden
Smaller Court Yard with garden features
Court Yard with ample lighting
Smaller Court Yard with ample lighting

The circular shape and the courtyards allow natural lighting to reach even the lowest level, the different blocks are also connected through radially arranged footbridges. There is also a circular block around a century old tree.

Plan of the 40 acre Campus
Plan of the 40 acre Campus

This is indeed the first Government Assembly building in the world to be designed and built as an Environmentally friendly building.

According to latest information, civilians are not yet allowed inside the courtyards, if you have any pictures or information please email mahadev@archzine.in

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