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Indo saracenic architecture


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When the British first made inroads into India, little impact had been, was, or even intended on being made. Structures were mainly reflective of their functions, simple warehouses and a number of rather temporary administration facilities with residences remaining few in number, these kept to the traditional and vernacular. However, as British interests in India expanded, more permanent structures were required to facilitate the infrastructure of the new British Raj- symbols of their new status as the power seat; a sense of permanence and prominence.

Indo saracenic architecture

  2. 2. What is Indo-Saracenic? An architectural style movement by British architects in the late 19th century British India which drew elements from native Indo-Islamic and Indian architecture, and combined it with the Gothic revival and Neo-Classical styles favoured in Victorian Britain.
  3. 3. Development of the Style • BEFORE 1857- European classical style (incorporating Greek and Roman Features such as columns, triangular pediments) employed for the public buildings: image as the holders of power and status and to distance themselves from the natives. • REVOLT OF 1857- India began to be ruled under the British crown: essential to legitimatize their rule and connect to the natives of the colonised land.
  4. 4. “In the public buildings put up by the Raj it was essential always to make visible Britain’s imperial position as ruler, for these structures were charged with the explicit purpose of representing empire itself. Since they wanted to legitimatize their rule, they decided to justify their presence by relating themselves to the previous rulers, the Mughals. The British deliberately kept Mughal princes in power so as to not to provoke Indian contempt and to further establish their connection to the Mughals. These princes were a vision of the future, but the British also needed them to be a representation of the past. And it worked.” -Sir Thomas Metcalf
  5. 5. St. George's Cathedral, Chennai (1815) Chepauk Palace, Chennai (1864)'s_Cathedral,_Chennai
  6. 6. Principal Characteristics • • • • • • • • • • Onion (Bulbous) Domes Overhanging Eaves Pointed Arches, Cusped Arches, or Scalloped Arches Vaulted Roofs Domed Kiosks Many Miniature Domes, or Domed Chhatris Towers or Minarets Harem Windows Open Pavilions Pierced Open Arcading
  7. 7. Leading Architects • • • • • • Robert Fellowes Chisholm Charles Mant Henry Irwin William Emerson George Wittet Frederick W. Stevens
  8. 8. Prominent Buildings • • • • • • Courts and other Civic Buildings Clock Towers Government Colleges and High School Buildings Railway Stations Art Galleries Palaces of the Indian Maharajas
  9. 9. Map showing the locations of cities having Indo Saracenic style buildings in India
  10. 10. The Princely States and the British • From the middle of the 19th century, the British Crown became the guarantor of peace and commerce treaties. • The princely states were, watched over by British agents and their powers were limited to internal matters. • Change in lifestyle began to be reflected in their architecture as well - durbar halls, rooms for European guests were built, introduction of the dining and drawing rooms, fireplaces, marble fountains and statues. • New princely towns of Jaipur, Bikaner and Mysore most successful in negotiating this divide.
  11. 11. Amba Vilas Palace (19001910), Mysore • Henry Irwin • fluted pillars from the Red Fort in Delhi, onion domes from the Taj Mahal, Mughal tracery and European halls. Durbargadh Waghaji Palace (1882), Morvi •Indo-Venetian Gothic building •Saracenic domes and Rajput arches.,_India es&ArticleID=1006 Such palaces were a sophisticated political symbol of the imperial presence- outwardly Indian and built by Indian hands, the overall control stayed with the British.
  12. 12. SENATE HOUSE- MADRAS UNIVERSITY • Constructed by Robert Chisholm between 1874 and 1879 • Inspired by the Byzantine and built in the Indo-Saracenic style.
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  16. 16. Turrets Stone columns with sculptured capital Hindu iconography on the capital
  17. 17. Large clerestory circular openings decorated with coloured glass
  19. 19. Secretariat Complex, North Block. Delhi. 1930s Photograph by Medha Malik Kudaisya
  20. 20. Plan of the Secretariat along the Rajpath Two blocks of symmetrical buildings (North Block and South Block) on opposite sides of the great axis of Rajpath, and flanking the Rashtrapati Bhavan (President's House).
  21. 21.,_New_Delhi •Designed to form two squares; broad corridors between different wings and wide stairways to the four floors. •Each building is topped by a giant dome, while each wing’s end with colonnaded balcony.
  22. 22. Photograph by Medha Malik Kudaisya,_New_Delhi
  23. 23. Columns and colonnaded verandahs Photograph by Medha Malik Kudaisya,_New_Delhi Chattris & Chajjas in red sandstone
  24. 24. “The men who will actually leave the impress of their hands on the material. These men have an art language of their own, a language which you can recognize but cannot thoroughly understand. For this reason an architect practicing in India should unhesitatingly select to practice in the native styles of art - indeed the natural art-expression of the men is the only art to be obtained in the country.” -Robert Fellowes Chisholm (1840-1915)
  25. 25. REFERENCES • Gupta, Narayani. Delhi Between two empires, 1803-1921. Delhi, 1986 • Irving, R G. Indian Summer: Lutyens, Baker and Imperial Delhi. New Haven, 1981. • Metcalf, T R. An Imperial Vision. Indian Architecture and Britain's Raj. Berkeley, 1989.