Friday, November 23, 2007

A Fin(e) Obsession

The Seventies were a time when fins were highly fashionable and they bristled all over the place. Intended to protect the building from heat and rain as well as for light distribution, these vertical concrete fins combined with horizontal chajjas to produce interesting effects.


The Education Department building on 18th June Road in Panjim is three sided. This 'Trigon' has sheer flat corners and an adjacent tree throws a dramatic shadow on the wall in this photo. The curved sides are gracefully accentuated by the fins which also curve perpendicularly to the wall, transforming what would having been another drab gov building into a nice play of lines and curves.

If the Education Dept block is a 'Trigon', then the Health Dept building on the Campal waterfront should be called a 'Quadragon'! Hell, it's just a square building with more fins than a Harley Davidson engine. The golden years of the Machine Age Architecture echoed all over the world and these fins on a Goan building look like they will swivel slightly any moment!

Fins continue to hold sway over the Government Architect's mind as the Shrama Shakti building at Patto Plaza interlocks horizontal and vertical fins in an imposing grid. While other buildings have resorted to ACP cladding and curtain walling, the SS block which houses government offices has stuck to the good old waffled biscuit wafer look.

This commercial building near the SS block also wants to be a waffle.

Here is the beautiful Blue Fin Building – named after its 2,000 aluminium blue fins - in London. Link to this picture from Richard Parmiter's photo collection. Great photos of London!


Bosco said...


Thanks for putting names to these buildings and educating us on the intricate details of these structures we see around us.

Your contribution vis-a-vis Goan architecture is an important contribution for Goa in cyberspace!

Thank you for your efforts!!

augusto said...

Arre Josebab, looking at your photos I feel quite proud of amchem bhangarachem Goemchem architecture.I would say your camera has succeeded in glamorizing these buildings.Having said that, i must say that whenever I pass by them I always cringe as I know what these concrete piles must have replaced. Also your camera does not catch the feel of neglect that they exude when you enter them, typified by the paan stained walls. So is your photography true or false? - Both.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for 'borrowing' my photo of the blue fin building.
I see that you also forgot to put a link to my flickr feed where the original photo is.

Jose Lourenco said...

Mea culpa, Richard. I wasn't very blog savvy then. I have provided the link now. Great pictures!