Friday, November 16, 2007

An oceanliner, a fort and a ziggurat

Let's take a stroll down to Patto Plaza in Panjim, the capital city of Goa. Projected as Goa's Nariman Point, Patto Plaza has been slow in shaping up and some of the buildings out there seem quite dismal. But the new generation of slick towers with their glazed and panelled exteriors do give the place a bold look.

The Dempo Tower looks strikingly like an oceangoing luxury liner. Its long flat cement-plastered side with its rectangular 'portholes' makes one wonder whether it will fend well against the notorious Goan monsoons. But the exterior is double-walled like many of the towers here. The inner walls are protected by the outer walls which also allow the architects some aesthetic free play. A regular coat of cement paint takes care of the rain.

The Goa State Cooperative Bank building has a large glass front and is flanked by four towers giving it the appearance of a citadel. I recall the days of the Konkani language agitation in Margao when some thousands of square feet of glazing must have been shattered by stone throwing agitators. They of course, did not live in glass houses! But today builders and shop owners have no apprehensions of glazing away to glory, with their premises well insured. Still, a kid standing under a mango filled tree will always pick up a stone!

More ACP (aluminum composite panel) and glass cladding shines on the facade of the Myles High building. This edifice is designed by Tulio de Sousa, a Panjim based architect ( whose office is a stone's throw (oops!) away from this building. From a distance the stepped corners of the structure resemble a ziggurat of the ancient East. I'm not a big fan of glass and panel clad towers- they sometimes tend towards a depressing 'cloneliness', but the earthy colours of this one look quite good.

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