Monday, June 2, 2008

Random buildings


Let's take a random stroll around some locations in Goa. Here is a lecture hall block of two classrooms at Goa Engineering College. This is where we took our first classes as first year students, FE for short. In between lectures in June and July, the seniors would take over the class for their initiation exercises, ragging for short! FE bastards!!!....they would yell at us.
The block design is elegantly modern. But besides the old library block the other structures including the main building and labs are depressingly industrial in appearance. Founded in 1967, the year I was born, GEC was built on the Farmagudi plateau, which we religiously believe is the geographical center of Goa, as though that fact has some mythical importance.

.The Old Secretariat at Panjim is undergoing major renovation. The work on this two storied structure must be complete now, this photo was shot in March. Adilshah, the Muslim ruler of Goa, had his summer palace at this location (the Ports called him Idalcao), when Panjim was known as Pahajan Khali, then just a fishing village. The Portuguese built their viceregal residence here in 1615. And then when the Portuguese capital shifted from the plagueridden Old Goa to Nova Goa-Panjim in 1843, this edifice became the Portuguese Secretariat. After Liberation in 1961 it began housing the Goa government Secretariat and the Legislative Assembly. Listening to the regular cacophony there, old Idalcao must have turned in his grave more than once. But mercifully for him, the gang of 40 moved to their new premises at Porvorim in 2004.
Plastered laterite walls hold up a timber roof which is being totally overhauled. It is a joy to walk on its timber floor, looking up at the high ceiling and out to the river view. The restoration is being done by heritage experts, so we can hope that the somber, historical feeling of walking where powerful statesmen once walked will not be lost.


The new bus stand at Cuncolim. This structure won the Best Recreational Design 2007 in All-India A+D spectrum awards 2007 held in New Delhi recently. The bus stand has been designed by Rahul Deshpande & Associates, a Merces-based Goan architectural and engineering firm. Deshpande says the design was inspired by the movement of two dolphins leaping across water. The water is simulated by the glittering mirror and blue mosaic tiling on the walls. A pretty good job. Rahul Deshpande has also designed the D-Link building at the Verna Industrial Estate. Its simple form using exposed laterite walls and curved roofs which stands out among the other standard 'factory sheds' .


A chapel at Tisk in Ponda. The designer has taken pains to sculpt an intricate facade using exposed laterite which has weathered nicely.

The 'Lily Garments' building in Margao's New Market is our miniature snub-nosed Flatiron. There are many such wedge shaped blocks in Goa, on a busy corner where space is limited but location is great. The Flatiron Building, which when constructed was called the Fuller Building, was one of the tallest buildings in New York city upon its completion in 1902. It was designed by Daniel Burnham, a Chicago based architect.

The last photo is of a Flatiron shaped building in Toronto.


fredericknoronha said...

Nice going Jose. Give us more. Someone needs to launch a prize for the dirtiest-building in different towns of Goa. --FN

Victor Rangel-Ribeiro said...

Thanks, Jose, for giving me a minitour of what's been happening with Goan architecture lately; a couple of the sites were quite new to me. And you provided me with a bit of information that so far had eluded me: what was the site of Adil Khan's palace called when the Portuguese first stormed ashore and captured it, before sailing on upriver to take the greater prize of Ela?
Panaji/Panjim will from now, for me, carry a far more evocative name.
Victor Rangel-Ribeiro