Thursday, November 20, 2008

Art Deco Architecture around Goa

Back after many months. Let's browse some of my favourite buildings of the time just before Liberation in 1961, when the Art Deco style of architecture raged in Europe and made its echoes felt here in our tiny but style-conscious Goa.

The Mandovi hotel, one of the oldest Art Deco period buildings in Goa. I like the 'lightning flashes' of the railing metalwork. The corner is rounded and so are the columns.

The Damodar Mangalji building in Panjim (below) also stands at a corner, its wings spread out like an elegant bird.

An old girl sits at the entrance of the Duclo building in Panjim (above), reminiscing of the glam days when she rolled down the streets of the capital city. Can anyone recognise her breed? Chevy, methinks.

Longuinhos Restaurant near the Margao Municipal Building has a rounded corner. Ask Ivo, the restaurant owner "Weren't you the hero in the Konkani film Buierantlo Munis?" and he will beam happily. Most of the buildings built in Goa during that Moderne period had nice curvy corners at road bends and intersections. Rather considerate of the designers in terms of sight distance for traffic and very easy on the eye. Check out a similar corner building in Panjim below.

The Communidade building in Margao is one of two outstanding structures around the Margao Municipal Garden. The other is the Municipal building. The Administração das Comunidades de Salcete has strikingly tall and slender columns flanking the entrance. Straight lines dominate the façade and the halls within are large and airy. A memorial to the great Francisco Luis Gomes stands to the right. Sadly, an ugly electricity transformer has been plonked right in front of the memorial.

A window of the Comunidade building sports the ubiquitous motif of a rising sun. You simply cant escape the rising sun in Goa (or is it ominously the setting sun?), specially on its Art Deco buildings.

Another curvy Art Deco period building along the Margao Municipal Garden. Here the 'lightning flash' motif has become a bit frilly. A large commercial building has replaced the old Mauzo Photo Studio which once stood to the left of this building.

The sun hovers in the sky with clouds across its face in this grill design for the building next to Cine Lata theatre in Margao, the one that houses the Health Centre. Again a very popular motif in the Art Deco style of architecture.

Staircase railing at the Mapusa Municipal Council. Note the in-situ marble chip flooring.

I will try and get some pics of more Art Deco, but as the radio jockeys say, let me leave you with this one, an imperious fronted mansion at Baga, Velim. AVC in Salcete taluka, that is Assolna-Velim-Cuncolim, has a good number of such houses, built by wealthy villagers after their long stints on the shipping lines and in the Middle East. The chevrons and steps on the facade are easily recognisable, echoing the architectural influences of Europe at that time.


Luis Dias said...


Really like your blog; very interesting.

You may remember me as Victor's brother (Aldina's cousin). WE once went ona picnic to ? Cabo da Rama or somewhere.

We recently picked your Churches of Goa, which is also very informative. Keep up the good work! :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi Jose
Thanks for the pic of my house it brought me down memory lane

Jason said...

Hey Jose,

Recently rummaging around in the forgotten alleys of our beloved Art Deco, I realized, that what I had previously seen as Art Deco, was in fact Art Moderne...

Having said this though, it seems to me that given the manner Art Deco - ARt Moderne was incorporated into Goan buildings, and possibly liberally took from both categories, it deserves its own style category, much as Varela Gomes has called the churches on the sub-continental west coast, Bombay Gothic...

Sucheta Potnis said...


I have had the pleasure of going inside the Duclo building in Panjim and I fell in love with their marble chip in situ dados, reaching almost a metre. Lustrous and deep coloured still, after so many years. Wonder why such beautiful in-situ work cannot be seen these days? The karigars say that you don't get good pigments.

Any thoughts?