A modern building for Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly. A magnificiant landmark to Chennai. A great achivement to the Tamil Nadu PWD Buildings organisation. A dream project of the Chief Minister M.Karunanithi
The new building for Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly was inaugurated by Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh at Chennai on March 13. The grand function was attended by Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, Chair person of ruling UPA and Dr.M.Karunanithi the Chief Minster of Tamil Nadu
The building is located in Chennai Omandurar Government Estate with Anna Road in the west, Kamaraj Road in the east. Wallajah Road in the south and Sivananda road in the north. There is Anna statue facing the front entrance and Periyar Statue facing the rear entrance of the building.This campus is very close to Marina beach in Bay of Bengal.
The concepts of Plan and design
The design of this building was conceived by German architect GMP selected based on global tender. The building is a seven story structure raised to 198 feet with a plinth area of 9,30,000 Sq.ft The cost of the project is Rs.426 Crore . The geometry of the structure reflects circles and isosceles triangles. Four circular buildings of increasing diameter are interconnected and are wrapped in a great isosceles triangle finished to a shape of oval if seen from outside.Nowadays Architects and designers go for structural designs of Nature and adopt them as core concept. For example the structure of honey comb, a spider web, a cross section of a plant stem or a sector of a petal arrangement in a flower can inspire the Architects to adopt them in their plans. The German Architect GMP have adopted such a design in this building.
There is a concept of democracy which is represented in the four circles of the plan of this building. The first biggest circle is called Public Plaza, where public is allowed freely indicating people constitute the largest and first component of democracy. The next biggest circle shall accommodate the Legislative assembly indicating that they are second only to the people. The third biggest circular structure is meant for Law department with library symbolising the importance of Judiciary next only to legislature .The smallest and the last circular building shall be occupied by the office of the Chief Minister and that means the Executive in a democracy should be a modest wing and should obey the people, the Legislature and Judiciary in that order.
The Cultural features in the buildingAlthough the elevation of the building is finished to a modern aesthetic look in the urban context, enough planning is done to reflect the cultural traditions of the Tamils and Dravidian architecture in this building. The four cylinderical buildings have central yards open to sky just like the Muttrams in a typical traditional Tamil house.
The Kolam designs, the traditional curvy drawings are displayed in Façade of the building and in columns. Kolams are intricate geometric patterns of dots and lines drawn by Tamil women every morning at the entrance yard of the homes.
The dome over the Circular assembly shall resemble the temple car that can be seen in important temples of Tamil nadu. The dome is a grander replication of the one existing in Valluvar kottam, Chennai.The occupants of assembly hall in the ground floor can see direct sunlight from the dome in the seventh floor. The 800 ton dome shall be mounted at 100 feet height atop the seventh floor ceiling. The dome will have eight steel structures with granite cladding. Each of the eight arms, weighing 100 tones, will have aluminium fins (totally 33 of them) or gold-colored anodized aluminium sheets designed to withstand wind force and corrosion.
The first Green Assembly building in the world
On the environmental aspect this building is constructed to cause least disturbance to environment adopting the concepts of Green buildings by engaging a consultant. When compared to conventional buildings this building save 20% reduction in energy consumption by using energy saving electrical appliances including light fixtures. Occupancy sensors can automatically switch off the Air condition and lights. The natural lighting is harvested on all sides through panel façade and through the big dome at the top. The adhesives, sealants, paints and coatings used in the building have less volatile organic compounds and are less harmful to humans. The thermal comfort to the occupants shall be as per international standards and the internal air quality shall be pleasant since the whole area is declared as non smoking zone.The water consumption is expected to be reduced by 52 % by using low water flush in rest rooms, 100 % grey water recycling and 100% Rain water harvesting. A separate sewage treatment plant shall treat 2.5 lakh litre a day.
The construction debris are recycled for leveling and filling in the site. Local plant species are given preference to beautify the complex. All the old trees at the site of the building are replanted in the same campus.
The Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) has certified this as Gold rated Green Building and herefore the Tamil Nadu assembly building is getting the honour of the first Green assembly / parliament building in the world. This has also become the largest certified Green government building in India.
The Construction Technology
During the construction many challenges have been met and solved with the help of non conventional and modern methods. Foundation is laid using rotary piling. The methodology of post-tensioning has been used extensively for slabs and beams in place of the conventional method of reinforced cement concrete. Mr.S. Ramasundaram, Principal Secretary to Government (Public Works) claims that time was reduced to seven to 10 days for a floor instead of 21 days. The RCC walls around the structure carry 20000 sq m of structural glazing and 10000 sq m of blue granite cladding
The Labour Material and the Project Management
People of Tamil Nadu should thank the immigrant labours from North Indian states of Bihar, Jharkand and West Bengal. 3000 of them worked hard night and day to see the building to be erected in a record time These migrant labours may extend their stay in Tamil Nadu and even become voters here since the next mega project to construct secretariat block adjacent to Assembly Building has begun. More projects such as Financial city in the southern part of Chennai may employ them.
Engaging labour from northern states shows a deviation from the pattern of labour employment since in the past few centuries mostly Tamil coolie labours migrated from India to many countries. Now skilled tamil labours are in short supply. The New assembly building has been constructed by efficiently engaging the unskilled labours from the north. The Chief Minister is arranging for Big Feast ( Bada Gana) to those poor migrants on the eve of the inauguration of the building
This building has so far consumed 5300 cu m of river sand, 24000 MT of cement14000 MT of steel, 50,00,000 numbers of bricks, 48000 sq m of granite slab and 18000 sq m of Marble slab. About 1.12 crore man hours are spent.
The Chief Minister of Tamil nadu, Dr.M.Karunanidhi took personal interest in monitoring this project almost everyday. Other notable persons in the project administration Mr.S. Ramasundaram, Principal Secretary PWD and Mr. S. Karunagaran the Chief Engineer Buildings, Public Works Department, Buildings Organisation deserve to be honored and remembered for dedicating this building to the people. East Coast Construction and Industries Ltd( ECCI) are the main contractors entrusted with the execution of this project who hold the reputation of constructing the existing landmarks in Chennai such as Light house, Anna Flyover, Valluvar Kottam.
The building has been inaugurated on the scheduled date with some of the interior and exterior works still pending to be finished. This building has been constructed to this level in 15 months and as per contract three more months are available to completely finish this project. This has been criticized in some quarters. Some experts say that the building has to be loaded slowly and the construction activities should not be rushed for inauguration. But this all happen in such big projects and it could not be a reason to under estimate this prestigious building. The Indian conditions are not yet favorable to manage construction of such a building in any other way.
An ambitious target was set and the inauguration is on time. Buidlings organisation of the Tamil nadu public works Department with 150 years of expertise in construction field have enough skill and care to safely bring this building to effective use.
The experience gained in the construction of this Bloak A , Legislative assembly complex is going to help immensely in the construction of Block B, a Rs.210 crore project to construct 7 buildings each having seven stories for a total plinth area of 7,90,000 sq feet for housing various Government departments. Block B shall also be a green building equipped with sophisticated computer controlled building management system. Another futuristic building in making that will take Tamil Nadu to lead in such infrastructure projects.