Architecture of the Music College of Vadodara - Robert Chisholm got inspiration from Kerala architecture!!

One of the most versatile and prolific architects to work in British India, "Robert Fellowes Chisholm, a maverick in architecture, was able to design buildings in a variety of impressive  styles matching the terrain and local culture. What is special about him is he had inquisitive eyes and  had the innate ability to give a fresh impetus to the skyline. He changed the 19th century foreshore of Madras lined with temples into fantasy land of orientalism with elements of European features by the end of the 19th century. An eclectic mix of major buildings with onion-shaped domes painted in different colors, tall towers, slanting roof, gothic windows and entrances etc., transformed the city's skyline drastically.  

An ardent advocate of native styles that have been here for centuries,  Chisholm never hesitated to incorporate them in his work. Thus  he not only popularized the emerging Indo-Saracenic style in Madras presidency, but also in the state of Baroda (Vadodara) during the reign of Maharajah  Sayajirao Gaekwad III. In 1886 he left the services in Madras and moved over to Baroda upon invitation from the ruler to embark on a slew of projects.

Music college, Vadodara , GJ

Music college, Vadodara , GJ

Music college, Baroda(Vadodara)

Anglo Vernacular Boys School (now Music College, Sursagar, 1886), Baroda:

 Located on the high ground across Sur-sagar lake , an urban-civic water body, is the Faculty of Performing Arts, a part of the MS university; also known as  the Music College. It once housed the Anglo-vernacular School catering to the people of all castes. The school came into being in 1875 and since 1886, it has been a music college. It was launched in February 1886 on an experimental basis with Khan Saheb Maula Bax as its first principal. The erstwhile Baroda State was known for trail-blazing and pioneering work in many areas and one being music.  It was the  first school of music in India and for the first time  the University of Baroda recognised the teaching of fine arts at the university level.  Earlier in 1884  Maharajah Sayajirao Gaekwad III started  a ‘Sangeet Shala. This faculty, a popular one, serves as the  as the cultural hub of the city and is offering advanced courses in music, etc up to Ph.D.

Indo-Saracenic onion domes, Chennai.

Above image: It is a synthesis of Indo European design elements 19th and early 20th centuries; the hybrid combined diverse architectural elements of Hindu and Mogul with gothic cusped arches, domes, spires, tracery, minarets and stained glass, in a wonderful magic mix.  Both Robert Fellowes Chisholm (1840 – 1915) and  Henry Irwin were leading pioneers and practitioners of the time

Robert Chisholm,

This two story stunning structure with a tall central tower has many gables in the facade. Both first and second floor have wide  corridor in the front and this would cut down intense heat and sunlight coming from outside.  The first floor has slanting roofs with hanging eaves to drain out monsoon rains. The entire structure is built on an elevated ground. Building is finished in exposed brick  whereas the the roof elements & corridors are made of wood.wood work. The Roofline and  the small tower — are the signatures of this building and Chisholm designed these features drawing inspiration from .Padmanabhapuram palace in nagercoil district of Tamil Nadu  built the Travancore Royal family. Chisholm gained knowledge of local design styles by visiting places like the Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal of Madurai city, various Hindu temples of kerala and mosques and mausoleums in Bijapur, Karnataka. His architectural language of this structure - Music college is partly close to kerala's native architecture.