Gothic Revival architecture, with reference to Mumbai, India - 01

Gothic Revival. San Thome Church, Chennai, TN.

Gothic Revival  that goes by different names such as  Victorian Gothic, Neo-Gothic, or Gothick is an architectural  style that had begun to take shape  in the late 1740s in England. The revival movement in England had philosophical overtones to awaken the old Christian tradition in tune with the growth of  non-conformism. The movement impacted  throughout the UK well as other areas of Europe and North America. In the early 19th century, it gained more priority than other designs  for reasons of retaining old aesthetics.  Lovers of old  medieval Gothic architecture were keen to revive the old style  as the  neoclassical styles prevalent at the time did not enthuse them. As a matter of fact,  Gothic Revival includes  features  found in the original  Gothic design. It consists of  tall designs decorative patterns, finials, lancet windows, and hood molds. It became a standard design style by mid 19tth century. In the case of modern Gothic style, it simply does not try to copy Gothic designs, but  transform them. Gothic structures appeared in large numbers  during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries than in the medieval times. ''Victorian Gothic and Neo-Gothic, the Gothic Revival sought to revive medieval forms, much like the Neoclassical style sought to revive works from classical antiquity...... While the Neoclassical style of the 18th century was associated with “radical” and liberal perspectives, the Gothic Revival was associated with “traditional” sensibilities, such as conservatism and the monarch''

Gothic Revival, Protestant church.

Pointed arches used for windows, doors, and decorative elements like porches, dormers, or roof gables, gargoyle, etc., are distinctive features of Gothic Revival. Other features include steeply pitched roofs and front facing gables with delicate wooden trim called verge boards or bargeboards. The latter refers to the exposed board or false rafter running underneath the slopes of a projecting gable roof. Such a board is often beautifully  decorated with carved, cut-out, or painted designs and patterns to get the attention of the viewers. 



Above images: Bargeboard. Gothic Revival style bargeboard on the New York Yacht Club House. 

to drain rain water. Gargoyles of Mumbai

Gothic architecture  highlights the greatness of  the universe and its sublime nature by  dwarfing the mortal human entering the structure that is vast and carries the natural elements like air, space, light, etc. There lies an undercurrent of  cultural medievalism in the revival of Gothic style. According to historians  the shift from Neoclassicism to the Gothic design  was influenced by factors like  medieval nostalgia of ruined castles, abbeys, etc.,   church reforms and   the writings of John Ruskin in his book Seven Lamps of Architecture (1849) and Stones of Venice (1853). He mentioned  the morally super way of life was well showcased by the  quality of medieval craftsmanship and  he impressed on the people to return to the  old way of life.  In the later period of the 20th century, Gothic revival had begun to fade away  due to   materialism and new architectural designs in tune with the growth of modern society. Unlike old styles, modern  architecture does not leave a lasting impression on us. When you look at the old styled structures  in the midst of modern buildings our mind lingers and it does not stop for a long time. 
The Tribune Tower (1925), Chicago, an example of Gothic Revival architecture, .Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, London, .New York City: St. Patrick's Cathedral, Berlin Philharmonic Concert Hall, etc., are examples of Gothic Revival.

The following  buildings, built during the colonial rule exhibit Gothic Revival style:

Mumbai High Court, Mumbai:

Mumbai High Court, Mumbai,

Mumbai High court,

The present Bombay High Court building in Fort, in South Mumbai, next to the Mumbai University, was built  between April 1871 and November 1878 in English style with rubble, lime and basalt rock. It was designed by British engineer Col. J A Fuller. Architecture:  Gothic revival in the Early English style. It is 562 feet (171 m) long and 187 feet (57 m) wide. To the west of the central tower are two octagonal towers. The statues of Justice and Mercy are atop this building.  The building is part of The Victorian and Art Deco Ensemble of Mumbai and  was added to the list of World Heritage Sites in 2018. The court started functioning in April 1871.
Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus(Formerly Victoria Terminus),Mumbai :

Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus.Mumbai.

C. Shivaji Terminus, Mumbai.

Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus.Mumbai.

Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus.Mumbai.

Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Mumbai

Tis famous and busy  Railway terminus in Mumbai  was designed by British  engineer and architect  Frederick William Stevens. The initial   design was done by Axel Haig, It is a fine model of   Italian Gothic style. Its construction began in 1878, in a location south of the old Bori Bunder railway station and was completed in 1887, the year marking 50 years of Queen Victoria's rule. The station building  designed in the High Victorian Gothic style of architecture exhibits a blend of  elements  from Victorian Italianate Gothic Revival architecture and classical Indian architecture. The skyline, turrets, pointed arches, and eccentric ground plan  highlight  the classical Indian palace architecture. Externally, the wood carving, tiles, ornamental iron and brass railings, grills for the ticket offices, the balustrades for the grand staircases and other ornaments were meticulously done by  students at the Sir Jamsetjee Jeejebhoy School of Art
Covocation Hall, Univ. of Mumbai: 

Mumbai Univ. convocation hall

Mumbai Univ. convocation hall

Mumbai Univ. convocation hall

The Convocation  Hall building of the Bombay (Mumbai) University, Mumbai  is an amazing colonial structure built in  Neo Gothic Victorian  style.  This  Grade I heritage structure  was designed by Sir Gilbert Scott. He never visited Mumbai and did his work mostly in England. Considered as one of the finest Victorian buildings in India the view of the high-roofed  hall with balconies all around  is  inspiring and breath-taking. It was a mammoth project that need careful handling of   structural consolidation of the roof and stone vault with good  acoustics, exterior and interior  decoration, electrical up gradation, etc. Besides matching furniture the work was to be focused on Minton tiles, Burma teak balconies, gold leaf gilding, and Victorian stained glass. This attractive building took  five years to compile it - from 1869 and 1874, The hall was restored by a team led by the conservation architect Abha Narain Lambah.   
This building won  the UNESCO Asia Pacific Award of Distinction 2007. and  Indian Heritage Society Award 2007,.,_University_of_Mumbai

Municipal Corporation Building, Mumbai:

BMC tower, Mumbai.

 Municipal corp. buldg. Mumba en.wikipedia.or

Winged allegorical figure representing the 'urbs prima in Indis' and the Coat of Arms of MCGM below

curved arches, Municipal corp. buldg. Mumbai

Municipal corp buld.with tower Mumbai

The Municipal Corporation Building, Mumbai, in South Mumbai, Maharashtra, is a Grade IIA heritage building. It is across   the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (a UNESCO World heritage site), yet another colonial building.  The foundation stone for the new BNC was laid on 9 December 1884 by none other than the Viceroy of the time, Lord Ripon (In Chennai, Tamil Nadu the Chennai corporation is housed in a colonial building called Rippon building). After some deliberations, BMC chose a blend of Venetian Gothic and Indo-Saracenic that was made popular  by famous Robert Fellowes Chisholm in Madras (Chennai). The building came up in 1893. 

The building was completed in 1893.The building stands apart in this locality because if its   255 ft (77.7 m) tall tower. The  attractions  are   the central dome that rises to a height of 71.5 m (234.6 ft). and the gable with a huge winged allegorical figure representing the 'urbs prima in Indis',
Plans were afoot to restore and conserve this old heritage site that beautiful beautiful Minton tiles inside and fine tiles outside, stained glass works,  fine wooden windows, Winged Lion, Griffin like sculpture or Gargoyle on the building. The richly molded and paneled Council Chamber has a ceiling of unpolished teak.  Al these and other decorations need to be conserved. The adaptation of the Gothic architecture with controlled custom made feature  is well revealed by cusped window arches and elaborately domed corner towers.  Already Rs. 80 cores had been earmarked for the restoration work. 


Ohel David Synagogue, Pune:
Ohel David Synagogue, Pune.

Ohel David Synagogue, Pune.

Ohel David Synagogue, Pune.

The Ohel David  synagogue in Pune, MH was  designed by Henry Saint Clair Wilkins  in English Gothic architecture. The builder of this  place of worship  was philanthropist  and  businessman David Sassoon  who began the work on the building in 1863 . But the project was completed by his successors in 1867.[Made of red brick, the structure looks like a church. Being one of the largest synagogues built in India, it is on  Moledina Road near M. G. and Ambedkar Roads, Pune and stands majestically with a   90-foot tall obelisk with a clock  imported from   London.This  used to be a cantonment in 1918  meant for  troops of the British Indian Army. The Jewish community here along with Ohel David preferred  Revival Gothic style design  that became a standard in the 19th century for constructing places of Christian worship. 

The  features that  get the attention of the visitors are  gray marble flooring,  raised Tebah with wooden handrail and brass balusters. Quite impressive are tall   stained glass windows with specific geometric patterns, the wooden ceiling with lighting fixture and the wooden guardrail at the gallery.

Maharashtra Police headquarters, Mumbai:

Above image: The pediment sculptures depicting Neptune and nymphs were done by Richard Lo

Maharashtra Police headquarters, Mumbai

Maharashtra Police headquarters, Mumbai .indiatoday.i

The 143-year-old ground plus two-floor heritage structure in the Colaba area of South Mumbai earlier served  as  the 'Royal Alfred Sailors Home' because seamen used to stay here.  Its architect was  Frederick William Stevens (his first assignment),  who also designed the Victoria Terminus. The work lasted just 4 years  between 1872 and 1876. 
 Constructed with blue basalt / the Kurla stone, the roof is made of red  Mangalore tiles.  The building used yellow basalt in the early years.   Th e attraction is the  pediment has sculptures of the Roman god of water and the sea, Neptune, nymphs, sea horses, and waves - all these features are suggestive of near-by sea. The sculptures were done in Bath stone by the English sculptor Richard Lockwood Boulton of Cheltenham.  As for he polychromatic exterior, the inspiration came from   the Venetian Gothic style. It is a Grade I listed UNESCO World Heritage Site. 
The Library building,  the University of Mumbai:

 Bombay Univ. library

Above image.: 1870s photograph of the library with the Rajabai Clock Tower under construction on top; to the left is the Bombay University Convocation Hall................  

Stained glass in the library, Bombay Univ

Bombay univ. Library, Mumbai,

Gothic-Revival. Bombay univ. Library,

The Library of the University of Mumbai, a  part of the Victorian buildings complex around the Oval Maidan in Mumbai is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  It was built between 1869 and 1878 along with the Rajabai Clock Tower, and designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott  who incidentally never visited Bombay and worked from London.  The foundation stone for the library was laid on 1 March, 1869, and it formally opened for the students and faculty on 27 February, 1880

Wilson college, Mumbai:

Wilson College, 1893  .en.

The Wilson college, Mumbai is yet another building built in Gothic  Revival.  The building is famous for its grand  entrance lobby with its catchy staircase  with the multi-foil circular panel design in the handrail. The architect was  John Adams who designed the façade in a pleasing manner.  The fine features are the arched veranda with its segmental sandstone arches on the ground floor, the deep over-hanging verandahs on the west façade facing the sea form a buffer between the classrooms and the exteriors. They advantage is this feature protects  the inmates from heavy downpour. Minton tiles are used  used for the college verandah flooring and it differs from stair case area where  one can see  mosaic tile decoration with floral motifs. For the purpose of better look  red terracotta tiles in the first floor and the second floor are used. Also interesting to note, despite aging, many original teakwood doors and windows in the college are in good shape. .