Architectural Analysis: Unidentified Brick Building, India Term Paper

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Indian Architecture

In the photographs provided, the building's architectural context has quite obviously changed over time.

The oldest-looking photo of the three shows little development in the surrounding area, while the placement of trees on the building's immediate ground looks artful.

The other two photos are more recent, as one shows subsequent development in the area behind the building.

One give a glimpse of a large white building whose twentieth-century style does not sit entirely harmoniously with the Victorian-seeming construction of the building under consideration -- and also shows broken windows visible in the main central tower.

The other photo displays recent blight and disrepair on a smaller building -- advertising posters, missing bricks and roof tiles -- although it's not clear whether this smaller building is part of the larger complex around the building under consideration.

One other noteworthy bit of context can be glimpsed in the oldest of the three pictures: at the far left is what appears to be a palm tree. Considering the style of architecture here, it is the only clue that we are not in Great Britain.

2. The photographs provided give the impression that the surrounding area around the building we are considering has become overdeveloped and has gone downhill economically.

The building itself does not seem to have fallen into outright disrepair, but the low-lying neighboring building has. This doesn't bode well for the area in which this building sits.

3. Why does this building look the way it does? Because of British empire-builders celebrating their monarch's self-styled title as Empress of India, frankly.

Red brick architecture with grey stone trimmings is a rather obvious clue that we are looking at Victorian English style: for an ornate example we might consider St. Pancras Station in London.

Or for architecture more on this scale we might consider any of the women's colleges built at Oxford University in the Victorian era (when the English first began to entertain the notion of educating women). The style here is not far off from the Somerville College library or the main quad at Lady Margaret Hall in Oxford -- this is a tip-off that, although this building is in India, its design was largely imported from England.

4. The size of the building indicates a function that would entail large numbers of people.

Our first guess might be a hotel, except the windows demonstrate it obviously is not a hotel: they do not allow for a decent view, or for adequate ventilation or balconies, or for privacy.

The uniformity of windows instead suggests a college or university building: the windows are large enough to provide students and teachers with the light to read and write, but are not so large as to permit distractions from outside to interrupt the lessons.

The turrets are a little odd for a school building, but one might suppose that this type of school would contain on-site dormitories, which would be compatible with the turrets and upper floors of the structure.

If this…

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