Madras (Chennai) is a city that endures a lot of history and culture. While painters choose to convey the history through brush strokes and writers pen the tales through their words, city-based architects have something new to present.
A group of 14 freshly graduated architects from MEASI Academy of Architecture have a quirky plan to make people associate better with the many significant places of singara Chennai. They have started an NGO in the name — Open Corridor (OC) which aims to connect people to public spaces. Elaborating more about their objective, team member Moganprasath opens up! “Unlike other cities, Chennai needs more awareness of the kind of architecture that we have and people need to know about the design of public spaces to appreciate architecture. We want to create that awareness among the people and make them take ownership of public spaces and appreciate the design,” he says.
Open Corridor has three projects in function: heritage walks with an interactive session, painting public spaces and creating installations in open spaces. Talking about the walks and paintings, Moganprasath shares, “We have done three walks so far — one in Chepauk with adults and the other two in Senate House with school children. We want to diversify our target group and make everyone acknowledge the importance of architecture. It’s exciting to hear what kids think about Indo-saracenic style of architecture and their perspective of the design and make them involve in the field.
“As for the paintings, we painted the RBI subway. We brought in talented artists to paint a timeline of the city and how it has evolved. For example, the evolution of carts to rickshaws to taxis to Uber or Ola. The place itself has a lot of history into it — the subway separated George Town (previously known as White Town where the British lived) from the Marina side (P.K.A. Black town where the locals resided).”
OC’s installation that was setup in Mylapore’s Nageshwara Rao park was the talk of the town during Madras Week. Ashika A from the design chair of OC opens up about the idea saying, “Parks are places that can be utilised in different ways.
This installation was to create a pavilion around it for people to use it as a place to perform, to have lunch or to host meetings and much more. Likewise, we are trying to add value to public spaces thereby transforming the users into a good community who takes ownership!”
With regular day-jobs and managing the works of OC, the team members are also documenting the city’s bridges. “We also plan to make a documentary about the bridges and their history,” shares Pavithra another team member.
When asked about the goals of the NGO, the team members respond, “Our goal is to make Chennai like New York, London or Berlin and organise Design Weeks and involve more people in acknowledging the architecture!”...