Senate House (University of Madras)

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Senate House building

The Senate House is the administrative centre of the University of Madras in Chennai, India. It is situated in Wallajah Road, along Marina Beach. Constructed by Robert Chisholm between 1874 and 1879,[1] the Senate building is considered to be one of the best and oldest examples of Indo-Saracenic architecture in India.[2]


Robert Chisholm was a 19th-century British architect who is considered to be one of the pioneers of Indo-Saracenic architecture.[3][4] Initially designing buildings using the Renaissance and Gothic styles of architecture,[5] Chisholm switched over to Indo-Saracenic with the construction of the PWD buildings of the Chepauk Palace in 1871.[6][7]

In 1864, the Madras government gave an advertisement inviting designs for the Senate House building.[8] Chisholm's design was eventually approved and the building was constructed between April 1874 and 1879.[8][9][10] A saluting battery was present at the site prior to the construction of the Senate House.[11] Prior to the construction of the Senate House, university convocations were held at Banqueting Hall (now Rajaji Hall).[12] During July 14-December 21, 1937 the legislature of the Madras Presidency met at the senate house.[13]


The central tower of the Senate House

The Senate built in the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture, incorporates many elements of the Byzantine style.[8] The great hall of the Senate House is of immense height and proportions and considered to be the finest of its kind in India.[8][9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Srinivasachari, p 341
  2. ^ Srinivasachari, Introduction, p xxxi
  3. ^ Abram, David; Edwards, Nick (2003). The Rough Guide to South India. Rough Guides. p. 421. ISBN 1843531038, ISBN 978-1-84353-103-6. 
  4. ^ Jeyaraj, George J. "Indo-Saracenic Architecture in Chennai" (PDF). Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority. 
  5. ^ K. Placzek, Adolf (1982). Macmillan encyclopedia of architects, Volume 1. Free Press. p. 415. ISBN 0029250005, ISBN 978-0-02-925000-6. 
  6. ^ Chopra, Preeti (2011). A Joint Enterprise: Indian Elites and the Making of British Bombay. University of Minnesota Press. p. 44. ISBN 0816670374, ISBN 978-0-8166-7037-6. 
  7. ^ Morley, Ian (2008). British provincial civic design and the building of late-Victorian and Edwardian cities, 1880-1914. Edwin Mellen Press. p. 278. 
  8. ^ a b c d Srinivasachari, Introduction, p 262
  9. ^ a b Srinivasachari, Introduction, p xxxiv
  10. ^ Srinivasachari, Introduction, p xxvii
  11. ^ Srinivasachari, Introduction, p 244
  12. ^ Srinivasachari, Introduction, p 327
  13. ^ Ramakrishnan, T (13 March 2010). "Another milestone in Tamil Nadu's legislative history". The Hindu. Retrieved 29 November 2011. 
  14. ^ "Madras, Series A: Senate House". 1911. Retrieved 24 January 2015. 


  • Srinivasachari, C. S. (1939). History of the city of Madras written for the Tercentenary Celebration Committee. Madras: P. Varadachary & Co. 

Coordinates: 13°03′54″N 80°16′58″E / 13.065082°N 80.282909°E / 13.065082; 80.282909