Archive for the ‘Building’ Category

364/365 – New South China Mall

August 28, 2012 Leave a comment

New South China Mall in Dongguan, China is the largest mall in the world based on gross leasable area, and ranked second in total area to the Dubai Mall.

However, it is largely vacant. Unlike other “dead malls”, which have been characterized by the departure of tenants, the New South China Mall has been 99% vacant since its 2005 opening as very few merchants have ever signed up.

Dongguan, with a population in excess of 10 million, is located in southern China’s Guangdong province, east of the province’s largest city, Guangzhou.

The mall was built on land formerly used for farming, in the Wanjiang District of the city. The project was spearheaded by Hu Guirong (Alex Hu), who became a billionaire in the instant noodle industry.

The mall contains sufficient space for as many as 2,350 stores in approximately 659,612 square metres (7,100,000 sq ft) of leasable space and 892,000 square metres (9,600,000 sq ft) of total area.

The mall has seven zones modeled on international cities, nations and regions, including Amsterdam, Paris, Rome, Venice, Egypt, the Caribbean, and California.

Features include an 25 metres (82 ft) replica of the Arc de Triomphe, a replica of Venice’s St Mark’s bell tower, a 2.1 kilometres (1.3 mi) canal with gondolas, and a 553-meter indoor-outdoor roller coaster.

Since its opening in 2005, the mall has suffered from a severe lack of occupants. Much of the retail space has remained empty, with over 99% of the stores vacant

The only occupied areas of the mall are near the entrance where several Western fast food chains are located and a parking structure repurposed as a kart racing track. A planned Shangri-La Hotel has not been constructed.

There are many flaws to the mall’s location. The mall is located in the suburbs of Dongguan, where it is practically accessible only by car or bus, rendering it unreachable to a large percentage of the public. Dongguan does not have an airport, nor are there highways adjacent to the mall’s location.

Academy Award-nominated documentary filmmaker Sam Green made a short film about the South China Mall called “Utopia Part 3: the World’s Largest Shopping Mall.” The film premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and was broadcast on PBS’s documentary series POV.



309/365 – The Imperial (Mumbai)

The Imperial is a twin-tower residential skyscraper complex in Mumbai, India that were the tallest buildings in the country till June 2012 when Palais Royale topped out.

The towers are located at the sea front in Tardeo, South Mumbai. Construction was completed and the towers were inaugurated in 2010.


The Imperial is located in Tardeo, Mumbai. Imperial Towers, designed by Mumbai architect Hafeez Contractor as his most recognizable project to date, were designed as Mumbai’s tallest towers.

The Imperial Twin Towers are built on former slum land where the current re-development model of builders providing free land and rehabilitation to slum dwellers in exchange for rights for property development, was first put into practice on a big scale. This model was used for slum and mill land redevelopment across the city, and across India as a whole.


A private observation deck is present at the top of each building by the cone spires. It’s not open for general public contrary to popular beliefs.


296/365 – Hawa Mahal

Hawa Mahal (“Palace of Winds” or “Palace of the Breeze”), is a palace in Jaipur, India. It was built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, and designed by Lal Chand Ustad in the form of the crown of Krishna, the Hindu god.

Its unique five-storey exterior is also akin to the honeycomb of the beehive with its 953 small windows called jharokhas that are decorated with intricate latticework.

The original intention of the lattice was to allow royal ladies to observe everyday life in the street below without being seen, since they had to observe strict “purdah” (face cover).

Built of red and pink sandstone, the palace is situated on the main thoroughfare in the heart of Jaipur’s business centre. It forms part of the City Palace, and extends to the Zenana or women’s chambers, the chambers of the harem. It is particularly striking when viewed early in the morning, lit with the golden light of sunrise.


Maharaja Sawai Jai singh, the ruler of Rajasthan of the Kachwaha clan, was the original planner and builder who built the Jaipur city in 1727.

However, it was his grandson Sawai Pratap Singh, son of Maharaja Sawai Madhosingh I, who built the Hawa Mahal in 1799 as a continuation of the Royal City Palace.

Pratap Singh’s deep devotion to the Hindu god Lord Krishna is inferred to have prompted him to build it as a dedication, in the form of a Mukuta or headgear, adorning the Lord.

Hawa Mahal did just that in style, amidst its luxurious comforts and behind strict screened exclusivity, unseen by outsiders.   Royal family of Jaipur, during their reign, also used the palace as a hot weather retreat, during the suffocating summer season of Jaipur, for several years, since the unusually designed window screens provided the much needed cool breeze and ventilation.


288/365 – London Bridge

Carries: 5 lanes of A3

Crosses: River Thames

Locale: Inner London

Maintained by: Bridge House Estates, City of London Corporation

Design: prestressed concrete box girder bridge

Total length: 269 m (882.5 ft)

Width: 32 m (105.0 ft)

Opened: 17 March 1973

London Bridge is a bridge over the River Thames, connecting the City of London and Southwark, in central London.

Situated between Cannon Street Railway Bridge and Tower Bridge, it forms the western end of the Pool of London.

On the south side of the bridge are Southwark Cathedral and London Bridge station; on the north side are the Monument to the Great Fire of London and Monument tube station.

It was the only bridge over the Thames downstream from Kingston until Putney Bridge opened in 1729. The current bridge opened on 17 March 1973 and is the latest in a succession of bridges to occupy the spot and claim the name.

The bridge carries part of the A3 road, which is maintained by the Greater London Authority; the bridge itself is owned and maintained by the Bridge House Estates, an independent charity overseen by the City of London Corporation.

The area between London Bridge and Tower Bridge on the south side of the Thames is a business improvement district (BID) and is managed by Team London Bridge.


226/365 – Vivekanandar Illam

April 12, 2012 Leave a comment

Vivekanandar Illam, earlier known as Ice House or Castle Kernan at Chennai, India is an important place for the Ramakrishna Movement in South India.

It is remembered as the place where Swami Vivekananda stayed for nine days when he visited Chennai (then Madras) in 1897.

Vivekananda House now houses a Permanent Exhibition on Indian Culture and Swamiji’s Life, maintained by the Chennai branch of the Ramakrishna Math and is a source of inspiration to thousands of people who visit it every year.


Vivekanandar Illam is a structure at Chennai, India, used by the British to store ice brought from Great Lakes in North America for about 30 years.

Ice King Frederic Tudor built an ice house at Madras facing the Bay of Bengal in 1842 as part of his ice business. Around 1880, the business collapsed and the building was sold to Biligiri Iyengar of Madras.

Biligiri Iyengar was a famous advocate in the Madras High Court and was fairly well-to-do in those times. He remodelled the house, renamed it Castle Kernan after his friend, Justice Kernan in the Madras High Court and used it as a residence.

When Swami Vivekananda visited Madras in 1897 after his return from the West, Iyengar, being a disciple of Swami Vivekananda, made him stay at the Ice House.

Vivekananda stayed at the Ice House between 6 February 1897 to 14 February 1897. During his nine day stay, he shook India’s national consciousness through his fiery lectures at Chennai.

When Vivekananda was about to depart, he agreed to his disciples’ request to set up a permanent centre at the Ice House. Later, Ramakrishna Math (Monastery) Chennai was founded by Swami Ramakrishnananda, a brother disciple of Swami Vivekananda.

The mission activities continued till 1906. The Math functioned from here during its first 10 years (1897–1906) until it got moved to the current location at Mylapore, Chennai and the property came up for mortgage and was purchased by a zamindar.

In 1917, Ice House was acquired by the Government of Madras as part of their social welfare scheme after which the house functioned as training school for women and a hostel for widows.

In 1963, during the Birth Centenary of Swami Vivekananda, the Government of Tamil Nadu renamed the Castle Kernan as Vivekanandar Illam (Illam means house in Tamil) or ‘Vivekananda House’.

In 1997, on the eve of the Centenary of Swamiji’s return to India (and his stay at House), the Government of Tamil Nadu at the request of the Ramakrishna Math, leased out the Vivekananda House and it’s valid up to 2020.


Spherical in shape and rising to three-storeys, Vivekananda House stands majestically on the busy Kamarajar Salai and it’s a well-known landmark in modern day Chennai.

It finds a mention in Madras, The Architectural Heritage, an INTACH [Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage] Guide for the architecturally important buildings in Chennai.

The Vivekananda House structure is distinctive and has several unique features. Though it has undergone several changes over the course of time in terms of spatial functionality, styles and the materials used, it stands out as an important monument connecting contemporary times to the days when it was built.

This is reflected clearly in its distinct architectural features such as the circular core, the semicircular corridors, the hemispherical dome and the square plan.


224/365 – Ripon Building

April 10, 2012 Leave a comment

Ripon Building is the seat of the Chennai Corporation (Madras Corporation) in Chennai (Madras), Tamil Nadu. This is a fine example of Indo-Saracenic style of architecture, a combination of three types of architectural styles – Gothic, Ionic and Corinthian.

The Ripon Building is white in colour and is located near the Central station in Chennai. Commissioned in 1913, it was built by Loganatha Mudaliar.

It took 4 years to build at a cost of 750,000. Ripon building was named after Lord Ripon, Governor-General of British India and the Father of local self-government.

Earl of Minto, the then Viceroy and Governor General of India laid the foundation on 12 December 1909.   The Municipal Corporation of Madras, after functioning from several other places, settled at Ripon building in 1913, with P.L. Moore as the President of the Municipal Corporation at the time of the inauguration.

Building Information

The building is rectangular and is 85 meters long and 32 metres wide.

The first of its three floors offers about 2,800 square metres of space.

Its central tower is 43 metres tall and has a clock 2.5 metres in diameter.

The walls were constructed with stock bricks, set and plastered with lime mortar.

The roofs are supported with teak wood joists. The original flooring of the ground floor was Cuddapah Slate. This has now been replaced with marble.

One of the main attractions Yof the building is the Westminster Quarter chiming clock. This was installed by Oakes and Co. in 1913. The clock has a mechanical key system, which is wound every day. There are a total of 4 bells, which were cast by Gillet and Johnston in 1913.


214/365 – Marina Bay Sands

March 31, 2012 Leave a comment

Address:10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018956

Opening date

Grand opening – 15th Febuary 2011

Official opening – 23 June 2010

Preview opening – 27 April 2010

No. of rooms: 2,561

Permanent shows: Disney’s The Lion King

Signature attractions:

Sands SkyPark, The Shoppes atMarina Bay Sands, The Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Bay Floral, MarinaBay Club, MarinaBay Sands Art Path, ArtScienceMuseum and Wonder Full


Notable restaurants :

CUT, DB Bistro Moderne, SavoySingapore, Imperial Treasure Fine Chinese Cuisine, SANTI, Waku Ghin, Pizzeria and Osteria Mozza, Hide Yamamoto, Rasapura Masters, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon and Chinois by Susur Lee

Casino type: Land-Based

Owner: Las Vegas Sands Corp


Marina Bay Sands is an integrated resort frontingMarina Bay in Singapore. Developed by Las Vegas Sands, it is billed as the world’s most expensive standalone casino property at S$8 billion, including cost of the prime land.

With the casino complete, the resort features a 2,561-room hotel, a 1,300,000-square-foot (120,000 m2) convention-exhibition centre, the 800,000-square-foot (74,000 m2), The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands mall, a museum, two large theatres, seven “celebrity chef” restaurants, two floating Crystal Pavilions, an ice skating rink, and the world’s largest atrium casino with 500 tables and 1,600 slot machines.

The complex is topped by a 340m-long SkyPark with a capacity of 3,900 people and a 150m infinity swimming pool, set on top of the world’s largest public cantilevered platform, which overhangs the north tower by 67m.

The 20-hectare resort was designed by Moshe Safdie Architects. The local architect of record was AedasSingapore, and engineering was provided by Arup and Parsons Brinkerhoff (MEP). The main contractor was Ssangyong Engineering and Construction.

Originally set to open in 2009, Las Vegas Sands faced delays caused by escalating costs of material and labour shortages from the onset. The severe global financial crisis also pressured the company to delay its projects elsewhere to complete the integrated resort.

Although Marina Bay Sands has been compared on scale and development costs to MGM’s CityCenter, the latter is a mixed-use development, with condominium properties (comprising three of the seven main structures) being sold off.

The resort was officially opened with a two-day celebration on 23 June 2010 at 3.18 pm, after a partial opening (which included the casino) on 27 April 2010.

The SkyPark opened a day later on 24 June 2010. The theatres were completed in time for the first performance by Riverdance on 30 November 2010.

The indoor skating rink, which uses artificial ice, opened to a performance by Michelle Kwan on 18 December 2010. TheArtScience Museum opened to the public and the debut of a 13-minute light, laser and water spectacle called Wonder Full on 19 February 2011 marked the full completion of the entire Integrated Resort.

The grand opening of Marina Bay Sands was held on 17 February 2011. It also marked the opening of the seven celebrity chef restaurants. The highly-anticipated Broadway musical The Lion King debuted on 3 March 2011.

The last portion of the Marina Bay Sands, the floating pavilions, were finally opened to the public when the two tenants (Louis Vuitton and Pangaea Club) opened on 18 September 2011 and 22 September 2011 respectively.