Saturday, June 26, 2010

LIC Buildings - Makes you Lift your Head...

When you enter the Anna Salai (then Mount Road)in Chennai, u will never miss the sight of the LIC buildings which has become the popular landmarks in this Metro.

LIC buildings was built on 55 ground of plot, this 177 feet tall building till date remains the popular symbol of modern architecture in Chennai. This 14 storied building has 1,26,000 sq.ft of floor area and stands on 521 pneumatic caisson piles that run to a depth of 35 feet. Built at the cost of 87 lakhs in 1959. The building consumed about 26,000 sq.ft of special glass that was treated with infra-red rays, stove enameled and made water resistant with synthetic enamel paint.

M Ct.M.Chidambaram Chettair conceived this building in 1952 as the head office of United India Life Assurance and New Guardian Life Insurance. H.J.Brown and L.C.Moulin, the London based architects, drew the designs.

The construction commenced in 1953. The London architects withdrew in 1957 and the rest of the construction was overseen by Chennai based architect L.M.Chitale. The completed office building was to become the office of LIC and not that of the United India Life Insurance because the insurance service was nationalised by 1956 and all the assets were made over to LIC.

Like Spencer Plaza, this building was also a victim of Fire Accident in beginning of 1970's latter restructured to the present state. During the Bangladesh war, this building is used by the army as a control room and as a surveillance tower to identify from which building in the city the light glows (its supposed to put off the lights after sunset during war periods. Some sources say that missiles are also installed during that war period on this building)

In Mid-July 2012 some noticed a crack in the 11th floor of the building which the building engineers attributed to the work of the Chennai Metro Rail Project right outside the building. But it was denied by the CMRL and IIT-M experts. Later the defect was corrected jointly by LIC and CMRL.

This important landmark of Chennai that consumed 1000-ton steel and 3000-ton cement was inaugurated on August 23 1959. Standing bravely even after 50 years.

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