Chennai Metro’s Buckingham Canal Pavilion: A Student-Crafted Journey Through Time.

Architectural Brilliance: Anna University's School of Architecture and Planning Students Unveil Buckingham Canal Pavilion at Alandur Metro Station.
Architectural Brilliance: Anna University's School of Architecture and Planning Students Unveil Buckingham Canal Pavilion at Alandur Metro Station.
An experiential walkthrough pavilion erected at Chennai’s Alandur Metro Station was a pleasant surprise to commuters. As they walked  in they were transported to the story  of Chennai’s  Buckingham Canal, now a not so pleasant landmark of the city.
The canal was built in the 1870s to transport firewood to make bricks to build the city after a famine. A line up of bricks over which commuters walk through convey this story of the canal. 
The second zone with a build up wood reflects the prosperous phase. The canal had  helped the communities thrive for decades. There were even wood banks  along the water body.
The narrowing  last phase captures the present state  of decline with encroachments, silt, plastics  and flyover pillars choking the canal.
The public seem to love it. Kalyani, a visitor told “Being in Chennai I’ve seen Buckingham Canal. But this walkthrough experience and the the canal’s story told were so different”. Dhanya, a commuter said “I love their transition from the past part of the canal to the present”. “We need to be responsible. Dumping wastes in the canal is unacceptable and has to be stopped” said Savita. Shaziya another passenger said “Such a nice thing has happened at such a happening place”. 
In a bid to turn the installation sustainable, the students had used only waste materials collected from construction sites. They had designed in such a way that even after dismantling the structure, these items can be used.
The benches along the banks allowed visitors to recreate the good old Buckingham Canal magic that offered a good lung space then.
Conceived and erected by third year students of the school of architecture and planning of the Anna University, the temporary installation is part of the annual NASA design competition they are participating.
The students had slogged for  weeks to give shape to their idea. Explaining the concept, Akshay K, one of the students said “We just want this to be a pavilion project. We wanted to tell a story.  Buckingham Canal story is untold and we thought this would start a conversation to save the canal”.
It’s a sustainable model. The walk through pavilion is completely made of waste materials from construction sites. They can be reused even after dismantling. Gurkiran Pandalapalli, another member of the team said “Reuse and recycle are old concepts. What we have done differently is, even when the construction is dismantled, each and every material can be used in the original form. That’s something we have achieved”. Sai Varshini C N added “Earlier we didn’t have much of practical knowledge. We were able to explore a lot through this “.
Certainly a memorable  architectural journey that took many back in time. The students hope just like the commuters their pavilion would also win hearts at the competition.

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