Ahmedabad Textile Mill-Owner’s Association Building

– Vatsal Shah

Ahmedabad Textile Mill-Owner’s Association Building or ATMA House as it is often called is one of my favourite buildings in Ahmedabad. A shining example of late Modernist Movement in Architecture, it makes Ahmedabad proud as being one of the four buildings designed by the Great Master Le-Corbusier here.

It is the Mill-Owner’s Association’s head-quarters, and was completed in 1954. Ahmedabad was very active in Textile trade at that time.

The building has various elements that form the manifesto of Le-Corbusier’s “Modern Architecture”. The building has a nearly clear structural grid, which creates a ‘free plan’; the internal walls taking various shapes.

What I liked most is the way the building opens up on the Sabarmati river-side. A quiet futuristic thought by the architect that someday the river would be brimming with water and sunlight  shimmering on its ripples. Much of the light in the building is from this open East side, offering a fantastic view of the river as well.

The second element I liked most is the front staircase which is like a sculptural piece jutting out of the Cube the building forms. The Red door and the framed doorway on the top at Second Floor Level is the most dramatic. You open this door to a huge free space and an open wall on the other end.

The second element I liked most is the front staircase which is like a sculptural piece jutting out of the Cube the building forms. The Red door and the framed doorway on the top at Second Floor Level is the most dramatic. You open this door to a huge free space and an open wall on the other end.

Many fascinating elements and details have been worked out in this building which makes it amazing.

*Right from the entry point, a ramp which sticks out like a long tongue from the building. It’s railing which seems to be anthropometrically shaped welcoming the hand of the visitor.

*A wicket window and seat at the top of the ramp, for may be the security guard looks dainty.

*RCC (reinforced cement concrete) technology was new at that time in India. The use of wooden formwork is one more brilliant idea as you can even today, after 65 plus years see the grains of that wood imbibed in the concrete.

*The terrace is like a grand finale to the architectural drama of the building. The shape  scoops up forming the amphitheatre on the terrace. Though not much used, it could form an interesting place for gatherings and debates in the late evening or night. The lift comes right till the terrace in this building.

All in all ATMA building is a classic example of Le-Corbusier’s memorable work, inspiring Architects even today!!!

(photo courtesy: the author & architexturez.net)

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