ICH – The attraction of Thiruvananthapuram city

ICH - The attraction Thiruvananthapuram city

One of the important attractions of Thiruvananthapuram city is the architecture of a restaurant named Indian coffee house (ICH). It is located in the heart of the city, used as the landmark for several public and private commercial activities. Its unusual design becomes one of the most recognizable buildings in Thiruvananthapuram district.

Indian coffee house is a restaurant managed by its worker’s co-operative society. It is like a chain of restaurant in India. Around 400 coffee houses are running all over India. In 1936, Coffee Cess Committee had started the first coffee House in India. The first shop was opened in Bombay. There were around 50 Coffee Houses all over British India. By 1950 they had decided to close all the shops in India. On the leadership of A. K. Gopalan, they decided to handover the Coffee shops to Indian Coffee Workers’ Co-operatives and renamed to Indian Coffee House.

Now The ICW cooperative society has more than 60 branches across the Kerala state. ICH located in the Thiruvananthapuram city is known about by many people for unique architecture and history. As it was the time of British in India, all the prominent building construction had a British touch. One of the notable characteristics of those building is its color. Most of the building was painted in red color.

Thiruvananthapuram city

View from RMS, Thampanoor railway station (Image Courtesy: NATA Trainer at NATA Coaching centre in Thiruvananthapuram)

Laurie Baker, a British-born Indian architect, was the conscience keeper of Indian architecture who designed the Indian coffee house in Thiruvananthapuram city. You can see some interesting architectural features in its design.

Unique in style: The building is constructed as a spiral ramp which makes the building so different from other restaurants in Kerala. The entire building is cylindrical in shape, constructed using red colored burnt bricks and it goes upward terminating in a smaller cylindrical volume on top. The color of the Indian coffee house, Thampanoor is still maintained as natural soil red.

Natural lighting in Architecture: The Jaalis of the coffee shop are designed in such a way that it helps the sunlight to enter into the dining area of the restraint at daytime.

Effective space planning: Another interesting factor of it architecture is the effective utilization of land. Laurie Baker optimized its design in a small area for the large capacity of the restaurant. The tables and seats are customized with proper anthropometry, constructed using with concrete slabs to fit within its partial structure. The servicing area is located at the center of the building which helps its access easily.

Effective Natural Ventilation: You can’t see any window in this architecture; instead, jaalis are provided giving sufficient air circulation in the dining area. The shape of the jaalis has a triangular look on the exterior and its special construction and design withstand its entire circular wall.
Easily accessible location: This restaurant is located in the prime center of Thiruvananthapuram city nearby both Thambanoor bus terminal and railway station.

Apart from the destination to the Trivandrum special food, the Indian coffee house located in the central commercial area of Thiruvananthapuram city is a good choice to visit for those who are working in connection with architecture.

Recommended readings: Victoria Jubilee Town Hall, TrivandrumMuseum Architecture

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