India, Chennai 

Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly Complex


International competition 2007 – 1st prize
Design Volkwin Marg and Hubert Nienhoff with Kristian Uthe-Spencker
Partner Hubert Nienhoff
Project direction Kristian Uthe-Spencker, Margret Böthig, Florian Illenberger
Competition staff Katharina Broese, Kerstin Otte, Helge Lezius, Julian Jain
Design staff Katharina Broese, Sarah Gerg, Helge Lezius, Adel Motamedi, Kerstin Otte, Tobias Mäscher, Claudia Stelzmann, Dirk Müller
Implementation staff Sarah Gerg, Katharina Broese, Claudia Stelzmann
Client Public Works Department Buildings (Maintenance) Circle
Local partner Archivista
GFA government complex, 4 buildings approx. 180,000 m²
GFA Assembly Building 86,000 m²



gmp Architekten

On 13th March, the Secretariat of the new Legislative Assembly was opened in Chennai. It is the first section of the new Tamil Nadu government complex to be built.

The solemn opening ceremony of the building, which is two-thirds complete, took place in the presence of Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi (chairwoman of the governing UPA coalition), Kalaignar M. Karunanidhi (Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu) and numerous guests from the political and social spheres.

The Assembly building is part of a new government complex being built in Chennai (formerly Madras), which will comprise four buildings when complete – the Assembly, an administrative building, a guesthouse and a convention hall.

The design for the Assembly building evolved from the primal and most natural geometry for an assembly building – the circle.

Inspired by the ancient Hindu concept of chakras, a figure of five circles of varying sizes is developed, inscribed in 30 segments of an imaginary circle.
This segment as a large-scale geometrical shape constitutes the superordinate structure of the building.

In traditional Tamil Nadu architecture, the courtyard plays a primary role as a key living space, central access area and also water-collecting basin. The design adopts this motif and allocates it differentiated roles in the four courtyards introduced into the building volumes.

Whereas the largest circle forms a publicly accessible forum, cylinders with special functions are introduced into the three subsequent circles, such as the Assembly itself, a library, and conference rooms. Natural lighting reaches even the lowest levels via the encircling air space between the curved galleries and the cylinders.

Radially arranged footbridges link the cylinders with the office areas on every level. The fifth and smallest circle in the north-east is occupied by a huge, centuries-old tree standing on the longitudinal axis of the building.

The whole government complex is expected to be complete in 2014.