Senate House, a very popular monument in Chennai city, stands on the southern end of Chepauk campus. The Chepauk campus, including the Senate House are parts of the Madras University, one of the oldest such institutions in India. The monument lies on the Marina Beach and as such close to the sea, Bay of Bengal.
The construction of the famous monument, Senate House, started in the year 1869. The monument, built in the characteristic Indo-Sarcenic Style, took some four years for its completion. The building represents one of the feats of Robert Fellows Chisolm, who is considered as one of the greatest architects of his time. The structure was constructed on an artillery site where salvos were fired to greet the dignitaries. The monument was primarily built for important meetings and conferences. After its occupation by the University, the building used to serve as the conference hall for important academic meetings. The place also used to house the administration section of Madras University. The building has seen renovations in the recent months (ending 2005 to 2006) and is scheduled to be inaugurated in the month of February.
Senate House is considered as an architectural masterpiece. The building has been constructed according to Indo-Sarcenic Style and supplemented with Byzantine and European architecture. The building consists of a main hall provided on the ground floor. This central hall is 130 feet long, 58 feet broad and 54 feet in height. On either side of the corridors are six massive stone pillars. The four towers rises steeply at the corners of the building. The stone pillars have been constructed and laid in a way to form arches at the top. The building is surmounted by a painted dome. The main entrance to the building is on the northern side. The southern part is provided with separate rooms and an entrance. The convocation or the main hall has access from the north. The eastern side and the western side also have entrances that lead to the building interiors.
The renovated Senate House is scheduled to be inaugurated by the President of India A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Azad towards the end of February 2006. A twenty four lacs project has been undertaken by Chitrakala Parishat Art to restore the the canvas painting panels.