LIC Building, Chennai
LIC Building, Chennai
Brush up on your Tamil, find some Chennai accommodation, and get ready to discover the new face of old Madras.Chennai (or Madras, as some locals still affectionately call it) is a great place to base yourself while you're visiting South India. Not only is it close to the Bay of Bengal, with its impressive Pallavan architecture it's also one of the major cultural centres of the region.

Because there's a lot of land surrounding the city, Chennai is still expanding horizontally. Until 1998, the builders of Chennai were only allowed to build up to a height of 40m. That has changed now and the big development companies have descended, causing the skyline to undergo a striking redevelopment.
Chennai may not be New York just yet: the city centre Radisson Blu is one of the tallest buildings in the city, and only stands at 13 storeys. However, the following buildings, some rising to 20 storeys or more, are heralding a change for the city.

The Radisson Blu City Centre

Quite a few hotels in the city can boast skyscraper status, but the Radisson Blu definitely offers some of the best Chennai accommodation. With 12 storeys (and five stars) you get a great view over the city centre.

The Towers of Hiranandani Upscale Eggatur

The Brentwood, Pinewood, Birchwood, Greenwood, Seawood, Beachwood, and Oceanic towers share the title of tallest building in Chennai. Each stands at 104 meters, and boast 28 storeys. Despite being located in Chennai's IT hub, the tallest buildings are not designed for business. They're there to provide upscale living for city residents, with a few commercial opportunities such as clubhouses and shops.
The development is about to welcome two even taller skyscrapers: Bayview with 36 floors, and the record smashing Seagull with 40 floors.

Orchid View 2

This modernist, residential building stands tall at 20 storeys, and is located in the DLF Garden City development. Plans are in place to build more towers in the same area, with three other 20 storey buildings currently under construction (Amber Court 1, Amber Court 2, and Hazel Towers), while another seven towers are still in planning phases: including Orchid View 1, strangely.

Olympia Opaline Towers

All named after gems (Garnet, Amethyst, Aquamarine, Jasper, Amber, Coral, and Citrine), these residential skyscrapers stand at 74 meters tall and boast 20 storeys each. The towers are focussed on providing luxury accommodation for their residents, with a club house featuring a tennis court, swimming pool, and basketball court. The development is the first one to boast more than 85% of green land surrounding the area.

LIC Building

This office building may only stand at 15 storeys, but when it was built in 1959 it was the tallest in India. In 1961 it lost that title to Mumbai's Usha Kiran building. It did manage to hold its title as the tallest building in Chennai for over 35 years, until the mid 90's when the Magunta Oberoi (now the Hyatt Regency) and the Arihant Majestic Towers were built. Because the LIC Building was the first skyscraper in Chennai, it's a much beloved local landmark.

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