As a result of the specific requirements and multiple influences, the exterior design and layout of Chidambara Vilas is an astute mix of the traditional, the practical and the opulent.
Golden age of Chettinad architecture
Chidambara Vilas was built at the prime of the Chettiar era, when the most grandest Chettinad homes were built. As a result it represents one of the finest examples of Chettinad homes in terms of the scope of architecture, interiors and detailing.
Unique exterior features
The exterior design that stands apart with several distinguishing features, primary among which is the minarets and towers that adorn the heritage home. The minarets provide a beautiful view of the town and adjoining paddy fields. The Thirumayam fort is also visible from the towers.
Beautiful carvings featuring gods and mythical scenes from the Hindu epics decorate the exteriors of the house, particularly the entrances and the doors.
Amalgam of colors and influences
The exterior design stands out by the use of liberal amount of colors, which stands out against the white background. The high windows are stylistic elements from the European influence.The exteriors are a mix of art deco, south Indian and colonial styles. The mix of colors and styles is difficult to achieve and is unique to Chettinad architecture.
Layout and key design elements
The use of imported materials was a key element of the architecture. While the inner parts of the house were designed to afford intimacy for the communal interactions, the outside and the semipublic guest areas were designed to impress through opulence. Legend has it that the Chettiars built their homes on raised platforms, and added additional floors to protect themselves in the eventuality of a flood, which is said to be the original reason for their migration from their original settlement in Poompattinam during the 13th century.
Scientific approach to design
Situated at the gateway region to Chettinad, Chidambara Vilas also imbibed all the authentic qualities of exterior design prevalent in Chettinad architecture, including open space within the structure. Ventilation and flow of air is given priority in the design of the openings. The inner walls of the house did not have direct exposure to sunlight, which helped in managing the heat.