The Circle while being a pure natural form has been used to create a space where all are forced to focus at its center, which is where the gladiators fought each other to death in the Colosseum in Rome, and which had a capacity to seat 50,000 people, in contrast the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, built around the time of the Ming and Qing Dynasties used the circle to represent the concept of heaven.
Closer home, our Parliament (1927) stands for the wheel of justice – equal to all, while the Royal Albert Hall, in London used the circular shape to gain maximum acoustic effect and has had the world’s leading artists delivering scintillating performances since 1871.
More recent buildings based on circular design include 30 St Mary Axe which opened in London’s primary financial district in 2004 and is more popularly known as the “Gherkin” for its unorthodox layout and appearance. Torre Agbar, Barcelona, which opened in 2005 is a 38-storey tower owned by the multinational group Agbar which has its corporate headquarters in the building.
Precursors include the Rotunda(1965, England) , Capitol Records Building (1956, Los Angeles) and the Marina City (1978,Chicago) which was a “city within a city”, featuring numerous on-site facilities including a theater, gym, swimming pool, ice rink, bowling alley, stores, restaurants, and, of course, a marina- the forerunner to the numerous multi facility complexes that abound in all metros today.
Christened after the Pimento (Allspice) tree which smells like a combination of cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg and grew on the land where the Maratt Pimento now stands, in many ways both are combinations that leave a trail of pleasure on the senses.
The design of Pimento which stands 25 floors high is based on the circle which Greek scholar Proclus described as “the first, simplest and most perfect form” and has become a landmark like its first resident Mr. Rajan proudly exclaims. An investment banker with vast experience abroad and in India, he is very happy and satisfied with his choice. He goes on to say that it has become common to use the “circular building” as a reference while navigation to any of the leisure or entertainment activities available on that stretch.
From the early cavemen to today’s sophisticate shelter has played a pivotal role in determining the quality of life. The home is synonymous with safety, warmth and a sense of belonging. Underpinning this has been the design of the home – in a manner that is simple yet resilient and the circle has been the most often used design for maximum benefit.
As cultures evolved throughout the world, while they were differences, the one constant that remained was the shape. From native American Hogans and Tipis to the Yurts of Central Asia to the roundhouses of Southern Africa and the Igloos of the Artic, the circle has been the preferred building shape, and naturally so, for the circular shape is strong and efficient in several ways ranging from fantastic acoustics, forcing focus on a particular spot, optimum natural air circulation and light, and the most significant perhaps the resilience that the structure attains because of curved walls and lesser surface area that is exposed to the elements of nature.
The roots of Vaastu are in ancient Indian culture and thinking, which like any culture, is a set of beliefs and practices aimed at providing general well-being and safety to society. Vaastu works by recommending design that orients the living or working spaces in a manner that minimizes the malefic effects of the magnetic field and gravitational attraction of the earth, radiation from the sun, cosmic radiations and wind energy.
Mr. Rajan, one of the first residents of Pimento with a successful international career as an investment banker opines that though there is a general perception that Vaastu cannot be applied to circular buildings, there is enough evidence to show that the design of Pimento lends itself to Vaastu and the proof of the pudding lies in the eating for, he has lived there now for more than a couple of years and life has been great.