Quepem, Goa, India
Equipment and Infrastructures
The Quepem Municipal Building was eccentrically built in a small square with its main façade facing north toward the access road to the old Dean’s Palace and next to the crossing with the road to the northeast, along which the village attempted to develop in subsequent decades. On the west side it stands adjacent to the treasury building, easily distinguished by its simpler lines. This building was presumably constructed between 1881 and 1896, as in 1880 the public departments were still functioning in the barracks. In 1896 José Frederico D’Assa Castelo Branco mentioned in his annual report a building pertaining to the Council Administration and another to the Treasury – the two departments that will have occupied those buildings until 1961. But it may also have been built to house the court and not the council administration, as in the 1929 Relação dos edifícios pertencentes ao Estado [Report of buildings pertaining to the State] the old court building is listed as being used by the Council Administration and Treasury. There is also the hypothesis that the court functioned in this space, alone or sharing it with the municipal services, which later took it over completely. The building’s main hall still preserves the railing separating the barristers’ area from the public, and an area that will have been for judges. The single-storey building has a symmetrical main façade and is marked by a projecting central body over which is a pediment that gives it a state-related dignity. The footprint is an asymmetrical E on a steeply sloping plot; the back is semi-buried. The building has no circulation spaces except for the entrance which provided distribution through public areas. The other spaces are accessed from inside the main hall on the west side, and from the reception space on the east side of the entrance or otherwise by the exterior veranda. Except for the main hall, it is not known how the building’s remaining spaces were used; it is probable that the rooms on the left of the entrance were used for attendance and administrative services and those on the right by magistrates. The body in the middle of the building accessed directly from the entrance nowadays functions as a single office pertaining to the municipality’s head. But it is not known how these spaces were used by the municipal services when they occupied them. There were probably some changes to the building’s volume over time due to its changing functions, especially the construction of a number of back annexes which are not perceptible. No major changes were made to the main façade. As in the Ponda Municipal Building and the Panaji Post Office this building is different from most public buildings erected in Goan territory. They have only one floor and their main façades are symmetrical with a running veranda and marked by a central body. These similarities may be because they are contemporary constructions, but also because of the more rural characteristics of urban space in Ponda and Quepem – the Post Office building would be an exception, having been fitted onto pre-existing elements.