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Chennaiís Mr Architect...

Chennai headquartered CRN is a well-known name in the world of architectural designs and construction management. This 72 year old firm serves clients globally.

Chennaiís Mr Architect...

In the early 1940s when North Madras reeled under a severe flood causing extensive damage to properties, the compound wall of one site stood firm. When S Ananatharamakrishnan, founder of the Amalgamations group,  learnt it was built by C R Narayana Rao. He entrusted the responsibility of designing his next factory to Rao. 72 years on CRN enjoys a rock star like reputation.

Born into a middle-class family Rao graduated in 1935 as a civil engineer  from the College of Engineering, Guindy. His first job was with the PWD. Later he joined Jackson & Barker, where he built his reputation as an engineer with keen eyes for architectural detailing. 

 

Over 400 professionals

Starting with 20 employees, today his company has a staff of over 400 qualified professionals.  In addition to the Chennai office, it has branches in Bengaluru and Hyderabad. His family says the secret of his phenomenal success was his ‘Social and People skill.’ In a field dominated by aggressive marketing, Rao was for his self-effacing humility. His demanded the highest technical competence from his staff.  He would never suffer a poorly drafted drawing or poor execution of projects. 

The first three decades of the firm coincided with the industrialisation of India. With its expertise in industrial architecture, the company won orders from prestigious companies like Dunlop, Amalgamations, Tube Investments, Ashok Leyland, Ennore Foundries, Rane.... 

 

Overseas foray...

Around this time the company decided to go global. Rao looked towards the Middle East for inspiration. Soon the company executed several commercial, industrial and housing projects in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Ras Al Khamiah. This first ever overseas operation by an Indian architecture firm was closed after ten years to cope with exploding opportunities in India. After the demise of Narayana Rao in 1982, his two qualified sons, Dr C N Srinivasan and C N Raghavendran, ensured that the legacy of their father was preserved and also took the company to greater heights.

They began acquiring business from the government, both local and Central. They set up sports facilities designing six sports stadiums of international standards. The cricket stadium they built in Guyana,  the Nehru Stadium in Chennai and the football stadium in Cochin stand testimony to this expertise.  

 

IT parks and factories...

The 1990s witnessed the opening of the economy and explosion of information technology. CRN has the credit to design the TIDEL Park in Chennai. The firm is a champion of green buildings and has built  massive complexes for leading IT companies.

When the prospect of automobile companies entering India became imminent, CRN made a bold pitch for business from Ford.  Following the successful implementation of the Ford factory in Chennai, CRN was invited by other leading multinational automobile firms Hyundai, BMW, Toyota, General Motors and Renault. 

The 1990s saw the entry of the third generation of the family in the business. The six members belonging to the third generation of the family are working in harmony under the benevolent leadership of the septuagenarian sons of the founder. The fourth generation is already knocking on the doors. 

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