|David Hall, reminiscent of the Dutch glory of yesteryears, is situated on one side of the Parade Ground in Fort Kochi. The history and architectural grandeur of the halls woos many visitors. It also houses an art gallery and acts as a cultural centre to support young exponents of visual and performing art forms.
David Hall was built around 1695 by the Dutch East India Company. It was the residence of the renowned Dutch governor, Hendrick Adrian Van Rheede tot Drakestein. However, the building gets its name from a later occupant, a Jewish businessman called David Koder.
Governor Drakestein initiated a pioneering study on the flora of Kerala that resulted in the 12-volume classic, the Hortus Malabaricus.
The characteristic features of this Dutch building have not been altered drastically either by Time or by its various occupants. The recent alterations made in the David Hall are in adherence with the Dutch typology.
The typical Dutch architecture is visible on all elements including the wooden roof which is made of flat face rafters. A droop in the wood is seen as a result of these horizontal beams and so the wood is supported by trusses across them. As a whole, the roof gives a look of an upturned hill and this `architectural wonder is highlighted with the modern lighting in the Hall.
The three-foot wide walls and the four-column windows are the other characteristics of the building and they add to its elegance. A well-manicured garden and the old trees in the courtyard too help the David Hall retain its grace intact.