The redesign of the Madurai Club was commissioned by Martin Henry, the manager of the Madurai Mills production company. Prior to the renovation, the Madurai Mills maintained two clubs for the use of its staff; a downtown location catered to European personnel, while a more casual Garden Club in suburban Kochadai provided entertainment and dining spaces for Indian staff. Henry sought to combine the two facilities and create a single club for his senior employees on the larger site of the Garden Club. The proceeds from the sale of the downtown property financed the construction of new pavilions on the Kochadai site. Henry hired architect Geoffrey Bawa to complete the design for the new club after meeting him on the site of another building project. Though Bawa's practice was based in Sri Lanka, he opened an office in Madras, (now Chennai) from which projects in India could be managed. The success of the Madurai Club led Henry to commission Bawa to design additional mill buildings and staff housing for Madurai Mills.
The Madurai Club is located on a seventeen-acre property near the northeastern limits of Madurai, the oldest city of the southern state of Tamil Nadu, India. Buildings on the site are laid out according to internal axes that are oriented to the eastern edge of the property. The north-south longitudinal axis of the site is rotated twenty-five degrees clockwise from the north-south meridian. While its shape is irregular, the property's dimensions range from 190 to 250 meters wide east-west, and from 140 to 310 meters long north-south. The site was densely planted prior to its redevelopment, and the existing population of large