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2009 Awards Entries for Culture Heritage Conservation



Ballard Bunder Gatehouse, Mumbai

The Bombay Port Trust resolved between 1914 and 1918 to develop the Ballard Estate, a European-style business district to occupy the Bombay waterfront in an area mostly reclaimed by landfill. Part of the project involved the construction of a suitably monumental gateway to the associated landing jetty once located on Ballard Road. The gatehouse was built in the Neo-classical style, with boldly rusticated yellow stone masonry, and named after Colonel J.A. Ballard, founder of the Port Trust, and bunder, or bandar, meaning a place where sacks are stored. Included in the Naval Dockyards after 1950 the gate has been off-limits to the public ever since. Used as an office space, the structure was neglected and had accumulated inappropriate modern fixtures. Pointing and plasterwork had deteriorated and cracks had appeared in the masonry. It has now been stabilized and converted by the Dockyard Authority into a museum and exhibition space.

Barathi Park, Pondicherry

The renovation of Barathi Park in Pondicherry has been undertaken as a means of promoting tourism to the former French colony on the Tamil coast and improving the local quality of life. The park is located near the waterfront on the site of the former Fort Louis, and served as a parade ground after the destruction of the fort. Today the focus of the park is the Aayi Mandapam (Aayi’s Pavilion), a monument to a local heroine. The renovation project aimed to enclose the park to limit traffic congestion and encourage pedestrian activity through the construction of well-lit walkways.

Bungalow on the Beach, Tranquebar

The conservation project is one of several ongoing campaigns in the former Danish-British colony of Tranquebar, in Tamil Nadu, aimed at restoring heritage elements of the town. Hard-hit by the tsunami of 2005, such efforts have been an important engine of redevelopment in the area. The former British Collector’s bungalow was built in the nineteenth century. The two-storey building had a grand upper veranda which was dismantled by the subsequent owners in order to sell the Burmese teak components. It has been leased to the Neemrana Hotels Group and converted into a heritage hotel called Bungalow on the Beach, with its former profile sensitively restored.

Calizz Museum Complex, Goa

The Calizz (“Heart”, in Konkani) museum complex in the village of Condolim is dedicated to the preservation of traditional Goan domestic culture. The museum is centered on the former mansion of Dona Bertha, of a prominent Goan Catholic family, with themed exhibitions in each of the bedrooms. Having experienced extensive damage from monsoon weather over the years, particularly to the timber roof and plastered laterite façade, the mansion was restored in the traditional manner, employing rammed earth construction, lime mortar plastering, and paints derived from natural pigments.

City Improvement Board Building, Hyderabad

The City Improvement Board Building was formerly the Garden Pavilion in the Basheerbagh Palace. The building was built in the 1890s in mixed Mughal and Rajasthani styles, with a lofty central hall surrounded by a colonnaded veranda and a porte-cochère. It became the City Improvement Board Office and later the Principal’s Office of the Gandhi Medical College until the relocation of the College to a new campus in 2003. Before restoration it was in very poor condition, with the rear entrance on the point of collapse and the plaster stripped from the columns and molding. The plasterwork has been carefully replaced and the building is now a heritage gallery and exhibition space.

Five Houses in Goldsmith Street, Tranquebar

The restoration of five colonial-era houses in Tranquebar was a joint Danish-Indian effort to revitalize the tourism industry of the Tamil Nadu coast in the wake of the devastating tsunami of 2005. The five houses on Goldsmith Street are simple, one-storey structures of wood and brick construction, most formerly occupied by goldsmith families. They were ruined through a combination of neglect and tsunami damage until their redevelopment to house the local offices of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage and the Solid Waste Management Project, part of an overall plan to make Tranquebar an integrated heritage destination.

Fort Rewa Restoration, Rewa, Madhya Pradesh

Fort Rewa was the seventeenth-century citadel of the Baghel Dynasty of Rewa, a former princely state in northeast India. The fort served as the administrative and spiritual centre of the state, with palatial living quarters and temples. With the end of princely rule, the palace ceased to serve its original function and fell into a state of neglect over a period of forty years. The roof was damaged, the mud brick of the walls deteriorated, and the former parade ground became a derelict space. The conservators aimed to restore the fort as a tourist attraction, while simultaneously constructing a public school within its precincts. The roof has been carefully repaired and the Allahabad brickwork and lime mortar replaced where necessary. The royal audience halls have been reopened as a museum.

HSBC Building, Mumbai

The Empire-style HSBC building in Mumbai originally housed the British Bank of the Middle East. It has one of the finest Neo-classical facades in the city and is a Grade II listed structure. Although the ground floor was occupied by the building owner, the tenants on the floors did not take adequate care of the rest of the structure. Unsightly modern windows had been added, along with a wholly inappropriate third floor. The conservation process cleaned and restored the building’s façade to its original appearance. The tile and plasterwork of the interior were similarly treated, while making allowances for the needs of a commercial bank in the addition of modern toilets, lighting and cubicles.

Juna Rajbada of Indore, Madhya Pradesh

The Palace (“Rajbada”) of the Holkar Maharajas of Indore was built in 1766 by Malhar Rao Holkar, the founder of the dynasty. The quadrangular palace housed the administrative and residential quarters of the royal family of Indore until Indian Independence. The structure was devastated by fire in 1984, and remained largely a ruin until the current conservation effort sponsored by HH Maharani Usha Devi Holkar in consultation with the Archaeological Department. The effort has focused on restoring the gutted rear courtyard of the palace and the Malhari Martand temple – dedicated to an incarnation of Shiva – that abutted it. A cultural centre has been established in the restored building.

Mangaldas Ni Haveli - Café and Craft Centre, Ahmedabad

The haveli, or mansion, in the old centre of Ahmedabad was probably built by Raj Ram Mohan Roy of Gujarat in the late nineteenth century. Roy was the founder of Brahmoism, the socio-religious reform movement. The category A heritage structure features intricate woodcarving and tilework. The haveli has deteriorated over time, as evident in the distortion of beams and other supporting elements. The restoration process replaced beams and wooden doors and windows, and cleaned the elaborate fresco and carved decoration. Sections of floor that had been covered in concrete were repaved with reclaimed Italian encaustic tiles. The haveli has been converted into a café and crafts centre by its current owners.

Muse (Upadastra House), Mumbai

Upadastra House, in the Fort Heritage Precinct of Mumbai, was originally known as Bennett House. It was probably built in the early nineteenth century as the residence of the founder of the Times of India newspaper. It later housed different tenants, suffering considerable damage due to age and neglect without the protection of heritage status. It was acquired in 2006 by an entrepreneur intent on converting it into a retail space. The building was stripped to the original layer, removing all incongruous later additions and restored to its nineteenth-century appearance. Internally, original elements such as the timber roof were retained, while certain decorative changes were made in the building’s conversion to a commercial venue.

Old Harbour Hotel, Fort Cochin, Kerala

The Old Harbour Hotel in the Old Fort of Cochin is a 300-year-old structure reflecting the history of the state of Kerala in its mixed Portuguese, Dutch, and English colonial architecture. During its recent history the building had accumulated a number of inappropriate structural additions, and these were removed during the restoration to return it to its original colonial configuration. Its laterite stone construction had also proved detrimental to the interior wood and plaster by absorbing large amounts of groundwater. It has preserved its original use as a lodge for seafarers in its conservation and conversion into a boutique hotel.

YMCA Students Branch, Mumbai

The YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association) Students Branch was built in 1910 as a hostel for boys. It is built in the Neo-classical style and occupies a busy street-corner location in Mumbai. During the 1960s the ground floor spaces were let out for commercial use in order to generate revenue for the upkeep of the building. Unfortunately the lessees undertook considerable insensitive alterations of the space, which, combined with the wear and tear to the rest of the building, necessitated a major overhaul of the structure. The YMCA has completely restored the building which continues to function in its original capacity.

YWCA Lady Willingdon Hostel, Mumbai 

The Lady Willingdon Hostel is one of the oldest YWCA (Young Women’s Christian Association) buildings in India. Although begun in 1900, it is named for the wife of Lord Willingdon, Governor of Bombay from 1913 to 1918. The hostel is in the Neo-classical style with some Renaissance Revival touches. The building has been in continuous use as a hostel, but has suffered insensitive interventions such as the use of cement, rather than lime plaster, on the façade. The restoration aimed to restore the original appearance of the hostel in a sensitive manner.