Heritage Restoration is a method of maintaining heritage structures. Restoration means ‘bringing back to a former position or condition’ as per Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary (1975). Restoration is executed by guarding the elements that define the character of the building, lengthening the life of the structures. This also aids in maintaining the value of the existing built forms, which otherwise are at risk because of the pollution, changing weather and temperature, and the wear and tear of the structure, which are causing serious damage. Protecting the heritage is accomplished not only by fixing the exteriors but by enhancing the quality of the interior spaces and strengthening the structural members with time. This heritage building speaks for the period when it was built and has achieved importance over time, creating an image for the city.
India, along with its historical past, has many heritage structures all around the nation. To ensure that these heritage structures stay intact for future generations to see and learn their history, there are many conservation architects who, with their knowledge, research, and understanding help restore these buildings.
1. Abha Narain Lambah
Working for more than two decades, Abha Lambah has made a mark in the field of conservation architecture. Her firm has been doing numerous heritage conservation and restoration projects like the Prince of Wales Museum, Asiatic Library, Mani Bhawan Gandhi Sangrahalaya, Jaivilas Palace, Bombay High Court, Rashtrapati Bhavan, etc. Her firm has won UNESCO Asia Pacific Awards for nine conservation projects along with the award for ‘Excellence for the 15th Century Maitreya Buddha Temple at Basgo, Ladakh’.
Her principle point in conservation architecture is to acknowledge the thought of the original architect and understand the essence of the building. Deciphering the layers to know the nature of the building and its surrounding environment. This helps in learning the original architect’s perspective and motive behind planning the spaces or use of the materials.
2. Vikas Dilawari
Vikas Dilwari is a practising conservation architect, working for nearly three decades in this field. His firm has won UNESCO Asia Pacific Awards for seventeen projects. He was also involved with INTACH Mumbai to nominate Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly known as Victoria Terminus) as a World Heritage Site in 2004. Some of his prominent projects include Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Archiepiscopal Palace, Esplanade House, JN Petit Library, Flora Fountain, Bomanjee Hormanjee Wadia Clock Tower, etc.
Conservation, as per him, brings balance to the growth of the city. It also encourages a sense of pride in people, as the heritage structures that continue to live for longer due to restoration bring recognition to the city and attain grandeur to the structure. Restoration also helps in conserving resources, which otherwise would have been used if the buildings were pulled down.
3. Aishwarya Tipnis
Aishwarya Tipnis has been working as a conservation architect since she completed her Master’s Degree in Urban Heritage Conservation in 2006. Aishwarya has received the highest civilian honour in the cultural sector the medal of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettre (Knight of the Arts and Letters), by the Government of France in 2018 for her preservation of work for French Heritage in West Bengal. Her firm has won a UNESCO Aisa Pacific Award for Mahidpur Fort and an honourable mention for Doon School, Dehradun.
She believes that Heritage Restoration is about creating an identity and taking it into the future. Restoration can help change the lives of the people that are affected by this process. She considers herself a negotiator between the past and the future. She thinks that there is no set pattern in restoration architecture, the response always depends on the site that you are working on.
4. Pankaj Modi
A conservation architect from Bangalore, Pankaj Modi, has been practising for more than two decades in this field. He is currently associated with INTACH Bangalore and is the South Zone Representative for ICOMOS India. He co-founded Adhaar in 2000, which was the centre for conservation and worked with the Archaeological Survey of India for a very long period. His work on Brig Annexe Hill at Bangalore was awarded the Critics Choice Award for ‘Strive Towards Architectural Conservation ’. He, along with two other partners, has a non-institutional firm called ‘Saythu’. Some of their projects include Lala Lajpat Rai Residence, Railway Pier, Oriental Research Institute, Varadaraja Temple, Strawberry Hill, etc.
He considers that the idea of continuity of heritage is about adding a layer of the present to the existing structure as it evolves. There are stories that every structure speaks of, and if not taken appropriate action, the future will lose out on the past. As humans, we connect with cities and their identities through spaces and buildings.
5. Benny Kuriakose
Benny Kuriakose is a conservation architect with a Master’s Degree in Conservation Studies. He started his career in 1984. He has a deep understanding of vernacular architecture which is visible through his work. He has worked as a consultant for United Nation Development Program (UNDP), UNESCO, different state governments, and non-government bodies.
He believes that the restoration of the heritage building has an intangible effect on the people. It is not only about the aesthetics of the building, the history of these buildings helps connect us to the past and create a sense of belonging in the present. Conservation helps in preserving the heritage and also creates better sustainable architecture.
- (Renovation, Restoration, Preservation, Conservation — Conservation & Design International, 2022)
- (Rappoport, 2015)
- (ABHA NARAIN LAMBAH ASSOCIATES | ABOUT US, 2022)
- (Nast, 2022)
- (VDA- Home, 2022)
- (Vikas Dilawari: Heritage Conservation & Public Spaces, 2022)
- (ATA – About Us, 2022)
- (Aishwarya Tipnis: being an urban conservation architect in India, 2018)
- (Saythu… Team, 2022)
- (Reinterpreting the past for the future. | Pankaj Modi | TEDxSAC, 2022)
- (Heritage Restoration & Conservation Architects of India, 2020)