6. Benny Kuriakose Architects

  1. Location of the firm: Kerala
  2. Typology of heritage conservation work: conservation and heritage management.
  3. Conservation projects:
  • Public structures
  • Institutional
  • Religious
  • Commercial
  • Residential projects.

Benny Kuriakose started his career in 1984 and received the basic lessons in architecture under the tutelage of Laurie Baker. He received the Charles Wallace India Trust award for an MA in Conservation Studies from the University of York., United Kingdom. He has received his doctorate from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras.

In his quest as a creative person, Benny has traveled diverse paths and translated the philosophy of his mentor Laurie Baker many times over. A retrospective of his work reflects his perseverance to transform those same concepts of cost-effectiveness, conservation, and sustainable architecture, in several sequences, whether it be in his designs for personal or public spaces.

A small glimpse of the work done by the firm on conservation of heritage buildings are:

Paliam Palace:

The Dutch built Paliam Palace in the 17th Century as a gesture of gratitude to the PaliathAchan, for helping them to conquer the Portuguese. This Palace was once used as the residence of the PaliathAchans, who were the prime ministers to the former Maharajas of the State of Kochi.

Paliam Palace - 1
Paliam Palace view Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benny_Kuriakose
Paliam Palace - 2
Paliam Palace interiors Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benny_Kuriakose

The PaliamNalukettu

The structure was the residence of the women and children of the Paliam family. It has a large central courtyard and rooms on all sides. It has a kitchen, and other rooms, one of the main room being the Velliamma’s chamber, where the oldest lady member of the family resided. Women held equal or more important in the family because of the matrilineal tradition. The Naalukettu has also been restored and converted into a museum that depicts the lifestyle back then when the house was inhabited by the ladies of the Paliam Family. The house will be set up as a functioning house of the early 20th centurynalukettu.

Paliamnalakettu - 1
Paliamnalakettu Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benny_Kuriakose
Paliamnalakettu - 2
Paliamnalakettu roofing Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benny_Kuriakose

7. Dakshinachitra Volunteers

  1. Location of the firm: Mysore
  2. Typology of heritage conservation work: conservation and heritage management.
  3. Conservation projects:
  • Public structures
  • Institutional
  • Religious
  • Commercial
  • Residential projects.

DakshinaChitra is an exciting cross-cultural living museum of art, architecture, lifestyles, crafts and performing arts of South India. The main mission is to exhibit, promote and preserve aspects of the broader, more inclusive cultures of the states and to bring these arts to the public in a participative, enjoyable and engaging way. DakshinaChitra Heritage Museum, a project of Madras Craft Foundation an NGO was opened to the public on December 14th, 1996. The Museum is located overlooking the Bay of Bengal, at Muttukadu, twenty-five kilometers south of Central Chennai, on the East Coast Road to Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu, India.

DakshinaChitra has a collection of 18 authentic historical houses with contextual exhibitions in each house. All the houses bought and reconstructed at DakshinaChitra had been given for demolition by their owners. The authentic homes in a regional vernacular style are purchased, taken down, transported and reconstructed by artisans ( Stapathis) of the regions from where the houses came.

A small glimpse of the heritage conservation by the firm are:

The Chikmagalur House:

Mr. K.A.Mohamed Ismail built this house in 1914. The house represents one part of the history of the Chikmagalur district, in Karnataka, as well as the Muslim heritage of Karnataka. Mr.Mohamed’s ancestors immigrated from West Asia (Turkey) to Bijapur several centuries ago and later to Chikmagalur. His neighbors say he may have owned five acres of coffee – appropriate both for the area which is known for its excellent coffee as well as for the tale which attributes the introduction of coffee by an Arab trader into Chikmagalur in the late 1700s.

The Chikmagalur House
The Chikmagalur House classic interiors

Syrian Christian House:

  • The basic features of this house are common to houses of all communities from the earlier Travancore section of Kerala- the woodcraft and joinery, the underground storage and general emphasis on storage of food items, the well in the kitchen, the steeped roof and the long verandah.
  • The distinctive feature of the Syrian Christian house is its layout, with the entrance of the house leading directly into the granary. Prayers in this house were conducted in front of the granary (identified by the small cross above the door).
  • The addition of a masonry structure (c.1910) which includes a living room, a separate dining room, and a kitchen is a sign of the early westernization of the community and the social trend of entertaining guests in a family house.
  • Houses from this period in Travancore were generally single-storied.
  • House expansion occurred by the addition of supplementary buildings: an agricultural house, a cowshed, a separate granary, guest house, and an elaborate gatehouse- Padipura.
Syrian Christian House
Syrian Christian House

8. DRONAH: (Development and Research Organization for Nature, Arts, and Heritage)

  1. Location of the firm: Gurgaon
  2. Typology of heritage conservation work: conservation and heritage management.
  3. Conservation projects:
  • Public structures
  • Institutional
  • Religious
  • Commercial
  • Residential projects.

Dr. Shikha Jain the founder of Dronah has vast experience in the heritage of India that ranges from steering conservation and museum projects for the Government of India to preparing conservation plans funded by international organizations such as the Getty Foundation, World Monuments Fund and advising the Archaeological Survey of India on World Heritage. She was directly responsible for the inscription of Jantar Mantar, Jaipur and 6 Hill Forts of Rajasthan on the World Heritage List besides advising on all World Heritage nominations from India since 2012. She represented India as a Cultural Heritage expert in the UNESCO world heritage Committee as Member Secretary, Advisory Committee on World Heritage to the Ministry of Culture during India’s elected term in Committee from 2011-2015. As an international expert, she has advised the National Heritage Board, Singapore on the World Heritage Site of Singapore Botanic Gardens inscribed in 2015 and is currently involved as an expert with the nomination of Mrauku, Myanmar. She has also been involved as a consultant to UNESCO New Delhi office on specific missions and projects.

A small glimpse of the conservation projects done by the firm are:

Sri Harmandar Saheb Ji (The Golden Temple), Amritsar, India

Historical background of the site:

Shri Harmindar Sahib Ji (The Golden Temple) reflects the timeline of the history of Punjab and the Sikh community. It is a living history of the Sikhs spread all over the globe and the region of Punjab.

Sikhism is a comparatively modern religion with a global vision. It rejects polytheism, superstition, priesthood, and cast based social hierarchy and gender discrimination.

The religious history of this sacred place has been traced back to prehistoric times by an ancient Hindu legend found in one of the Puranas (a class of Sanskrit sacred writings on Hindu mythology and folklore of varying date and origin). The site was rediscovered by the Sikh Gurus. The Sikh tradition associates the place with the itineraries of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. According to Giani Gian Singh, the date of Guru Nanak’s visit to the site was in AD 1502. The idea of establishing a place of pilgrimage was conceived by Guru Amar Das Ji (third Guru of Sikhs).

City palace- Udaipur

  • According to Shikhathe conservation philosophy for The City Palace, Udaipur goes beyond mere technical restoration, to encompass the social and the natural realms. It aims to conserve the built heritage in its entirety, along with its geographical and socio-cultural morphology.
  • The City Palace Museum is a living heritage site, an embodiment of the social and ritual traditions of the Mewar region for centuries.
  • Hence, conservation and museum policies integrate the continuity of socio-cultural values for centuries.
  • The built spaces and specific artifacts are still strongly associated with Mewar rituals and often used in the annual festivals and rituals by The Mewar Family.
City palace, Udaipur Source:http://schedioarchitects.com/

Kondapalli fort- Andhra Pradesh :

Kondapalli Fort, the historic monument in Krishna district, is in the process of a  facelift. Built-in 1360 AD by the Reddy Kings of Kondaveedu, the once prosperous hub which later became a military garrison over centuries, may once again regain its glory, albeit in a different form — as a major tourist attraction.

The walls and pillars are still in a dilapidated condition and debris could be seen at several places. On any given day, about 30-40 tourists visit the fort, which is located in an isolated hilly terrain near Ibrahimpatnam. What is striking is the complete absence of basic amenities like drinking water supply and a three-phase power supply. There are no stalls either in the nearby areas to sell water bottles or any type of food item.

The restoration process of the Kondapalli Fort
View of Kondapalli Fort Source:dailyhunt news 28th September

9. Eugene Pandala

  1. Location of the firm: Kerala
  2. Typology of heritage conservation work: conservation and heritage management.
  3. Conservation projects:
  • Public structures
  • Institutional
  • Religious
  • Commercial
  • Residential projects.

Eugene Pandala is an Indian architect, known for building with values of environmental sustainability. Pandala completed his Bachelor’s in Architecture from the College of Engineering Trivandrum. Pandala studied for a Masters in Urban Design at the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi. He had his Fellowship in Heritage Conservation at the University of York and at Fort Brockhurst English Heritage Training Centre in the U.K. He was the founding head of the second school of Architecture in Kerala (1985) located at Kollam where he spent educating and researching on traditional building technologies of India.

A small glimpse of the work done by the firm on conservation of heritage buildings are:

Pazhassi Tomb

The Pazhassi Tomb is where thousands regularly pay homage to the famous Lion of Kerala, Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja. The tomb was constructed in the place where his body was cremated and is situated on the banks of River Kabani in Mananthavady.

In 1996 March this tomb has been converted to a museum and today the museum is one of the centers in the State which attracts historians, researchers, and students from far and wide.

The museum also contains Pazhassi Raja’s sword and other information about the cultural history of Kerala. The memorial is managed by the Kerala State Archaeology Department.

Pazhassi Raja, a fierce King, is among the few leaders in the Indian sub-continent to ever score a military victory over the British. He is remembered for his love and undying loyalty towards his subjects until the very end. The Pulpally Cave was where Pazhassi took refuge until he was captured by the British.

PazhassiTomb Source: http://eugenepandala.com/
Pazhassi Tomb View Source: http://eugenepandala.com/

Revathy Kala Mandir Film Academy:

  • RevathyKalamandirFilim Academy project was initiated in 2003, First conceived as a film studio.
  • The project was partially done by 2005 and was
  • on hold till 2012, later was converted as a film academy.


Revathy Kala Mandir Film Academy Source: http://eugenepandala.com/
Revathy Kala Mandir Film Academy view Source: http://eugenepandala.com/

10. INTACH ( Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage)

Location of the firm: New Delhi
Typology of heritage conservation work: Documentation & Conservation Plans, conservation work, urban conservation, and heritage bye-laws, museum and building crafts.

Conservation projects:

  • Conservation and development of Audrey house, Jharkhand.
  • Maharaj Duleep Singh memorial, Ludhiana (Punjab).
  • Conservation of Raja Ka Mahal, Jaisalmer

INTACH is a foundation that has been laid strongly on a mission to conserve heritage is based on the belief that living in harmony with heritage enhances the quality of life. It consists of an architectural heritage division which is dedicated to the promotion of conservation of India’s vast cultural heritage. Since its founding, it has taken on the task of supplementing the work of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) by accounting for the thousands of unprotected historic buildings and sites in India, its main thrust being the documentation and conservation of built heritage.

Some examples of heritage conservation done by INTACH are:

Maharaja Duleep Singh Memorial, Bassian Kothi, Ludhiana, Punjab

The existing Kothi served as the lodge of last Maharaja of Punjab ‘Duleep Singh’ on his way to exile in Britain. The structure fell in ruins as it stood un-operational for years. The conservation work of Kothi initiated in 2011 by A.H and concluded in 2015. The structure has been restored as a museum, dedicated to the life of Maharaja with replicas of his belongings. The present Chief Minister of Punjab Shri Prakash Singh Badal inaugurated the museum and highly appreciated the work done by INTACH.

Before restoration           |            After restoration

Conservation and Development of Audrey House (13th Finance Commission project for Conservation and Development of heritage sites in Jharkhand)

Audrey House, originally part of the Raj Bhawan, is more than 150 years old. The conservation work of the building commenced on 30th April 2013 and as part of the work, all insensitive later additions and alterations were removed and the damaged areas were repaired. The damaged brick walls have been stabilized and the sloping roof restored. The open area surrounding the building has also been developed based on a detailed site development plan with lawns and gazebos, amphitheater, parking, guardrooms, and garden furniture. The site was inaugurated by HH President of India Shri Pranab Mukherjee on 9th January 2016 with much funfair by the state government


1 2 3 4 5

An architect by profession, writer by passion, Aishwarya Hoonur has a vivid curiosity to observe common man’s situations, Penning these experiences down is her obsession. A girl next door who believes that, ‘in the world of crude construction, architecture is a musical reverberation.’