Friday, June 29, 2007

Restoration robs Mayo Hall of heritage value

Restoration robs Mayo Hall of heritage value
Ashwini Y S | TNN

Bangalore: Restoration is one thing, reconstruction another. While efforts are on to restore heritage buildings to their original form without disturbing the authenticity, here’s an example of the exact opposite.
The historic Mayo Hall court building has fallen prey to modernisation in the name of restoration.
This two-storey building, built in the late 1930s at a cost of Rs 2.35 lakh, was declared a heritage building by the Karnataka Urban Art Commission. It houses three court halls, a bar association and toilets on the ground floor. The first floor has eight court halls, a ladies bar association and the deputy registrar’s chamber.
All of them are in deplorable condition — with peeling walls, leaking roofs and creaking wooden stairs — and the building has been neglected for a long time.
There was a ray of hope in February 2006, when the PWD took up restoration. With Rs 1 crore at its disposal, the PWD began work, but only on the exterior. Today, you can see workers adorning it with whitewash, before they paint the walls red and white. Conservation architects say most old buildings were built with lime mortar and it must be used for restoration work too. But, the PWD has ripped off the exterior with its original carvings, just to rebuild it using cement.
“The external surface was a mess. A rough plastering was done, after which a wire mesh was laid on it and topped off with two coats of plastering. This is how we’ve done restoration work on old buildings,’’ said a PWD engineer in charge of the work here.
The building with an area of 40,064 sqft has old Italian tile flooring. “The flooring is also very bad. But we haven’t done anything yet; we are debating whether to remove it and replace it with something else. It’s difficult to restore the flooring with the same tiles,’’ added the engineer.
Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, Bangalore convener, H R Prathibha, says the PWD restoration work does not conform to restoration taken up by conservation architects. She added that INTACH had suggested that the PWD not install a toilet at the back of the building as it spoils the look of the building.


Post a Comment

<< Home