ABHA NARAIN LAM­BAH

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As a fre­quent vis­i­tor to places such as Ra­jon Ki

Baoli and Mehrauli ru­ins for fam­ily pic­nics, this Mum­bai-based con­ser­va­tion­ist grew up with a nat­u­ral em­pa­thy for his­toric build­ings. The prin­ci­pal ar­chi­tect of Abha Narain Lam­bah As­so­ciates has worked on projects such as restor­ing a 15th century Bud­dhist tem­ple in Ladakh and stone mon­u­ments in Hampi to brick forts in Pun­jab and stresses that “there is no bet­ter green build­ing than one that al­ready ex­ists.” Rather than de­mol­ish­ing the old and repli­cat­ing glass struc­tures that are so typ­i­cal of Dubai, old build­ings can be re-used and re­cy­cled, she adds.

Lam­bah shows us how we all have some­thing to learn from his­tory. “The rea­son our his­toric towns had a unique qual­ity about them is be­cause they re­sponded well to the lo­cal ma­te­rial. There­fore, Fateh­pur Sikri is in red sand­stone and the mon­u­ments of Hampi use gran­ite so ef­fec­tively,” she says. While sug­gest­ing ways to in­crease the life­span of built struc­tures, she adds, “A con­ser­va­tion project can in­volve some­thing as small as restor­ing the stained glass in a her­itage build­ing, to struc­tural retro­fit of his­toric mon­u­ments. Their up­keep and mid-ca­reer train­ing for en­gi­neers in govern­ment de­part­ments though is a must.”

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