ABHA NARAIN LAMBAH
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.”