Her­itage Hero­ine

India Today - - LEISURE - —Moeena Halim

In the midst of putting the fi­nal touches to the Cen­tral Hall of Mum­bai’s Town Hall and Asiatic Li­brary—the city’s old­est pub­lic build­ing—ar­chi­tect Abha Narain Lambah has been se­lected to pre­pare the con­ser­va­tion plan and ad­vise the Chandigarh ad­min­is­tra­tion on the restora­tion of Le Cor­bus­ier’s Capi­tol Com­plex, a UNESCO world her­itage site in Chandigarh. Forty-six-year-old Lambah, who has emerged as one of In­dia’s lead­ing restora­tion ar­chi­tects, spent sev­eral years in Chandigarh as a young girl at­tend­ing school at Carmel Con­vent. The city con­tin­ues to have spe­cial mean­ing for her, even though she’s now a Mum­bai res­i­dent. But it’s the project it­self that truly ex­cites her. When In­dia was at the cusp of mod­erni­sa­tion, iconic Swiss-French ar­chi­tect Charles-Édouard Jean­neret, bet­ter known as Le Cor­bus­ier, gave shape to then Prime Min­is­ter Jawa­har­lal Nehru’s dream for the city of Chandigarh. “When you talk of modernism as an in­ter­na­tional move­ment, Le Cor­bus­ier… is one of the ab­so­lute greats,” Lambah says. Since she first set up her prac­tice, 22 years ago, her big­gest chal­lenge has been to get pol­icy mak­ers to pro­tect liv­ing build­ings and not just dead sites. “A bulk of my work in Mum­bai has been to make the city’s art deco and Vic­to­rian build­ings ac­cept­able as her­itage,” says Lambah. Last Oc­to­ber she com­pleted an eight-year project to re­store Mum­bai’s Royal Opera House, which was con­structed in the Baroque style in the first decade of the 20th cen­tury. Later this month, Ma­ha­rash­tra chief min­is­ter Deven­dra Fad­navis will un­veil her restora­tion of the Cen­tral Hall at the Asiatic Li­brary. In its hey­day, the space hosted all the civic func­tions of the city (as well as Bom­bay Univer­sity), and even served as a court­room. When it re­opens—dec­o­rated with chan­de­liers and wooden book­cases with lion heads to match the orig­i­nals—it will again serve as a town hall and pub­lic li­brary.

MA­HA­RASH­TRA CHIEF MIN­IS­TER DEVEN­DRA FAD­NAVIS WILL UN­VEIL LAMBAH’S RESTORA­TION OF THE CEN­TRAL HALL AT THE ASIATIC LI­BRARY

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.