- It is widely held that if a city does not grow and change it will stagnate. How does one look at this in a format of built heritage ? also if one had to look at preservation of Living Cultures, how much does it hold true today with change being the only constant!
- a very big question: WHAT IS HERITAGE? not looking for dictionary definitions, but more to do with what it actually means to the people living the heritage.
- Conservation : our attitude towards built heritage, also what do we mean when we say that we want to conserve culture?
- What is it that makes the Bandra Neighborhood? and what is that is a misfit in it?
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Some resource you think I should read, archival data, images..just anything to share with.
---a talk by Rahul Mehrotra at the Coomerswamy Hall, Chatrapati Shivaji Vastu Snghralya, Mumbai
This post is about my impression about this talk by Rahul, and the notes that i jotted while the talk was on.
|Rahul Mehrotra is an Indian architect and urban designer trained at the School of Architecture, Ahmedabad, and the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. He has been in private practice since 1990, and works on architecture, urban design and conservation projects. He has built extensively in India. He is also the director of the Urban Design Research Institute in Mumbai.|
While talking on significance of conservation, and the challenges that India faces today with this subject, he spoke about the works of Sir Bernard Fielden, in whose memory the lecture had been organized. Rahul mainly spoke about this subject in relative to the conservation scenario in India today.
Being the head of the TAJ restoration committee, he showed excerpts from that project to showcase what it is to conserve these monuments of world importance.
but also in the process of previous conservation and revamping how the intended beauty of the TAJ diminished is also what he pointed out. For example: the entrance and surroundings were pruned to make that place over beautiful, which it indeed become, but it lost the surprise that a visitor would receive while leading towards the monument that used to be due to excess of the green.
There are these aspects of conservation also, not only in the physical way or simple redoing the facades and pruning, but also about how just by simply over marketing the wonder one automatically conserves it and makes it larger than life.
Incase of TAJ, it has several brands by that name, and a hundred other things on which it is printed, this has made the monument important just not only to the concerned authority who are trying to get it some global attention, but also to the locals of the country, who mark to be the most no. of visitors outnumbering the foreign nationals as everyone thinks it is.
Eg: in a certain year of the total 3.8 million visitors at TAJ only 0.8 million were the stereotypical foreign tourists and the rest 3 million were Indian.
Looking at how these things apply here in my endeavor, i dont know. But these perspectives do help in generating an outlook towards multi layered thinking, which is very much needed in such initiatives.
I will end this note with one excerpt from the talk that as now did give a direction to what i am doing.
looking at the Dynamic heritage!
"Culture is not static, neither is it quantifiable"
sorry for not being able to upload any pictures of Rahul talking as i could not take any pictures there.
special thanks to David and Ved for the drive and the enriching talk on the way to the commerswamy hall from Mahim.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
REwind time, well maybe?, walking through these streets in Bandra just gives you the right amount of taste of how things were at one point. so the other day (11.03.2010) it was St. Andrews Church-St.Pauls road-Chimbai village road-a little of Turner road-Perry Cross Road-Carter road. whoooo
looking at these streets and walking around just gives a good glimpse of how the space has changed from the 1920's, 30's, 40's, 50's with the Art Deco style in demand, 60's, 70's when the reclamation happened and the mass housing systems were put in place to today wen there is something from all the periods!
After a not so quick walk through the St. Andrew's church, mainly looking for the oldest cross in Bandra, which i got to know has been installed in the St. Andrew's Church. It is relocated on the church compound. Stands 17ft high and made of a single stone. It was orignally in the jesuit seminary of St. Anne built in 1610. The building was destroyed in 1739 and the cross was relocated to the Andrews church. The surface is carved all over with 39 emblems of the passion of Christ. i finally did locate it, and i thought it would be re installed with much more celebration, but to my disappointment it was just there in one corner with not much attention paid to it. As a first encounter the church seemed to be facing to sides of the urban expanse in that area. One that it marked the end of Hill road, one of the busiest roads in Bandra and on the other side the bandstand promenade, opposite to which on the other side is the Chimbai village road. All three with a different character a different urban texture attached to it. While these thoughts wandered in my mind and i moved around the 1574 building that still stands in its complete modesty as shrine not only to the Christians but to a lot of other communities. The feeling of walking through the various grave stones was quite strange along with it being over whelming at the same time. The dates on the stones range from before 1800 untill today, which also proves the series of generations that have spent their lives in this suburb.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Lets look at how we can make our waterfronts into better places to visit and an identity of ourselves.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Bandstand- a beautiful waterfront !?, with a good promenade, a small park for the kids (mind it, 10:00 am to 9:00 pm only!), swanky apartments and bungalows, and couples all over the place- it has it all. Well, it indeed is a pristine place that invites a lot of people to come and spend some time out there!
A Little History:
In its old glory the bandstand culture, was a popular attraction since the 17th century where different bands (army, navy, colleges etc.) play to the open sky for the entertainment of the visitors which at one point were the British. It was only due to this culture that these stretches came to be known as 'Bandstands'.
Around the 1950's there was a huge old wall at the Bandra Bandstand to which the sea waves use to crash, which eventually became a dump yard, untill around 1998 the Bandra Bandstand Residents (who have a trust by the same name BBRT for future ref.) along with the MP's fund decided to clean the dump and construct the Bandstand Promenade. It was the first of it kind promenade made for the citizens in a suburb by the residents initiative which included the Carter Road promenade too.
The promenade with the Mumbai skyline.
The pedestrian foot over path is a boon for the city revelers and the health conscious. During sunsets and there after the promenade is full of joggers, family, kids, the young and of course the couples who devoid of any obvious attention have a peaceful time on the rocks. Towards the end of the promenade we saw that the waterfront being encroached by slum dwellers.
Though i was quite impressed by the efforts of the BBRT to keep the place clean, with signage and notices everywhere notifying the people about the same, but it was disheartening to see the lack of or no dustbins on the paved walk way! the visitors/citizens have no choice but to dump the garbage around as there is no provision for the same. From the looks of it i am sure there were bins installed, but vandalized by someone who needed them more. Maybe some solutions in terms of the material used to make the bins should be sought, which cannot be salvaged or vandalized or flicked!
An interesting discussion that erupted in between Farzin and me was a little concerns for the views people enjoy, thanks to the high rises there. Well no one is against development, but a sensible one is what we should demand. All the sky rocketing buildings have grabbed the sea view aways from the residents who had a ground floor construction right behind them. Not that these buildings were very pleasing to look at either. just a little planning would have kept everyones views intact.
Monday, March 15, 2010
A new mobile connection, in a new city is a huge task. so while i was at it, i thought i might as well start my encounters with the 'queen of suburbs'. march 9, 2010, Tuesday, i start walking around asking for bazaar road.
the first encounter happened while walking down Hill Road a little and then move right to the busy Bazaar Road. It was a revelation if i must say to move around a busy street like this and still have space for all. The gully will not be wider than 10 feet, with busy shops on either sides, constant mumbling and vehicles finding their way through the already saturated bunch of pedestrians.
everyone has to talk, bargain and while i walked past it was great not be involved in any of the market activities but just hanging around to get a sense of the place. well and as i got to know later about some facts it was even more enchanting!
some facts that took me by surprise:
- Bazaar rd is only 2 km long but houses a Jain temple, Ram mandir, hanuman temple, Khoj mosque, Christian chapel and a Sikh Gurudwara.
- while walking through the road it was very interesting to observe the transition from a Christian culture suddenly to a Muslim culture, en route to Lucky Biryani!
The noise, commotion traffic, people, shops, bargaining..all goods, Bazaar road has it all to fulfill the stereotypical notion of an Indian bazaar.