Bengaluru Central University (BCU) has constituted a six-member committee comprising conservation architects to study how heritage buildings on its campus can be restored. The goal of the committee — the first of its kind to be set up by a varsity in Bengaluru — is to protect old buildings and ensure that restoration work is undertaken in a scientific manner.
The constitution of the committee comes in the backdrop of restoration work undertaken on the 101-year-old University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering (UVCE), which drew criticism from conservation architects and other organisations. The Public Works Department — entrusted with the responsibility of giving a facelift to UVCE — had used cement, which was incompatible with and detrimental to the lime-mortar building.
S Japhet, Vice Chancellor of BCU, said that the committee will study the existing structures and also research into how old the buildings are. “We have looked through several records. We have very little information on the history and the age of the buildings. It will help us chalk out how the buildings can be developed,” he said.
While some structures are more than a century old, other buildings have been added recently. However, there is no database.
“After the committee presents the report, we will study which portions need to be retained and then chalk out a master plan for the campus,” he said. He added that they want to develop a plan to ensure that the campus remains sustainable for the next 50 years.
Architect Krishnarao Jaisim said that the committee had studied more than a dozen buildings on the campus that were more than a century old. “All these buildings require attention, but we want to reuse the space without destroying the character of the buildings. A little care can bring the buildings back to full life,” he said.
An official in the university said that all the old buildings on campus are dilapidated, and suffer leakages and seepages during the monsoon. “The buildings are in dire need of repairs and renovation. But for years nobody has undertaken any restoration work. There is no clarity on how renovation of these heritage buildings could be taken up,” the official said.
The committee is expected to submit its report in one month, based on which BCU will develop a list of Dos and Don’ts before they empanel architects to take up restoration work.