Thursday, July 9, 2009

మా అబ్బాయి చందు వర్క్ చేసిన ప్రాజెక్ట్ సంభందించిన క్లిప్పింగ్ (టైమ్స్ ఆఫ్ ఇండియా ) 08 - 06 - 09



Lakshmi Kumaraswami | TNN

Chennai: Over a century ago, Victoria Public Hall in Park Town was the place to be. The red-brick building, designed in the Romanesque style had something for everyone — ballroom dancers waltzed across its large halls, legendary Tamil playwrights Sankaradoss Swamigal and Pammal Sambanda Mudaliar staged their productions while people clamoured for space in its gallery, and leaders such as Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Swami Vivekananda and Subramaniya Bharathi stood on its stage and addressed gatherings.
Designed by Robert Fellowes Chisholm and built by Namberumal Chetty in 1887 on land donated by the Maharaja of Vizianagaram, Victoria Public Hall, also called Town Hall, is a heritage landmark on Poonamallee High Road. Built to honour Queen Victoria on her golden jubilee, the structure still retains its magnificence but time has taken its toll. The plaster is peeling, the floors are decaying and some staircases are beyond repair. But with the Chennai Corporation’s announcement to renovate it last year, this will change.

A technical committee consisting of two senior engineers and a superintending archaeologist from ASI, Chennai circle, chose Kshetra Conservation Architects to oversee the renovation in December 2008. “We aim to protect, maintain and restore the building,” says principal architect GSV Suryanarayana Murthy.
The company has undertaken conservation projects in Hyderabad, Bijapur, Bidar, Gulbarga and Mysore.
Murthy and his team embarked on a detailed survey of the building. “We stayed on the site for 45 days and took measurements inch-by-inch,” he says. The structure was digitally documented via line drawings. “The
building was affected by weathering and the staircases were crumbling. Parts of the first floor were almost inaccessible and covered with bird droppings and moss,” he says. The team also did in-depth research on the history of the building.
The team has finished its detailed preliminary report. It has not made too many changes but has focussed on repairing major damage. “We need to use materials similar to the original to repair the building, so that the repairs will blend with the original structure,” he says.
Changes that have been suggested are to the staircase, first floor, roof and bricks in certain areas. Some of these require made-to-order material. “The original staircases were made of Burmese teak and the missing tiles are from Mangalore,” he says. The plan also provides for electrification, water supply, drainage requirements and toilet facilities.
Although the estimates are ready, the tender is yet to be drawn. Murthy hopes work will start by September. “The place can hold 600 people. Once it is restored, I hope public meetings will be held again,” he says.

ROMANESQUE SPLENDOUR: The inside of Victoria Hall needs extensive work; and (top) line drawings of the architect’s plans (Click on the image to see the enlarged view)