Reliving the past through an act of today

“The defaced ruins of architecture, like the wrinkles of frailty on a once beautiful woman, only makes one regret that one did not only see them when they were enchanting”

Heritage belongs to its people. It goes beyond the narrow borders of nationality and instils pride. It relates to one’s surroundings and brings out a sense of identity. If we invalidate the city of yesterday, the city of the future will cease to exist without its identity and foundation.

Heritage and architecture of the past forms a bridge of inspiration for the architecture of the present. The process of preserving or altering their skin with subtlety requires a sensitivity and restraint which is not a common trait seen in most architects/construction professionals.

It is essential to educate the newer generation as they are the future. If guided well, they can pave the way for a holistic approach to heritage structures. Such initiatives could fuel the movement for a radical renaissance -esque revival of the previously used construction techniques.

The Hands on Heritage workshop was aimed to draw attention to the current scenario of Bangalore’s heritage. It reiterated the importance of recognising different styles of colonial architecture, mainly gothic and classical, based on the different kinds of ornamentation, geometry and order. It was made clear that sensitivity to architectural styles is extremely important in beginning the process of preserving heritage.

To apply what was taught, we worked in groups of five to measure and explore different parts of a colonial bungalow. Once divided into groups it became a lot easier to be productive as well as learning to work together and visualising other perspectives. Trying to interact with peers opens new windows of thought leading to endless possibilities.

“Bungalow 7” is a British colonial building tenanted by one of their administrators.  Built approximately a hundred years ago, the building reflects the by-gone era of a cosmopolitan Bangalore.

The hectic week of the workshop made me cherish Bangalore as a city of colonial heritage. When things are accessible on a platter, it so easy to get desensitized to it unless or until someone reintroduces you to it. Through these new eyes, I saw the place I grew up in, through a new lens with an added sense of nostalgia. I have now developed a passion for preserving heritage and to see any building defaced would break my heart. I have learnt to assert and form my own opinions about heritage. Heritage is intricately woven with cultural identity and tearing down any part of it would consequently negate cultural identity. It would only leave us with questions that we would take lifetimes answering.

 

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