Roger Beeston, RBA Director and deputy chair of AusHeritage, recently attended a workshop at Jadavpur University for the restoration of the 230-year-old Writers’ Buildings, the permanent seat of the West Bengal government in India.

RBA have previously undertaken various projects in India. Roger is being consulted on the conservation works and has suggested exploring the removal of multiple layers of paint and cement to restore the natural red brickwork from the Victorian era (1837 to 1901).

“What struck me on seeing it the first time was the red paint. There are four key phases in the building’s evolution. The most recent phase, the Victorian phase was meant to be red brick,” Roger said.

Thomas Lyon designed the neo-classical building for Richard Barwell, a council member of the day. The building was privately owned until 1854 when it was bought by the East India Company to house junior employees or ‘writers.’

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, had the idea for the restoration as part of re-establishing the grandeur of colonial buildings to the eastern metropolis. Madhumita Roy, head of the Jadavpur University’s Department of Architecture, is leading the project, with expert input from the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH).

Energy- efficient conservation technologies are likely to be employed to incorporate passive architectural interventions for a sustainable and functional green building.

14 October 2014

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