Rapid urban development has faced us with the urgent & daunting task of preserving the Deccan's rich cultural heritage so that it can be enjoyed by the present and future generations. In such a scenario, Historic Preservation and Adaptive Reuse are important tools for local communities to provide needed facilities, and yet maintain their unique identities, cultural interests, and heritage.
Such projects are usually very challenging and time–involving, but — in addition to being the right approach: sustainability–wise — they can be extremely beneficial to the society at large as they help to create a strong sense of local‐pride and place‐belonging.
Urban Art’s approach to such projects is holistic and collaborative. We work closely with clients and stakeholders to understand their brief, enabling us to facilitate adaptive reuse, conservation and heritage services addressing the specific needs of our clients, historical context & heritage fabric, and the site.
We understand the complexity and sensitivity of heritage sites and provide a range of services for heritage conservation advice and heritage planning:
We assist clients in master-planning, feasibility studies and strategic planning. It includes the preparation of:
- Heritage Asset Management Plans,
- Heritage Precinct (Regional) Development Plans,
- Heritage Infrastructure Development Plans,
- Conditions Assessment & Recommendations Reports,
- Detailed Project Reports, &
- Evaluation of Existing Master Plans for Heritage-Based Planning
“Cultural Heritage Significance” can have tangible/intangible values: aesthetic, archaeological, architectural, cultural, historical, scientific, social, spiritual, symbolic, linguistic or technological value. We assist clients in properly accessing heritage assets, making easier the process of eventual compliance to UNESCO's Outstanding Universal Values, later on. Such assessments ensure that future decisions & actions do not jeopardise the value of heritage or its significance — protecting them from damage, deterioration, conflict, and subversive vested interests.
The very features that make historic buildings special are the same features that can often pose problems for their use in modern times. Planning and design techniques that allow our historic buildings to fit today’s needs — without threatening or destroying their distinguishing features — is an urgent need in today's rapidly changing urban environments.
ADAPTIVE REUSE OF HERITAGE STRUCTURES
This primary Sustainability Approach allows contemporary use of heritage buildings, and in-turn, extends their lifespan. When appropriate, we use our technical knowledge of materials & traditional building techniques in combination with contemporary technology to facilitate architectural conservation and adaptive reuse. This may include analysis of retrofit compatibility, addressing code-compliance, accessibility, maintenance, installation of modern amenities & building-services, and issues of presentation.
We provide diagnostic and conditions assessment services that incorporate design, structural stability analysis, paint, plaster & mortar sample analysis, documentation, tendering and construction services for projects of varying scale and complexity. Our past experience includes projects for institutional, government as well as for private clients.
Client— Department of Youth Advancement, Culture and Tourism
This Development Master Plan for a river-side block redevelopment in a pilgrim town of rural Telangana region responds to the needs of a large commuter (pilgrim) population, while still maintaining the “village character” of the local community. Field research helped us identify certain key areas for development in this region:
- Natural Features
- Highlighting of Architectural & Cultural Features
- Built Features & Amenities
- Information Distribution Systems
- Systems for Efficient Tourist Services
Concrete recommendations were provided on the following architectural sub-projects:
- Gateway Development (Entrance Zone)
- Temple Precinct Development Plans (focused mainly on site–scaping & amenities) for:
- Nava Brahma Group of Temples
- Papanasi Temples Complex
- Relocated Temple of Sangameshwara
- Tungabhadra River-Front Development Plan
- Gen. Design Recommendations
- Amenities Planning Proposal
- Architectural Concept Design
- Archaeological and Architectural “Fact-File” Development for Alampur
- Alampur Region Tour Circuit Development Plan
Additionally, a highway-plaza consisting of small shops, restaurants, parking facilities, a petrol-pump, residential accommodations for pilgrims, and a landscaped plaza near them all were also proposed along with preliminary architectural designs. The roof-lines and brick façades were designed to maintain a rural aesthetic. Traditional–styled street lamps were originally proposed along brick–lined pathways to enhance the Village Street ambiance.
We are currently working on a concept of “Inclusive Conservation of Built-Environments for achieving Wholistic Socio-Economic Regional Development” for the two Telugu-speaking states — Telangana & Andhra Pradesh. We propose to demonstrate how Integrated Tourism Corridors (of internationally comparable levels) can be achieved by developing architectural and policy interventions — a middle-goal of which is: “Rebirthing and Revitalising Abandoned Archaeological Sites”.
- This is a Self-initiated, On-going Project as a Non–Governmental Expert
REBIRTHING AND REVITALISING ABANDONED ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES
- We are independently developing non-invasive, yet rigid architectural systems for transforming largely ignored archaeological sites that have fallen into disuse/misuse — and which, for various reasons presently lack tourist interest — into spaces of active social use, thereby giving them a new life and re-including them into the public realm.
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Private Client— Ritz Hotel Company • Hyd
In the 1980’s Urban Arts was commissioned to retrofit the modern needs of a hotel into the interiors of the Hill Fort Palace. Located in the center of the city in a 6–acre piece of land, this majestic palace was originally built in 1915 by Sir Nizamat Jung, who served as the Chief Judge during the Nizam’s rule. It was sold to the state government, and subsequently leased to the Ritz Hotel Company till the late 1990s, after which — sadly — it has again fallen into squalor.
- Adaptive Reuse: Interior Design
- Landscape design of the sprawling gardens
- Conditions Assessment Report
Client— South Central Railway
Built in 1916 by the Nizam of Hyderabad, Asaf Jah VII, this busy railway station has aspects of Gothic style architecture. In the year 2003, it was named a heritage site for its grandeur and beauty. Urban Arts was given the task of developing a detailed plan for renovating the critically damaged slabs, walls and central domes of this over hundred years old landmark, as well as for providing guidance & supervision towards its general refurbishment.
Working in tandem with the Dept of Railways, as well as the Dept of Archeology, we enabled the successful restoration of this beautiful structure using original lime-mortar construction & jack-arch roofing systems. May parts which were on the verge of permanent damage & collapse were given a new lease of life, while making the station safe for many more years to come.
- Conditions Assessment & Recommendations Report
- Tendering & Bids–selection
- Guidance on Restoration/ Preservation Works
Built around 1936, the Durbar Hall of the Official residence of the Governor of Telangana, is among the most important notified heritage Buildings of Hyderabad. It has a relatively simple façade consisting of a single large Islamic arch approached by a modest flight of stairs, deep overhanging Chajjas and Jalies covering other openings.
- Conditions Assessment Report
- Interior Design (Conservation)
- Furniture (Renewed, & Antique Styling)
- Ceiling treatments, Wall-panelings & Floorings
— Part of Purani Haveli Premises, Hyderabad
- Conditions Assessment & Conservation Recommendations Report
— Heritage-III listed Mansion, Hyderabad • Private Client
- Detailed Project Report
- Guidance for Heritage Listing (Grade-3) & Architectural Conservation
- Sadly, this majestic structure was demolished recently.
- Architectural Conservation
- Selected among final Four Proposals — Invited Competition