Project Name: Restoration of The Lal Bagh Palace
Authors: Abha Narain Lambah Associates
In India, the conflicted and complicated layers of history and the societal ambitions of the present day often seem to be in friction. However, one omnipresent feature of its cultural past is the enormous wealth of built and environmental heritage locked within the fabrics of our cities, towns and villages. Houses, havelis, institutional and religious buildings, marketplaces, transport infrastructure and numerous other historic archetypes originally developed through state and private patronage can be found across our nation. While these examples may not assume national significance, they are associated closely with local identities and collective memory of a place.
In the post-liberalisation climate of economic upturn, numerous heritage properties within private ownership underwent renovation and restoration in an attempt to seek renewed function, meaning and association with our contemporary lives. However, few examples of restoration executed through private patronage align to benchmarks and standards represented by this project.
Through rigourous and scientific process, this project represents a new and heightened standard of restoration work in our context. This painstaking process not only re-assigns significance to this heritage structure, it also draws from professional expertise to augment technical knowledge, employs a range of skills and skilled craftspeople, and is generative of an ecosystem that may enable such works in the future. In projects that deal with built heritage, it becomes imperative for the conservation specialist to find a balance between intended representation of the past and the ambition of the building in the future.
While the project has a finite life, the embedded knowledge systems may continue to develop and enrich future endeavours. This project exhibits a high degree of professional and technical expertise, draws from diverse skills and construction cultures, proposes an approach of restraint and sensitive restoration, all the while ascribing a revitalised meaning and significance to the building and therefore, The Restoration of Lal Bagh palace by Abha Narain Lambah Associates is a Citation Project for The Merit List.
HH Study Room
Images & Drawings: courtesy Abha Narain Lambah Associates