A prominent nineteenth century club house that was once frequented by the British elite and a late nineteenth housing colony for Parsis in Mumbai have won the 2013 Unesco Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards for distinction and merit.
The Royal Bombay Yacht Club Residential Chambers and the Lal Chimney Compound from Mumbai have been selected among the other 10 entries that include structures in Afghanistan, China, Australia and Japan. The two city structures are the only two from India to make to the list.
The Unesco Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation programme recognises the efforts of private individuals and organisations that have successfully restored and conserved structures and buildings of heritage value in the region.
The winners were selected based on how the projects reflected a clear understanding and application of various criteria, such as the articulation of the spirit of place, technical achievement, appropriate use or adaption, and the project’s contribution to the surrounding environment and the local community’s cultural and historical continuity.
While the restoration of the Royal Bombay Yacht Club Residential Chambers has renewed a distinguished Neo-Gothic architectural monument and one of city’s coastal landmarks says the Unesco citation, the conservation of buildings which form the Lal Chimney Compound has safeguarded a distinctive late 19th century typology that had been in a ruinous condition and slated for demolition, it states.
“This is a Parsi housing colony. It was in a dilapidated condition. We generated funds on our own and got this restored,” says Muncherji Cama, secretary of the Garib Zarthostiona Rehethan Fund Trust that generated the funds.
“It is a huge honour. We have tried to retain their original look and feel,” Vikas Dilawari, conservation architect of the project, said.