Mumbai: Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya and Byculla railway station get UNESCO awards

In India, Stepwells of Golconda in Hyderabad received the Award of Distinction, while the other Award of Merit went to Domakonda Fort in Telangana.

Staff ReporterUpdated: Sunday, November 27, 2022, 07:32 PM IST
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Mumbai: Restoration of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya Museum, Byculla Station gets UNESCO award | Twitter

The restoration of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya Museum – a part of Victorian Gothic and Art Deco ensembles of Mumbai’s World Heritage – has received the Award of Excellence in this year’s UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation. The Byculla station’s restoration has received the Award of Merit.

 Thirteen projects from six countries – Afghanistan, China, India, Iran, Nepal and Thailand – have been acknowledged for awards by an international jury in this year’s programme. Jury deliberations were carried out this month and members reviewed a total of 50 entries from 11 countries from across the Asia-Pacific region.

In India, Stepwells of Golconda in Hyderabad received the Award of Distinction, while the other Award of Merit went to Domakonda Fort in Telangana.

The jury applauded the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya Museum project for restoring “a major civic institution in the historic city of Mumbai”. The jury noted the project as “impressive in its scale… addressing extensive deterioration through well-informed architectural and engineering solutions, overcoming major challenges during the pandemic”.

The jury remarked, “Executed to the highest level of technical excellence, the project sets a standard for the conservation of World Heritage monuments in India and beyond.”

The Byculla Railway Station, India’s oldest railway station commissioned in 1853, received the Award of Merit. It was recently renovated and has been restored to its almost original, ancient, heritage architectural glory with excellence. The project was inaugurated at the hands of Minister of State Raosaheb Danve Patil and Leader of the Opposition Devendra Fadnavis.

This heritage restoration project was initiated by Shaina NC, the trustee of I Love Mumbai and daughter of ex-Sheriff of Mumbai and I Love Mumbai’s founder, the late Padmashree Nana Chudasama.

The Byculla project was supported by Minal Bajaj and Niraj Bajaj of Bajaj Group Trusts and Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation, and heritage conservation architect Abha Narain Lambah, who consented to do the project pro bono as part of their corporate social responsibility initiative, with support and guidance from the Central Railway.

Shaina NC tweeted, “A great moment of pride for all #Mumbaikars as ILMs #Byculla Railway Station heritage restoration project wins UNESCO Asia Pacific Award of Conservation!!”

The complete list of 2022 awarded projects comprises: 

Award of Excellence
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya Museum, Mumbai, India 

Award of Distinction 
Stepwells of Golconda, Hyderabad, India
Zarch Qanat, Yazd, Iran 
Neilson Hays Library, Bangkok, Thailand 

Award of Merit
Topdara Stupa, Charikar, Afghanistan 
Nantian Buddhist Temple, Fujian, China 
Domakonda Fort, Telangana, India 
Byculla Station, Mumbai, India 
Sadoughi House, Yazd, Iran 
25 Chivas in Kathmandu, Nepal 

Special Recognition for Sustainable Development
West Guizhou Lilong Neighborhood, Shanghai, China 

Award for New Design in Heritage Contexts
M30 Integrated Infrastructure for Power Supply and Waste Collection, Macao SAR, China
Xiaoxihu Block, Nanjing, China

The jury applauded the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya Museum project for restoring "a major civic institution in the historic city of Mumbai".

The jury noted, "Impressive in its scale, the project addressed extensive deterioration through well-informed architectural and engineering solutions, overcoming major challenges during the pandemic.’ The jury further remarked, ‘Executed to the highest level of technical excellence, the project sets a standard for the conservation of World Heritage monuments in India and beyond."

Since 2000, the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation programme has been recognizing the efforts of private individuals and organizations in restoring, conserving, and transforming structures and buildings of heritage value in the region. By acknowledging private efforts to restore and adapt historic properties, the Awards encourage others to undertake conservation projects within their own communities, either independently or through public-private partnerships (PPPs). 

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