Architectural Design

RGRA has involved itself in various architectural works over the years. Some of them are exhibited here.

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Architectural Conservation

RGRA is a leader in the field of conservation in India and has a comprehensive portfolio of work in this field exhibited here.

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Landscape Architecture

Rgra is looking to open up to works in Landscape design , Planning , Master planing and other landscape works. Some of the works are exhibited here.

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Arakkal Kettu

  • Arakkal Kettu - after conservation

Arakkal Kettu, for Dept of Archaeology & Museum, Kerala. Consultancy & Implementation.

UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation

Conservation Architect and Team : Ravindra Gundu Rao and Associates

Major structural and architectural restoration works for the over 200 year old part of Arakkal Palace in Kannur, including dismantling the sloping roof and reconstructing it in its original form using custom made country tiles over timber structure by recycling maximum possible original members, partial anastylosis (dismantling the badly damaged sections of the masonry and reconstruction reusing maximum original laterite blocks) of some sections in the first floor, structural repairs to the masonry (crack stitching, inserting timber lintels etc), retrofitting masonry blocks, adding a new timber ceiling where necessary, restoration of all doors and windows including with custom made original matches to the metal fittings and fixtures, restoration of red oxide flooring and timber flooring, redoing all building services to house the “Royal Arakkal Palace Museum”, restoration and recreating period furniture of the palace, and finishing works.
Work was done between 2004-6 and is now a much visited Museum in Kannur.

Ahilya Wada

Ahiya Wada and Fort – for Prince Shivajirao Richard Holkar and Maharani Usha Devi Holkar Malhotra, Khasgi Alampuri Trust.

Total Conservation works done in the mid 18th century Rajwada and parts of the much earlier Fort walls and bastions is easily the best ever of our organization and we take immense delight in our long and sustained effort and the continued association. There were several small, medium and major works accomplished in reviving the great and historical capital of the renowned Maharani Ahilya Devi Maa sahib from 1997-2004 and even till recently some services were rendered by us. The nearly abandoned Rajwada, a typical example of modified Mahratta architecture to suit its adopted location in Madhya Pradesh in Nimaad region, set famously on the banks of the great Narmada river had an assortment of issues due to lack of use, repairs to just about every part of the structures. The possible 15th century or earlier fort walls facing the river were restored using daring and innovative techniques including inserting new brackets at 50’ feet height in the projecting turrets and crack stitching emulating the observed techniques of past centuries, consolidating the core of the fort walls in locations, all of which are performing admirably well since past 2 decades.

The Wada’s of the rustic Maratha palace were restored over 3-4 years in a painstaking manner including expert carpentry repairs to the roof structure, repairs to the early 19th century imported German GI sheets, re-tiling with custom made country tiles, repairs/reconstruction of wattle and daub walls in mud mortar (using local ‘Pandri maathi”, local self binding silty clay soil), lime mortar render and plaster where required, extensive restoration / replacement to the essential timber structure of the wada, providing new custom made clay tile flooring, remodeling the floor spaces to incorporate modern wash rooms and other amenities to be able to re-use the Wada as a sought after Heritage resort in due course.

Presently www.ahilyafort.com is one of the heritage tourism destination in the world known for cuisine, royal experience, religiosity culture, womens cooperative Sari and fabric making, music, dance apart of unique and authentic architectural extravaganza. Needless to re-state our delight in being a part fothe great turn about.

We have rendered our Turn key services of Consultancy and Implementation from 1997-2004 and continue to serve whenever required.

Garrison Cemetry

Restoration of Garrison Cemetry (1804-1864) Client : Louis Dominique de Meuron and Family, Dept of Archaeology (Govt of Karnataka).

The British Garrison Cemetery (1801-1864) houses 309 tombs of soldiers who died during or after the last war of Mysore (1799) and has an interesting array of wonderfully carved tombs from obelisk’s, casks, even Hindu styled Brindavana’s to the normal Christian one’s apart from being an integral part of history of the then splendid Island capital of Mysore kingdom before the same was shifted to present Mysore. Strangely the river side precinct frequented by relatives of the interred soldiers and other visitors despite its relative inaccessibility was not even a listed and protected site by the state when late Monsieur Louis Dominique de Meuron and his wife Madam Monique de Meuron, descendants of the de Meuron regiment that fought the famous battle for the British as ‘mercenaries’ took it up on themselves the onus of having the tombs restored from its state of near picturesque ruinesqueness. The Swiss couple and later their family, Monsieur Jean Leonard de Meuron, Sophie de Meuron and Heloise Spadone de Meuron continued their generous patronage to complete the restoration work and continue to have it maintained on regular basis.

It is now a beautiful place to visit in the island of Srirangapatna with a wonderful ambiance because of their contribution and thought to the cemeteries and the surroundings.

RGRA documented all the tombs and restored each of them to its best original state using traditional materials of lime. Each tomb had its own restoration needs as it was an individual monument and it was treated as such. Some were stabilized in as is where is condition while some had to be extensively restored. The whole process was over seen by the in house Conservation architect Ms.Kunkuma Devi and supervised by Gautam Ramesh while the best of RGRA trained masons put in their sincere work which was generously applauded by the visiting Swiss Ambassador Monsieur Arthur Mattli and the de Meuron family at large.

This was easily one of the most cherished endeavors of RGRA

Thakkar Nu Ghara

Thakkar Nu Ghara, Client : Mr.Nilesh Thakkar and Family (Construction Drawings Phase)

A house for our client Mr. Nilesh Thakkar is one of the new architectural Design projects of RGRA. This house serves as a retreat for Mr. Nilesh from the life of Bombay, but it will initially serve as two houses which will be placed for rent for people wanting to live behind Chamundi Hill in Mysore.
Being a heritage conservation contractor himself he wanted to use architectural design combined with historical materials to make a modern house with a heritage touch.

What we designed was a good mix between a Traditional Design of a house mixed with contemporary features. Each floor will house one family. The house has a large courtyard in the center for the residents of the ground floor house which is composed of different materials including an exposed brick wall, a rough cast concrete wall, an exposed metal staircase that leads up to the top floor which has a pot tiled sloping roof. Most of the walls would be brick and lime mortar, the essential materials in most Heritage structures.

The house will be built by Mr. Nilesh Thakkar himself.

Santhome Cathedral

Santhom Cathedral, Parish of Mylapore. Chief Parish Priest: Most Revered Father Lawrence Raj.

Consultancy and Implementation

Restoration of the 120 year old landmark cathedral in Chennai, including major roof, ceiling & stain glass, interior plaster restoration, all involving traditional materials and techniques done in 2002-4.

Mount Chapel

Mount Chapel – Our Lady on the Mount, Old Goa. Fundacao Oriente, Malas, Panaji.

The 15th century Portuguese monument was restored by us under consultancy services of late Ms. Sandhya Sawanth of Bombay Collaborative, including major structural repairs to the dilapidated and abandoned church where the laterite vault, Tiled sloping roof (newly done), masonry, ceiling tie rods, render and plastering, foundation strengthening, door and windows were done from 1999-2001.

RGR was the leader of the then ACC Conservation Cell (1992-2001) that implemented the project.
The monument is now very popular in Goa and due its amazing location and maintenance is a part of several movies and advertisement shoots, apart from tourists and pilgrims.

Madras Club

Madras Club (Moubrey’s Cupola). Chennai. Chairman of Restoration Committee: Mr.S. Nagaraj Chettiyar.

Easily one of the most challenging assignments we have handled so far as the principal consultants. The 1770’s structure the former residence of the then Mayor of Madras, Mr. George Moubrey had a partially collapsed madras terrace besides a host of structural and architectural issues and was under possible demolition plan when we were able to instill confidence in restoring and re-using the magnificent building in a very picturesque settings on Adayar river. The work included exact reconstruction of the collapsed madras Terrace roof in the collapsed portion, restoration of the vase roof structure elsewhere, major restoration works for the basement that was the cause of most of the dampness issues in the interior, re-plastering especially recreating art work in lime mortar, reconstruction of the timber flooring and opening up of the closed basement, major timber restoration works in doors, windows, timber floors, and restoration of later added RCC roof.

Needless to state that all the works were done as per the best and international standards of heritage conservation using traditional materials and techniques.
We also designed and constructed a new modern and state of the art kitchen block matching / respecting the architectural language of the adjacent main heritage building.
Jeernodhar Conservators Pvt Ltd, Mumbai were the able and highly resourceful contractors with their highly trained set of masons, carpenters, brilliant supervisors Gautam Ramesh, and other skilled man power.

The restored building is proudly used by the elite club members in a rigorous manner. The work was from 2012-2016 and we continue to serve them as and when required.

Basilica of Bom Jesus

Basilica of Bom Jesus, World Heritage Monument, Archaeological Survey of India and the Parish and Diocese of Vella Goa. Client Coordinator for ASI : Mr.K.K.Mohmmed.

The 15th Century Portuguese monument was served in 1993 for its 10th exposition of the Saint Xavier’s holy body by the way of humble but very scientific stone cleaning using a specially devised ‘nebulous misting ‘technique and application of consolident’s and preservatives that have served excellently over the decades, besides designing and implementing tasteful signage’s and graphics for the site and the monument.

The Archaeological Survey of India deemed it a pioneering work in its citation given to us.

Contractor’s Bungalow

Contractor’s Bungalor, Baroda Client : Ms.Jeruben Manekshaw Contractor

The 120-year-old heritage bungalow of Baroda on race course road was possibly designed by Robert Chisolm, an eminent architect who was a leader in Arts and Crafts movement in India. He is accredited with some of the land mark buildings of that period as in Premadasa Hall of Maharaja Sayyajirao University in Baroda which has the second largest dome in the sub-continent after Gol Gumbaz, Senate house in Chennai, Napier Sea Museum Trivandrum and more. Farhamjee Cowasjee Contractor took over from the British Constructor of Premadasa Hall, due to the latter’s ailment and successfully completed the same using the famous FC bricks popular even now in western Gujarat, that his company manufactured.
Contractors Bungalow popularly known as Parsee Bungalow is owned and used by Ms.Jeruben Manekshaw Contractor, and her brother Mr. Pesi M Contractor needed restoration especially to solve the leakage issues of its Jack arch roof and tiled roof, some structural cracks, etc. apart from need for up gradation of its amenities. We were able to address these issues in 2002-4 and the building has performed remarkably well over the years.
This is one of the best examples of post restoration care and ideal maintenance we have come across and all credit to the venerable client for the exemplary attention to detail in this regard. They have sought our assistance whenever there was the slightest attention required for their cherished heritage asset.

We also recall with gratitude the devoted role played by her late uncle Mr. Wadi Saab during the restoration process.
This is another of our most memorable experiences in our career.

Bhate House

Bhate House (Swamy Vivekananda Memorial) – Belgaum. Sri Ramakrishna Mission. Chief coordinator: Revered Swamy Tadyuktanandaji of the SRK Mission, Fort, Belgaum.

Bhate was a well-known Barrister in pre independence period actively involved in the freedom struggle and his bungalow was the location for meetings of stalwarts such as Gopalakrishna Gokhale and others in western India for their political meetings.
Later in late 19th century, Swamy Vivekananda visited and stayed in this house for a few days during his wanderings before going to Chicago. The beautiful mansion in the winding inner city of Belgaum from 1800’s had a serious fire damaged roof in the portion under the Mission (while the other half was under use as a residence of a family). Eventually the Mission took over the entire vase site with several heritage buildings of great antiquity and we being the principal consultants, prepared a master plan for the site and provided all the technical inputs for the major restoration works of reconstructing the timber roof with recycled MP tiles, reorganizing the inner spaces as one building housing the Vivekananda Memorial

The experience Museum, designed by Conservation Architect Mr. Sarathchandra of GNHeritage Matters, Bangalore as a part of our team, various restoration works (one of the highlights being the use of mud mortar plaster over laterite masonry typical of the region and recycling maximum old timber besides use of the traditional materials and techniques of the 18th century in restoration).
The adjoining (much earlier from possible 18th century) Rawtale house was also restored similarly to be used as the resident Swami Ji’s residence and museum office.
The outhouse of the main buildings has been re-used as the AV room. Modern facilities and amenities have been designed and incorporated and three additional metal (reversible)staircases, a book shop (in the earlier garage) have been added and the frontage landscaped in a minimalist, in-ostentatious manner befitting the principles of the learned client.
Additionally, the shrine later resided by Swamy Vivekananda in the then forest dept. official Mr. Hariprasad Mitra and the said small but considered holy building was restored under our consultancy inputs. Roof, walls and other elements were restored and the building continues to be used as a shrine to the great Swamy in the amazingly beautiful Fort precinct of Belgaum.

Jeernodhar Conservators Pvt Ltd, Mumbai were the able and highly resourceful contractors with their highly trained set of masons, carpenters, brilliant supervisors and other skilled man power.
We are privileged to be associated with the revered institution.

CTO Mumbai

Central Telegraph Office, Fort Mumbai

The century old statuesque building which is a land mark heritage building used for its designed purpose near Flora Fountain was restored by us in 2005-6 (tiled roof and water proofing of the same, re-pointing using lime mortar and stone cleaning of malad stone façade using our specialized ‘mist cleaning’ technique that was developed by us in early 1993, etc.) for the MTNL the owners of the building. The Consultants for the project were M/s Structkel Designers & Consultants Pvt Ltd, Mumbai and we continue enjoy a great rapport with their MD Mr. Chetan Raikar.

Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus Conservation Masterplan

Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus Masterplan (erstwhile Victoria terminus) Mumbai

One of the most admired late Victorian building (1880’s) in the nation and the headquarters of Central Railways earlier of Great Indian Peninsular Railways continues to be used for its original purpose, a rarity anywhere in the country, where most contemporary railway buildings have become museums, while being an iconic piece of architecture was an enigma that the owners did not exactly know how to handle. RGR then working as the head of the ACC Conservation Cell had the opportunity of convincing the authorities to go for a long term Master Plan as against the ad hoc solutions to the problems cropping up.

Mr.Mukesh, the then CE, Mr.Sharma the then DRM and Mr.Mudaliar the then AEN readily agreed to order such a (possibly the county’s first ever) Conservation Master Plan whose scope was to conduct an in depth research into every aspect of the great living monument, starting from preparation of architectural drawing (taken up under us by Bombay Collaborative lead by late Ms. Sandhya Sawant and her team of young architects), condition mapping, assessment material research, causative studies and elaborate and systematic restoration plan, methodology, phasing & prioritization, estimation and some sort of management plan. It took about 2-3 years from 1995-97 to accomplish the task. Central Railway authorities commended the work in its testimonial enclosed in appropriate place in the web site for validation.

Many young conservation Architects, Architects, Engineers and material and laboratory scientists were involved in the project which had a telling impact on the conservation scenario in the city at that time giving it a kick start that has sustained ever since. It may be a pioneering effort in many sense of the term. Conservation Architect Ms.Vaishali Latkar, Ms.Sharmila Naik, Architect, Mr.Shiv Kumar Vishwakarma, Engineer, Mr.Nilesh Thakkar, Engineer, Dr.Jayashri Chittale, Geologist and scientist are some of the experts who pulled in their mite to produce the document based on whose merit the building was later listed as a World Heritage Monument.

The Master Plan was further upgraded by other Conservation Architects from another NGO from Mumbai later to fill in the areas of its limitations etc.

*This is not a solo RGRA project but has been mentioned for the leading role apart from initiation of the idea by RGR, who then headed ACC Conservation Cell.

The Lawrence School Cemetery

The Lawrence School Cemetery, Client: Lawrence School and Old Lawrencians Association. July 2017

Project Report for Lawrence School Cemetery proposed restoration and its measures.

In early May 2017 RGRA was called first by Ms.Phillida Purvis of BACSA and later by by Mr.Zarir Batliwalla, a prominent alumni of the illustrious Lawrence school, to inspect the British Cemetery under the protection of Lawrence school, Lovedale, Ootacmund and provide insight into the condition of the same with the view of conserving the heritage precinct for future generations, etc.
Ravindra Gundu Rao, Conservation Architect from RGRA visited the site in June 2017 and met the then Principal, Bursar Col Sudhakara along with Mr.Batliwalla and inspected the cemetery and its contents and discussed the issues with the said lady and gentlemen.
RGRA team consisting of a senior Conservation Architect and 3 architects visited the site on the 3rd and 4th of July 2017 and conducted a detailed survey and documentation of the same, using the total station survey done earlier by the school as well as the wonderful historical record kept by the local parish.

The broad issues were that of the protection of the cemetery due to collapse of portion of the compound, minor and major damages to the tombs due to vagaries of weathering, and falling tree branches etc. The team expressed their deep association with the history and emotional bondage with the said cemetery and the need to conserve the same for posterity in a befitting manner to pay their respects to the interred elders of the institution a century or so ago.

Architectural Thesis

Architectural Thesis – Aditya Athreya Rao (Abandoned Landscapes – An architecture against Tabula Rasa)

Excellence in Thesis Awards , National Institute of Advanced Studies in Architecture
Indian Institute of Architects - Top Ten Thesis Awardee's Karnataka
IE school of Architecture Scholarship Award for Thesis

The idea for this thesis was a question that needed to be answered. A question that came to place when I noticed one of the largest unused pieces of land in the capitol of Karnataka. An Aggregate Quarry, a place of ruin and despot yet one of the most unbound beautiful landscapes that have emerged out of human hands. It is an irony and an oxymoron that something so beautiful can come out of greed and the destruction of Indian natural landscape.
My Thesis topic wishes to explore those landscapes, which come out of urban despot and destruction of much of nature. And in particular stone aggregate open cast quarries. And I seek through my design to understand the nature, the appearance of the quarries historically and the usage and transformation of these lands. But most importantly through the help of architectural design try to reestablish the links of these quarries to their surrounding nature may it be natural or man-made.
And as architects I think what we can do to such lands is to make them part of the whole while trying to reestablish lost links to its nature (i.e. the site).Thus the thesis was to take one of the sites in Bangalore where there is an existing community surrounding the quarry and to improvise functions which would cater to the latter.

These are the questions I tried answering-
 To understand how attitudes towards abandoned lands influenced good Civic Design / City Design.
 What is the potential that such lands hold?
 How can these residual spaces become “Places”?
 Can they “connect” with the immediate and larger surroundings, and link fragmented habitats, if we re-imagine them as connectors?
 In such cases, what is the range of land use and architectural possibilities that can be fitted into existing scenarios by identifying short term and long term goals?
 To study the various structural ways of implementing projects in conditions which are largely unknown and to create an example for further such ideas to come forth.
 To create a set of similar principles, this can create a database for all such lands and their implementation’s.

ASI structures

Restoration of Archeological Survey of India Building, Bangalore Circle (2006-9)

During the said period some of our best and most cherished works in the public sector were completed on a virtual turnkey basis (providing technical inputs of project formulation, detailing and implementation) for ASI, and these were a resultant of great confidence in our abilities reposed by the wonderful Dr.S.V.P Halkatti, the then Superintending Archaeologist, who is a renowned scholar and a great visionary leader.

We had an astonishing run under his leadership and were involved in the restoration works for some of the greatest monuments of the nation, namely, most if not all the Basadi’s of both the hills of the 10th century and above Sravanabelagola, Daria Daulat Baug and Gumbez monuments in Srirangapatna, Someshwara, Kolaramma, Ramalingeshwara temples in Kolar and Aavani, Jamma Masjid, Bibi ka Maqbara, Mallik rehan Durga in Sira, most of the temples in Halebid and Belur. All the roofs were rendered water tight using the age old lime brick bat cobba technique while many walls were re-plastered using lime mortar, re-pointing done in stone masonry using lime mortar, stone masonry cleaned scientifically and many minor and major repairs done in this memorable phase of our career.

Vivekananda Illam

Vivekanandar Illam (Vivekananda’s house in Tamil). Beach road, Chennai. Sri Ramakrishna Mission, Mylapore. Chief Coordinator : Swamy Dakshajanandaji.

A land mark building in Marina beach road earlier an Ice House (a unique and the only surviving of the three such built by the British in India, for receiving, storing and selling ‘Ice’ in early 19th century) , later Kernel Castle (residence of a British officer) and even later a ladies hostel in late 19th century and a residence of a local prominent person who housed Swamy Vivekananda’s here thus eventually becoming a memorial and a museum of the Swamy’s works and vision.

As principal Consultants we provided all the inputs for conducting a very challenging restoration works including reconstruction of Madras terrace roof’s, timber restoration, while our Conservation Architect associate Mr.Sarathchandra of Heritage Matters designed the refurbishing and enhancement of the existing museum and the works capably implemented by Jeernodhar Conservators Pvt Ltd with their highly skilled manpower and able supervision by Gautam Ramesh.