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.