George Wittet who passed away about 92 years ago due to acute dysentery is suddenly in news, thanks to re-opening of iconic Bombay House, one of the many buildings designed by this Scottish architect. Born in 1878 in Scotland, George Wittet had worked in Scotland and England before moving to India in 1904. In India, and that too in Mumbai, Wittet became popular because of many iconic buildings designed by him. Apart from this, he has another achievement to his credit. Do you know what is that?
Initially, George Wittet was an assistant to John Begg, then Consulting Architect to Bombay. These two men were responsible for the evolution and subsequent popularity of the Indo-Saracenic Style of architecture.
George Wittet designed Bombay House, a four-story colonial structure built with Malad stone. Wittet designed over 40 buildings for the group and later became the head of Tata Engineering Company Limited, now Tata Motors. Wittet had designed some of Bombay’s best known landmarks: the Prince of Wales Museum, the Gateway of India, the Institute of Science, the Small Causes Court at Dhobitalao, the Wadia Maternity Hospital, the King Edward Memorial Hospital, the Grand Hotel and other buildings at the Ballard Estate, by the Bombay Docks. In Karachi, he designed the Karachi Port Trust (KPT) building.
Apart from designing these iconic structures, Wittet was unanimously elected as the first President of The Indian Institute of Architects, an association made of the past students of Architecture of Sir J.J. School of Art, then known as “The Architectural Students Association” in 1917. By then Wittet was Consulting Architect to the Government of Bombay. He remained President of the Association till 1920.