This restoration of 19th century building in Bengaluru has seen it all – from demonetisation to lockdown to second wave. Yes, the restoration work of the Bowring Institute that started in September 2016 is still a work in progress as the second phase of the work is going on. Need to adhere to traditional conservation methods in restoring the building that was built in 1888 and difficulty in locating people with right skills are the reasons for this prolonged restoration of this beautiful colonial era structure.
When decision to renovate the building was taken the structure was in a bad condition and any further delay would have forced the authorities to declare it unsuitable for use. The building had developed cracks and the effects of water seepage were visible. Deep cracks marked the walls as the damaged foundation had been patched up without understanding the structural implications or the heritage value of the building. Large sections of the roof and walls were also damaged due to heavy seepage of rainwater. Worse, multiple alterations had been carried over the last six decades without paying heed to the long-term impact.
But restoration of the 130 year old structure constructed on the principles of Victorian architecture blended with tones of Indo-Saracenic was not an easy task. Despite the difficulties faced, ASI-certified limestone was chosen and age-old fermentation technique was used to make the lime mixture. Special bricks are used for restoring the Madras terrace roofs which are specially made for the purpose. There was no blueprint of the building so the architects had to depend upon satellite images instead.
Architect Sriram Krishnan, who also happened to be the member of Bowring Institute is the project manager. Pragroup is carrying out the actual restoration work. Restoration is estimated to cost Rs 11 crore which is raised from the club’s membership.