Conservation work at Koti Women’s College, designed by Madras Sappers engineer Lieutenant Samuel Russel and built in 1803 as a symbol of British might in India, has begun. The first phase of the restoration work which started in October 2015 was completed in 18 months.
The first phase involved structural consolidation of western portions of Darbar Hall Block, removal of modern accretions and restoration of the authentic facade of the building’s western balcony, reconstruction of Madras terrace roof and water proofing of the Darbar building using traditional methods.
In the coming days the momentum of restoration work is likely to pick up and N.R. Visalatchy of the Department of Archaeology and Museums is at the helm of affairs. However, architects and artists will have an uphill task of restoring beautiful ceiling of more than a century old structure.
Now one of the toughest task of restoring perhaps one of the most magnificent papier mache ceilings extant in the country is being taken up. The multi-colored ceiling with vegetal and geometric pattern and gilded beading has suffered extensive damage over time. There are 650 panels in 18 different shapes and sizes. These panels were custom-made in the United Kingdom sometime in the late nineteenth century, shipped and installed here. The architects are planning to restore only the damaged ones making sure it is a reversible intervention. They will have to visually balance the existing panels with the new ones without tinkering the original panels.
The Project is a collaborative effort between Osmania University, Hyderabad (OU); Department of Archaeology & Museums, Government of Telangana (GoT) and World Monuments Fund, New York (WMF).