3 Mumbai heritage structures win UNESCO awards for conservation

The three structures from Mumbai are among four from India to bag the UNESCO awards. The fourth structure to have made it to the list of awardees is the Vikram Sarabhai Library at the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad.
The Flor a Fountain at Fort, Mumbai, underwent restoration work between July 2017 and October 2018.(HT Photo)
The Flor a Fountain at Fort, Mumbai, underwent restoration work between July 2017 and October 2018.(HT Photo)
Updated on Oct 16, 2019 07:13 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, Mumbai | ByEeshanpriya M S, Mumbai

Three of Mumbai’s heritage structures — Flora Fountain and Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue at Fort, and Our Lady of Glory Church at Byculla — won UNESCO Asia-Pacific awards for cultural heritage conservation on Monday.

The three structures are among four from India and 16 from China, Australia, New Zealand and Bhutan to bag awards.

The fourth structure from India to have made it to the list of awardees is the Vikram Sarabhai Library at the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad.

There were 57 entries from 14 countries across the Asia-Pacific region, which were assessed by UNESCO in August.

In 2018, two other structures from Mumbai — the Ruttonsee Muljee Jetha Fountain near Ballard Estate in Fort, the Rajabai Clock tower and the University of Mumbai library building — bagged the honours.

The Flora Fountain, inspired by the Victorian style of architecture, is owned and maintained by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and was restored between July 2017 and October 2018. Its restoration work was headed by conservation architect Vikas Dilawari and the BMC heritage department. On Monday, it was awarded the ‘Honourable Mention’ award, the fourth highest in UNESCO’s Asia Pacific award for cultural heritage conservation.

The UNESCO’s citation for Flora Fountain (a copy of which is with Hindustan Times) read, “The project has not only recovered the fountain’s artistic beauty, but has also validated its continuing role in the life of the community and its prominent place in the urban fabric of Mumbai.’

The Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue owned and maintained by the Jacob Sassoon (Jewish) Trust and was restored between February 2018 and February 2019 by conservation architect Abha Lambah, and the Our Lady of Glory Church is owned and maintained by the Church and was restored between 2013 and 2019 by conservation architect David Cardoz. On Monday, both these structures were awarded the Award of Merit, the third-highest category in the UNESCO’s Asia-Pacific award for cultural heritage conservation.

The citation for Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue read, “The sensitive upgrade of building services allows the synagogue to continue its vital services to Jewish devotees, extending the cultural continuum of the oldest Baghdadi synagogue of the city.” Similarly, Our Lady of Glory Church’s citation calls the structure a proud neighbourhood landmark.

A senior civic official from BMC’s heritage department said, “Out of the 16 awards given, four are bagged by India, and three of these by Mumbai’s heritage structures. It credits our efforts in heritage conservation, and also gives other Asia-Pacific countries a benchmark on how heritage conservation should be done.”

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