An interactive workshop aimed at showcasing new and innovative techniques for conserving historical buildings has taken place at the City Palace Museum in Udaipur, Rajasthan.
The Heritage Conservation and Structural Stabilisation event saw numerous industry experts gather in the city to learn about best practice when dealing with heritage structures. Participants also got to see live demonstrations of new repair products being used in India for the very first time.
Mumbai-based repair and restoration specialist Appex Innovation led the workshop, in association with Gurgaon-based development and research organisation Dronah, and the Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation (MMCF), which manages the City Palace Museum.
Set next to Lake Pichola, the 200,000 sq ft museum is one of the world’s most significant heritage sites, home to a vast range of exhibits including paintings, photography, silver, armoury, textiles, crystal and vintage cars. Artefacts with strong British connections can be found throughout, from the British-manufactured World War I field gun that stands in one of the palace’s courtyards, to the Victorian tiles used to decorate a number of religious sites. A horse carriage built in Birmingham during the 1930s has pride of place within the museum’s silver collection, while the palace itself took centre stage during the filming of the 1983 James Bond film Octopussy.
Representatives from a wide range of organisations took part in the event, including the CBRI, CPWD, DMRC, Udaipur Municipal Corporation and the Mehrangarh Trust. Professionals including ‘smart city’ project engineers, conservation architects, materials conservators and practicing architects, also came to learn and share their expertise.
Dr Shikha Jain and Mr S Girikumar provided an overview of conservation work already carried out by MMCF within the City Palace Museum, before highlighting planned future projects. The focus then shifted towards new innovations and solutions being used to stabilise heritage structures without compromising their aesthetics.
Workshops took place across a number of locations within the City Palace Museum and attendees had the chance to see live demonstrations covering crack stitches, masonry repairs, and reinforced brick beam lintel repairs. The overall emphasis was on innovative structure repair solutions that require minimum intervention.
Also on site were representatives from Jahn Mortar, a company that manufactures lime-based products for heritage finishes. The firm demonstrated an end-to-end solution for structural problems, using a combination of helical bars and mineral-based, user-friendly materials.
MMCF is a pioneer in heritage conservation, preservation and promotion of living heritage. The organisation was keen to use this month’s workshop to highlight new conservation materials and techniques being used in India for the first time.
A spokesperson for MMCF said: “MMCF’s goal is to showcase international benchmark techniques for conservation, and for the City Palace Museum to serve as an educational resource for the conservation community of India and abroad.
“The Foundation aims to establish its own benchmarks for this goal. MMCF is keen to share its best practices and conservation experience for knowledge exchange, in addition to its implementable conservation programme.”