Last lap for Mumbai's Oval precinct

Aug 10, 2013, 06:36 IST | A Correspondent

As the last leg to ready Mumbai's dossier for UNESCO World Heritage Site status draws near, here is an aerial view of the showcase of Victorian Gothic and Art Deco ensembles flanking the Oval Maidan, captured by Atul Kamble. Unlike seen in any other world city, here two architectural styles face each other

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Oval Maidan, Opened in: 1860s
During the tenure of the first city Municipal Commissioner, Arthur Crawford, the Esplanade was divided into four sections -- Cooperage, Oval Maidan, Cross Maidan and Azad Maidan. As with British officers on duty at the fort, even today, cricket remains the Oval’s favourite sport.  

Eros Cinema, Opened in: 1938
This is a stunning example of Mumbai’s Art Deco movement. It boasted of a restaurant, shops, offices and a ballroom too. Its stepped octagonal tower stands out amidst the area’s skyline. The building was designed by eminent architects Bhedwar & Sorabji.

Art Deco Ensemble, construction: early 1900s
The wave of Art Deco style hit Mumbai, with its colourful geometric designs, broad, rounded balconies and progressive ideas. After Miami, Mumbai perhaps has the highest concentration of this architectural style. It remains a telling example of Mumbai’s living heritage.

Central Telegraph Office, Opened in: 1872
Facing the PWD Building is the former General Post Office, which later served as the Central Telegraph Office. Trubshawe and Paris were its architects, though TR Smith was also initially involved. It was the second building completed in Frere’s plan for the Esplanade.

Bombay High Court, Opened in: 1878
Designed by Fuller, this commanding structure has six storeys, a length of 562 feet and rises up to 174 feet. The two central roofs have structures symbolic of ‘Justice’ and ‘Mercy’. He incorporated Trubshawe, Paris and Molecey’s earlier designs for this landmark.

University complex, Rajabai Tower, Opened in: 1874 (hall), 1880 (clock)
GG Scott’s designs of the University Convocation Hall, University Library and Rajabai Tower forms a stunning sweep of architecture. Sir CJ Readymoney and Premchand Roychand were the biggest donors for the hall and the clock, respectively.

The Secretariat, Opened in: 1874
This building designed by Henry St Clair Wilkins was the first structure in the line of Gothic buildings that faced the Oval Maidan. The central tower measures 170 feet high and rises above a large, cantilevered central staircase. Local material was used extensively for this project.

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