Mumbai: JJ School to install centralised air conditioning to restore CSMT
Air conditioning will be installed during ongoing restoration of building, proposal sent to Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee
In order to restore the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus to its former glory, the JJ College of Architecture has decided to start with the administration section of the building. The work will include installation of centralised air conditioning, and its officials have submitted a proposal to the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC) for the same last month.
Currently, most offices on the first and second floor have individual air conditioners. As part of the trial phase of the project, centralised air conditioning was installed in the general manager's office and meeting room a month ago. But they still need the nod of the MHCC before they can go ahead with the plan for the rest of the building.
Rajiv Mishra, the principal of JJ College of Architecture, said that the building was never designed to be an office. "Our objective is to refine the rooms and bring back the lost glory of the structure. We are working with the electrical engineering department of the Central Railways and will eventually work on all the offices on the first and second floors" said Mishra. He added that Central Railway officials approached them around six months ago and they will bear all the costs involved.
The restored ceiling in the GM's office
In response to the proposal submitted last month, members of the MHCC have asked for more details. "The MHCC has asked them (the college) to submit a presentation to ensure that the work on the project doesn't touch the heritage structure. A site visit will also be organised for its (MHCC) members," said a civic official from the BMC Heritage Department.
False ceilings to be removed
A staff member from the college said that they have also suggested that the false ceilings that were installed to reduce the load on the AC units be removed. "The offices were cluttered and not cleaned regularly. The false ceilings hide the original wooden ceilings which are part of the ambience, and have to be restored. After the project is complete, we hope to create a comfortable work environment for the employees who spend long hours in the building," said the staff member. CR's Chief Public Relations officer Sunil Udasi said the long-term restoration plan was first initiated in 1997. At the moment, the second phase works are in progress. This involves the restoration of the terminus and conservation works.
"Since CSMT is a Grade I Heritage building and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it needs to be treated with great standard, following internationally accepted principles and philosophies. Help was taken from conservation architects who provided archival data from various books written about the terminus, as well as previous reports and data available with CR archives," he said. He added that the restoration of the building has been sub-divided into various sections across it, and handed over to various contracting agencies in the city which have expertise in heritage restoration.
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