Ref No: 23/2015 Date: May 5, 2015
Shri Sanjaybhai Lalbhai,
Chairman, Governing Body, CEPT University,
Arvind Mills Ltd.
Shri Kartikeya Sarabhai,
Board of Management, CEPT University,
Director, Centre for Environment Education Nehru Foundation for Development
Thaltej Tekra, Ahmedabad
Re: Conserving the Architectural Heritage of the School of Architecture, CEPT University, Ahmedabad.
Respected Shri Lalbhai Ji,
I am writing to you on behalf of ICOMOS-India which is the national committee of the largest international non-governmental organization for the protection and management of cultural heritage. One of the areas that we are working on concerns the much neglected and highly threatened heritage of the 20th century, especially the landmark creations of the post- Independence period.
The particular case for which I am seeking your help is CEPT University’s proposed plans for undertaking major structural and visual changes to the original CEPT buildings, including the School of Architecture, by Professor B.V.Doshi, the Master Architect who has contributed immensely in placing 20th Century Indian architecture on the global map and making Ahmedabad a favoured destination amongst protagonists of Modern Heritage.
As we all know, CEPT’s School of Architecture is a landmark creation that continues to inspire a whole architects and architecture students in India, Asia, and the rest of the world.
The cultural and historic value of the original building is undisputed and it merits as much attention as all other ‘heritage structures’. However, being a building / campus under active use, interventions may become necessary due to changing needs and other compulsions. However, management of change should include consideration of the original design of the interior spaces, furniture and fittings, the external form, and all other design elements.
ICOMOS-India, thus, appeals to the CEPT University’s Governing Body and its Board of Management that a Committee of duly qualified professionals, including conservation professionals, be formed to draft Management Plan for incorporating future needs without compromising the authenticity and integrity of the original design. We also request that the ad-hoc changes currently envisaged be stopped for a period of 4-6 months till a cogent mechanism is brought into place. It would also be desirable to involve all stakeholders, including the original architect, Prof. B. V. Doshi, or his nominee, in such plans.
We trust that this appeal will be considered in a positive way and that CEPT University’s Governing Body and Board of Management would extend their full support in conserving and promoting this unique piece of the 20th century architectural heritage of India.
Looking forward to a positive response and with sincere regards.
Dr. Rohit Jigyasu
Board Member,ICOMOS International, President, ICOMOS-India
President, ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Risk Preparedness (ICORP)
Senior Advisor, Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS)