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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Revival of a slice of history

By Anuradha K. R.
Photography: Courtesy Saif Habibullah

India Art n Design features Habibullah Estate conservation & restoration by Amar & jyotsna Habibullah
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One can’t delve into restoration unless there’s an irresistible inner calling for preserving a slice of history. Mr. Wajahat Habibullah’s century-old family-home, ‘Habibullah Estate’ in Lucknow has been recently restored by son Amar and his wife, Jyotsna Habibullah. 

Characterised by colonial-style 18-20ft high ceilings, arched doorways and expansive verandahs, Habibullah Estate has a nearly 300 year history! Based on the dates found on bricks, the oldest part of the house was built during 1736; and majority of the construction was carried out during 1850-1880.
 
India Art n Design features Habibullah Estate conservation & restoration by Amar & jyotsna Habibullah
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There were challenges galore, associated with this endeavour. That the small bricks used in construction were laid with mud rather than lime mortar had rendered the structure fragile. Sheesham and Burma Teak beams, supporting the tiled roof of the house had weakened due to insect-infestation, leading to monsoon tantrums. These beams, in turn, were drawing their support from steel railway sleepers, set 4ft apart. Despite regular preventive maintenance, a portion of the roof had collapsed, necessitating temporary tin roofing, thus making certain portions of the house uninhabitable.
 
India Art n Design features Habibullah Estate conservation & restoration by Amar & jyotsna Habibullah
Exterior View                                                                                                 Stairwell Inside
India Art n Design features Habibullah Estate conservation & restoration by Amar & jyotsna Habibullah
Restored areas now hosting hi-end fashion boutiques
India Art n Design features Habibullah Estate conservation & restoration by Amar & jyotsna Habibullah
Conserved walls and ceiling                                                    Aesthetic & sensitive contemporary additions
India Art n Design features Habibullah Estate conservation & restoration by Amar & jyotsna Habibullah
Old flooring detail                                                                        Old garden fountain detail

Considering the vulnerability of the structure, the restorers opted to replace the original roof with RCC slab. Custom-made, corrugated, permanent steel shuttering was preferred over standard shuttering, as it reduced the thickness of the slab by 2”, thereby reducing the load on the walls. To take the load off the walls, tie-beams have been made all along the walls, integrating the retained steel sleepers with them. Arches and other brick structures, wherever present, that were adequately supporting the walls, have been retained as such.
 
India Art n Design features Habibullah Estate conservation & restoration by Amar & jyotsna Habibullah
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India Art n Design features Habibullah Estate conservation & restoration by Amar & jyotsna Habibullah
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India Art n Design features Habibullah Estate conservation & restoration by Amar & jyotsna Habibullah
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India Art n Design features Habibullah Estate conservation & restoration by Amar & jyotsna Habibullah
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The building had its walls, finished with mud-phaska and painted with lime. It was coming apart in certain pockets due to dampness. Because of lack of expertise in mud-phaska craftsmanship, the walls have now been plastered with cement, wherever required. While original doorframes, window-frames and wooden blinds have been retained, electrical lines and fixtures have been extensively modified/replaced.
 
India Art n Design features Habibullah Estate conservation & restoration by Amar & jyotsna Habibullah
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Ably guided by LTDF Architecture & Interior Design, Ar. Rajiv Sethi, and designers, Kausar and Sarita Hukumchand, this heritage property, nestled amidst high-rises, introduces a refreshing visual relief to the landscape in the heart of the city, much as it brings to light what an uncompromised, passionate response to heritage can accomplish. 

The restored Habibullah Estate is now home to Lucknow’s first luxury retail space, hosting distinguished Indian fashion design stores.  

1 comment :

  1. Thank you for your support! Hope this leads to the restoration of more beautiful and historic buildings in and around Lucknow

    ReplyDelete

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