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Preserving Srirangam’s architectural heritage

Like most temple towns, Srirangam has got caught up in a real estate boom that has begun to erase its unique architectural heritage. Thirty Final Year students of M.A.M. School of Architecture (MAMSA) have been engaged for the past six months in an attempt to reverse the trend of placing ultra-modern but culturally jarring buildings next to old structures in Srirangam.

The results of their research, a series of 45 drawings that show an alternative elevation more culturally compatible to Srirangam’s heritage, are being exhibited during Navarathri at the Aayiram Kaal Mandapam of Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple. “Heritage cities have their own stamp, but in India, modern commercial buildings that are irrelevant to the culture of these places are eroding this,” J. Ramanan, architect, photographer and Design Chair, MAMSA, told The Hindu . “Our first step was to document the existing buildings in Srirangam, because once they are demolished, they will be lost forever.”

Mr. Ramanan said it would be better for buildings in the core area of Srirangam to follow architectural features and elements that evoke the past glory of the city. “We carried out 20-25 case studies of how modern constructions could be redone from a heritage perspective. We have prepared at least 100 elevation drawings that could be used as a template by local architects,” he said. “Once we restore the visual relevance of these buildings, the lost glory will return to Srirangam,” he added.

The response to the exhibition has been very encouraging.


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