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Historic Preservation
 
Thesis: Heritage Precinct, Modhera, Gujarat
I am a student of architecture doing thesis project on rejuvenation of heritage precinct @ Modhera Gujarat (Sun Temple).

Proposing a development strategy around the precinct which in turn help for the sustainance of the heritage structure (restoration and conservation of the precinct).

A design proposal which does not replicate the precinct but extends the essence of it in the environs.

I would like to know about your suggestions regarding my topic and some points I should focus on.
Aamir Shaikh
Responses
 
Thesis: Heritage Precinct, Modhera, Gujarat
Yaar Aamir, your topic is very good but of course you have to focus on many things.

First of all, you have to mention that what kind of material you are using in the restoration and conservation process.

Secondly, if you are talking about sustainability than you have to consider not only the natural elements but also the mechanical features.

I think you have to research more on this side but use all the mechanical elements very carefully.
Faisal Saud
Thesis: Heritage Precinct, Modhera, Gujarat
Dear Aamir,

First, a humble request. Please stop thinking about how new development will help in sustenance of heritage itself. It only sounds good in theory. In practice, it is the development around that thrives and derives from the many known and unknown benefits of built heritage. So the earlier we accept this, the better it would be.

If you continue to take this line, someone may actually ask you to prove it! I believe that would be outside your scope of undergrad thesis because it is a larger exercise in heritage management requiring multi-disciplinary studies and much much beyond physical conservation of built heritage.

I most certainly don't wish to sound discouraging but please understand that an undergrad architectural thesis is about new design. So your focus has to be the new design only that in turn may be influenced from the heritage context.

What is your site? Do you have a physical demarcation? I don't know much about Modhera except the usual through net surfing. I recommend you to study the surroundings carefully. There is an existing settlement around the precinct. Usually, such settlements are as historic as the monuments themselves. Try and understand the real requirements of local people or the many tourists and pilgrims visiting the place.

If your college allows you to, you may direct your thesis towards finding a solution as to how the existing settlement can grow without compromising the interests of built heritage. It then becomes an exercise in urban planning and design. Or you may be able to identify some crucial requirement of the local population or the pilgrims, say a hospital or a school or the very-popular-with-undergrad-students heritage interpretation/information centre which in turn may be designed to be in harmony with the existing heritage context.

Yours can turn out to be a very good architectural thesis, but right now it sounds very ambitious. I feel you should re-orient yourself and accordingly define the focus of your thesis.

Wish you all the best. If there is anything else you wish to discuss despite my answer...
Shubhru Gupta
Thesis: Heritage Precinct, Modhera, Gujarat
Do it, very good sub. Yes, it is going to be very useful as India shall open up to int. tourists by 2008.
Dushyant Nathwani
Thesis: Heritage Precinct, Modhera, Gujarat
First of all, I would like to thank you, Shubru and Dushyant for giving replies and criticism to my topic. I have completed my research regarding site documentation, visit and analysis, level.

And I am further looking up on case studies. As much of the preservation and conservation work is itself done in India; but apart from this, in order to rejuvenate and propose a new development strategy around the precinct, to what kind of case study should I refer?

If any links or matter in relation to my topic please let me know.
Aamir Shaikh
Thesis: Heritage Precinct, Modhera, Gujarat
Hello Aamir,

First of all, I think it is a good project, by that I mean the site does offer immense possibilities.This project (Modhera and that something should be done about it) has been in talk for a long time and actual attempts have also been made by several NGOs. How you see the site and how you build the programme is what will be interesting. I have visited the temple many times and from what I gather, the temple can be made into a real source of income for the town. And that it can sustain itself pretty well. The Archeaological Survey of India is restoring and has done some things on the temple and the tank. So your programme can be focused on the precinct (rightly).

Most of the time I believe in our country a smaller act is far more stronger and long lasting than a bold statement. What I have always felt is missing there is a small kiosk which gives you momentos of Modhera. This is just an idea; it could be anything, it could also be a small gallery which will display sketches of Modhera made by many many artists and students who come there.

What I also feel is that the the physicality of Modhera, of being there and actually sketching and spending time there is what will really keep Modhera alive. Modhera has always inspired me. The temple, the sabha mandap, the two pillars and then the tank, surrounded by several small structures around.

I feel that what you do should be an extention of such inspirations, and that will be true sustenance.

shirish joshi
Shirish Joshi
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