Thursday, February 25, 2010

Institute for Revival of Traditional Building Arts

Some years ago, I was documenting the Restoration efforts made by the West Zone Cultural Centre towards conserving the Bagore-ki-Haveli at Udaipur. Whilst doing the study, I came across a document that contained guidelines for setting up an ‘Institute for Revival of Traditional Building Arts’. Such an Institute had been initiated at Jaipur but it had closed down eventually. Maybe, elsewhere in India, there will be efforts to put up an Institute such as this one at another time. I reproduce here some key points from that document :

The work strategy for the institute will be :

- To document old traditional building art forms through a survey of buildings of historical and architectural importance
- To extensively photograph work done in such buildings. The cataloguing will be done building-wise and building art formwise.
- To locate master craftsmen of traditional building art forms in the various districts and to catalogue them including their addresses and other particulars
- To select old heritage precincts and buildings which need restoration, reconstruction, revival etc. and to make these available to the Institute for conducting training on actual working conditions
- Selection of artisans / trainees for receiving training and to lay down minimum educational or experience standards for a particular art form
- To prepare the curriculum indicating the period of training, theoretical and practical classes to be conducted and to identify faculty for imparting training
- To document the trainees skills and addresses, on completion of the training, so that this talent pool is available for being called upon whenever work is needed to be executed on a commercial basis and also to provide employment to them, wherever possible, through the efforts of the Institute
- To prepare films, videos, slides and literature for use as training material. This will need to be done separately for each building art form
- Brochures and technical literature to be prepared for dissemination of information to the prospective customers of such work
- To find avenues of work for the trained artisans in the public and private sector
- To evolve new patterns, new designs and improvements in old designs so as to make future work both time-effective and cost-effective
- To conduct research and development in traditional building materials
- To make traditional building art forms more economical and acceptable to the public

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