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The field of conservation is often elite and niche practice, it often trapped into the conversation of what is contextual history and what is fabricated context. This perhaps leads  to conflicting nature of practices and resultant outcome of such wanted desirable are questionable. The conservation is also often linked with colonial architecture and less of indigenous architecture and typologies. 

The recent site visit to Bardoli (Surat), the native town of Saradar Patel, revealed very good example of restoration of 85 year old house of Sardar Patel. This house has dual history, one as it is indigenous type and other that it has history of freedom struggle. The house is conserved by local trust with help of the local contractor ( Vikram Rathod). The brief was simple and clear to restore the house to its original condition. It led to revival of teak wood post and beam construction as skin and wrapped Verandah with load bearing wall as inner sanctum. The structure restoration was systematically designed and carefully executed, while aesthetic is simply recreated from the images of the past. This perhaps would be one of the few example of restoration of Architecture that is related to freedom movement. 

This example has raised lots of issues related to conservation. The conservation is relevant and significant to locals if the history and historical events are relevant. The technique and methods becomes part of natural progression and relevant local history.

Photographs: Manoj Parmar Architects


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