Calico Dome was constructed in 1952 by Calico Mills to house their show room for their textiles. It was designed using rhomboid shapes from plywood sheets on a pentagonal geometry. The shop and dome were constructed on a small plot along the Relief Road in Ahmedabad.
In 1982 when the Calico Mills were liquidated, the shop and dome went into disuse and then permanent neglect. It was handed over to the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation by the Hon High Court of Gujarat in 2009 to restore and reconstruct it as a symbol of heritage for the old city’s commercial enterprise.
The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation’s Heritage Department has undertaken this task and the Project proposal is prepared under their instructions. The proposal for repairs to the basement and reconstruction of the dome is submitted to the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation with following objective;
- Restoration of the Basement structure, including the space frame
- Reconstruction of the Plywood dome in its near original state
- Repairs and installation of all the original features of the dome to its near original state
- Repairs to the services and surroundings, including plinths structure
- Re-installation of all electrical services, signage and show windows on podium level
- Repairs to the pavement and surrounding areas
The entire project would be handled with an attitude to restore its original likeness considering its importance for the heritage of the city and also considering this building as a precursor of the modern progressive era of Ahmedabad’s cultural history of which the entrepreneurship of the merchant community was an important aspect. Calico Textile Mills and its contribution towards preserving the textile history of India and in projecting Ahmedabad Textile industry towards international eminence was significant through its progressiveness in design and fashion world.
Through this proposal of restoration and reconstruction, it is proposed that the basement shop area and the upper level podium under the dome would house a gallery exhibiting evolution of Textile industry in Ahmedabad and would become an important place to mark city’s sensitivity to explore the industrial and social development for the culture of people of the city.
The Basement area would house exhibits through photographic presentation showing beginning and developments of the industry and its important founders. It will also exhibit the samples of their productions. The life sketch and social services and philanthropy of each of these Mill Owners would be portrayed with the details of the textile trade and related facts. This would be chronicled with details of their contribution to supporting social developments, leadership for city’s development and at the turn of the 20th century supporting Gandhiji and Freedom Movement. This gesture on part of AMC would also harmonize with the AMC’s tradition of showing important concerns for city’s heritage conservation which has placed it in forefront of one of the best institution for city governance in India.
The execution of the proposal would be undertaken with the help of some of the still surviving Carpenters who had originally worked on construction of this dome in 1950s as fortunately they are present amongst us to reinvigorate this important symbol of city’s commercial enterprise. In this way we will be able to utilize their contribution in capturing the near original state of the earlier Dome and the Basement.
R J Vasavada, Architect.
16th Jan 2012