Structural repairs of one of world's only two cast-iron buildings will cost Rs 23 crore and full restoration Rs 98 crore
The 155-year-old Esplanade Mansion can be restored to its full glory. That's what two reports filed by a high court-appointed panel states. Based on them, the findings of which are contrary to IIT-Bombay's structural audit, conservation architects Abha Lambah and Pankaj Joshi have estimated a cost of Rs 98 crore.
While MHADA has argued since May last year that the cost of restoring the building was too high, in the 'Building Condition Report' Lambah and Joshi stated, "The economic per square foot rate as decided by MHADA cannot be the sole consideration for deciding the future of such a historic building." In their report, the estimated cost includes repair and restoration of the cast iron portions and the superstructure as well. They have recommended that for the restoration work a special purpose vehicle (a government-appointed committee) must be formed, which will arrange funds for the building's long-term maintenance.
The report has documented the damage to the structure that was primarily caused due to ad-hoc additions of lofts, staircases and mezzanine floors, which resulted in overloading. Unregulated plumbing services led to leakages and water seepage, which caused severe corrosion to the cast iron members within the building.1
- 1. They have also criticised the IIT-Bombay's structural audit report and stated that it "does not give any importance to the said building's architectural, technological, cultural, social, historical and biographical significance" and added that it needs to be reconsidered. The report also mentions that if public funds were used for the repairs then the building could be made accessible to the public. "This building, with over 90,000 square feet of usable space after restoration, can offer the city's Kala Ghoda area a realm of opportunities for adaptive reuse as a public space," the report says.