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    Navrachana University’s Center for Heritage Research swings into action

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    Held first online meeting of its advisory board

    The Navrachana University’s School for Environmental Design and Architecture (SEDA) established the Center for Heritage Research last month. The first online meeting of its Advisory Board was held online recently.

    The meeting was attended by Dr. Nilay Yajnik, Provost NUV, Prof. Dr. Julia Hegewald, Head of Department of Islamic and Asian Art History, University of Bonn, Germany, and an expert in Jain Temple Architecture, Prof. Dr. Ganapathi Mahalingam, Professor of Architecture, North Dakota State University, USA, and an expert in linking ancient temple architecture of South India with modern digital tools for understanding architecture design as well as ancient Indian architectural theories, Prof. Debashish Nayak, well-known heritage expert, Gujarat Vidyapith, Ahmedabad, Sandhya Gajjar, Heritage expert, Navrachana Education Society, and Prof. Pratyush Shankar, Dean SEDA, NUV. The meeting was joined by senior staff of SEDA, Shalini Amin and Pragya Shankar.

    Prof. Pratyush Shankar presented a detailed Road Map for academic, research-based heritage projects that have been planned in this academic year as well as projects already undertaken by SEDA.

    This includes a comprehensive visual, design-drawing, photography and oral history documentation of the work in Vadodara by eminent Gandhian architect Laurie Baker, an Englishman who made India his home since 1945, and led the movement for functional, low-cost and sustainable architecture that responded proactively to the climatic conditions and basic needs of its users.

    Baker was invited to Vadodara by industrialist-thinker Dr. Nanubhai Amin, who believed in environmental sustainability through technological innovations that included passive solar architecture. He was commissioned to design solar passive buildings in Vadodara, four of which are still in existence.

    Another project that has already been initiated is the documentation of the railway heritage of Baroda state. The state was at the forefront of innovation in initiating railway infrastructure projects, thereby linking the countryside with the cities. Railway heritage not only includes locomotive and carriages but also historic railway stations, bridges and allied buildings.

    Collaborations on academic projects engaging faculty and students of SEDA with those of the North Dakota State University, as well as Bonn University are also on the anvil.

    Short-term focused programs on various aspects of heritage architecture management, conservation, intangible heritage documentation are also being developed.

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