Bengaluru: INTACH to restore 110-year-old Fort school

Bengaluru: The 110-year-old Fort High School received a new lease on life on Thursday morning. The Bengaluru Chapter of INTACH will begin restoration work on the building, which was set up in 1907 and constructed in the Mysorean style.

"The restoration will be carried out over a period of one year with a cost of Rs 2.5 crore," said Meera Iyer, co-convener, INTACH, Bengaluru. Mysuru royal family scion Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar inaugurated the work on Thursday morning, recalling the contributions of his ancestors, who were patrons of art, culture, education and architecture. "This school represents the Mysorean design that was brought into the architectural vocabulary of buildings erected in the 1900s," he said.

"As the restoration takes place, it will also inspire the younger generation to appreciate and care our heritage. Buildings like Fort High School were built by my ancestors but this heritage isn't just a family legacy. It is a legacy of the people and we must celebrate it together," Wadiyrar said.

A sprawling courtyard in front and numerous other motifs recall a vernacular style of architecture, Meera said. "On the other hand, you have the pillars and the facade, which is very colonial," she added.

With its slanting roofs and colonnaded facade, Fort High School is one of the oldest buildings in Bengaluru and like other heritage structures, has been facing the brutal onslaught of development.

INTACH's involvement with the school began back in 2012, when they realised it badly needed restoration. However funding was hard to come by, until a chance meeting with their current sponsor, Basant Poddar. 

"We have got permission from the Department of Public Instruction to restore the building," Meera said. 

"All the ideals, wants, aspirations of our collective ancestors, the architects and the governments were poured into constructing those buildings. Preserving and re-invigorating them is important so that we can pass on this heritage to future generations," Wadiyar added. 

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