CHENNAI: Students scribble on walls of schools, colleges, temples and other heritage buildings. Do they take to these practices because they know the significance of the place? Conserving heritage buildings is a necessity and the responsibility lies with everybody. But are they aware of their cultural importance so as to assume responsibility?
These points were discussed at the event organised by the National Centre For Safety of Heritage Structures (NCSHS) recently.
International expert on structural conservation Paulo Lourenco from University of Minho, Portugal, H P Ray, chairperson, National Monuments Authority, Government of India, Ranee Vedamuthu, dean, School of Architecture and Planning, Anna University, C V R Murty, director, IIT Jodhpur, Alpa R Sheth, governor, Board of MMR-HCS and MD, VMS Consultants Pvt Ltd, Brinda Somaya, principal architect, Somaya and Kalappa Consultants, Mumbai, and K N Satyanarayana, academic expert from IIT Madras, participated.
Ranee Vedamuthu said that education was the key and students, right from their undergraduate level, should be sensitised on the cultural significance. This would make them understand the need for conservation and drive them to take up such projects, he said.
“Graduates of architecture schools have glamourised notions about tall, high-rise buildings, and do not concentrate much about the buildings that need conservation. We need to sensitise them, tweak the syllabus and work on conserving the buildings,” she added.
An architect from NCSHS, who was present at the event, agreed, and said that there was not enough focus on conserving heritage buildings in the syllabus. This did not suit heritage lovers like her, she added.
Education apart, conserving buildings was seen as the government’s job and the common man did not hold himself accountable for it. One should develop more personal association with it, and this would go a long way to conserve heritage, the panelists said.