Royal Opera House (Mumbai) - Restoration Measures

Restoration Measures

Initially, in May 2001, it was noted that the opera house as a Heritage building could not be redeveloped but only restored. Even for restoration, funds needed to be found. With these two basic aspects in view, the planning dictum followed was that:

The historicity of the building and its architecture will be lost if it is not used as a theatre and there should not be a change of user.

The initial plan proposed was to convert a part of the open plot to be developed commercially to generate funds, which could self sustain the expenditure involved in the restoration and maintenance of the existing heritage building. To proceed further with this plan, it was also considered essential to negotiate with the existing owner Maharaja Vikramsinghji Bhojraji of Gondal to get his consent to the incentive plan.

The Maharashtra State Government wanted to take over the Opera House to restore it to its original grandeur. The government requested the Mumbai Urban Heritage Conservation Committee (MUHCC) to acquire the heritage structure after verifying its legal status. The MUHCC had already been entrusted the task of preparing plans for restoration of this heritage building categorised as a grade II heritage structure. The detailed proposal for conservation was prepared by well known conservation architects of Mumbai. In May 2008, MUHCC authorised Abha Narain Lambah and her associates to carry out structural stabilisation of the building and its restoration. Abha, the architect, considers the restoration of the Opera House as her dream project and states:

It's such a stunning building. Restoring the building would be a dream come true for me.

Repair to the roof and the balconies of the structure are taken up on priority. With the conservation works undertaken, the erstwhile Maharaja of Gondal expects that the structure's original grandeur would be restored. By late 2011, exterior restoration was mostly completed. Thereafter, the World Monuments Fund (WMF) announced the inclusion of the building in its 2012 global list of endangered architectural sites, only other building city is the Watson's Hotel. In January 2013, Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC) approved the plans of the Gondal family to restore and revamp the buildings interiors.

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