A lappuzha   –  The  V enice or the  L eiden of the East?  A Blueprint for Conservation  Dr. Binumol Tom Conservation Ar...
Story of a  verdant heart  centre with light radiating all around!
What is the quintessence of Alappuzha? <ul><li>Aspirations….. </li></ul><ul><li>Urban fabric interwoven between two artifi...
What is  right and wrong  about  Shakespeare’s  The Merchant of Venice?
Plan of Venice Plan of Alappuzha Venice –  composed of 120 islands, separated by 200 canals and connected by 450 bridges. ...
The tale of two cities Alappuzha Leiden
Alappuzha – essentially a Dutch Town  DIKE TOWN - Rivers / backwaters were diked Inland waterways taken from the sea or ri...
Dutch Town Planning Principles of Alappuzha <ul><li>Waterway becomes the life line of the town </li></ul><ul><li>Design cr...
Dutch Town Planning Principles of Alappuzha Larger buildings at prominent places – symbol of secular authority  Landmarks ...
Dutch Town Planning Principles of Alappuzha <ul><li>Alignment of building blocks parallel to the canal + placement of a  l...
<ul><li>BUILT-UP STREET and BUILT-UP WATERWAY were in direct spatial contrast  </li></ul><ul><li>a sense of spaciousness  ...
Streetscape - Leiden Streetscape - Alappuzha Section thru canal scape - Alappuzha PRIMARY STREET SECONDARY STREET TERTIARY...
<ul><li>Limiting the width of water way by techniques in stone and timber construction </li></ul>Dutch Town Planning Princ...
<ul><li>Sea fronts – trade related activities, merchant offices, warehouses, ship builders repair yards and weighing halls...
Dutch Town Planning Principles of Alappuzha Higher degree of homogeneity in building style and street architecture Alappuz...
<ul><li>Damming  </li></ul><ul><li>Construction of alternative channels were required for the river water to reach the sea...
Alappuzha – Venice or Leiden? For which town the bell tolls?  If any urban activity can be said to have reached that ideal...
Settlement Morphology of Alappuzha Town PORT AREA GUJRATI CLUSTER AGRAHARAM CLUSTER INDUSTRIAL CLUSTER GODOWN CLUSTER
Architectural Typologies <ul><li>RESIDENTIAL  </li></ul><ul><li>Gujrati Cluster  –  </li></ul><ul><li>Independent houses w...
Why trouble with this historic town? <ul><li>Towns with little/ no architectural heritage have to invent their past. </li>...
Alappuzha suffers! Not because of the violence of bad actions, but due the silence of good actions…. <ul><li>Vandalism/ de...
What are the threats to this historic canal town? <ul><li>Public services </li></ul><ul><li>Private speculation </li></ul>...
When wealth is lost nothing is lost, but when health is lost, something is lost… <ul><li>Is our town friendly for the elde...
When character is lost everything is lost….. <ul><li>SAY  “NO”  TO  ARCHITECTURAL MONSTERS  </li></ul>
Should Jack the clever outsmart John the hones? <ul><li>Should structurally strong and aesthetically pleasing old building...
Should we call the pied piper to fix things again?? <ul><li>Integrated Conservation Programme  in development policy throu...
How to bell the cat? <ul><li>Historic stock – present condition & future capabilities </li></ul><ul><li>Growth forces in t...
How to bell the cat? <ul><li>Establishing the mechanisms for operating area conservation programme within the urban develo...
How to bell the cat? <ul><li>Financial and other incentives </li></ul><ul><li>Direct grant to the building owner  </li></u...
Development & Heritage Conservation MAN & WOMAN <ul><li>Heritage Conservation is not husbanding of resources, but a key to...
TEN COMMANDMENTS  ON CONSERVATION OF THE CULTURAL HERITAGE OF ALAPPUZHA <ul><li>HERITAGE OF ALAPPUZHA IS  AN  ASSET  AND N...
“ Men need space, light and air just as  he needs bread or a place to sleep” (Le Corbusier) Can man live by space, light a...
T H A N K Y O U Conserve the dying heritage of Alappuzha Town
References <ul><li>Burke L Gerald; The making of Dutch Towns; 1956; Cleaver Hume Press London </li></ul><ul><li>Mann Roy; ...
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A blueprint for conserving the historic canal precinct of alappuzha town

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Heritage of a place be it natural or manmade, once lost is lost for ever. It cannot be recreated with its golden stains of time. Lets get together to conserve the rich heritage of our country and be dutiful citizens of India.

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  • DIKE TOWN - Rivers / backwater were diked and canals were protected on either sides by dikes and town was established Inland waterways taken from the sea or river into the interiors Straight alignment of built fabric along the dikes and a landmark such as a tower, a church or a windmill, built to terminate the vista Dykes and canals provided a valuable central space and a setting for public buildings
  • Placement of building blocks facing the canal
  • A blueprint for conserving the historic canal precinct of alappuzha town

    1. 1. A lappuzha – The V enice or the L eiden of the East? A Blueprint for Conservation Dr. Binumol Tom Conservation Architect Binumol Tom, Conservation Architect & Faculty, Department of Architecture, College of Engineering Trivandrum
    2. 2. Story of a verdant heart centre with light radiating all around!
    3. 3. What is the quintessence of Alappuzha? <ul><li>Aspirations….. </li></ul><ul><li>Urban fabric interwoven between two artificially laid out canals </li></ul><ul><li>A microcosm of intensive mix of communities – from Kutch, Sind, Tamilnadu native christians & Muslims </li></ul><ul><li>Distinguishable </li></ul><ul><li>identity it offers – no symbolic values of religion </li></ul><ul><li>Historical stamp – what mattered was trade and transport, canals and embankments become the virtual core and the symbol of the town </li></ul>City without old buildings is like a man without memory
    4. 4. What is right and wrong about Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice?
    5. 5. Plan of Venice Plan of Alappuzha Venice – composed of 120 islands, separated by 200 canals and connected by 450 bridges. May be the hustle and bustle of Alappuzha due to intense commercial and trading activity resonated with that of Venice during those days. Hence Alappuzha was called “Venice of the East”….
    6. 6. The tale of two cities Alappuzha Leiden
    7. 7. Alappuzha – essentially a Dutch Town DIKE TOWN - Rivers / backwaters were diked Inland waterways taken from the sea or river into the interiors Straight alignment of built fabric along the dikes Dykes and canals provided a valuable central space and a setting for public buildings Alappuzha canal stretch Leiden canal stretch
    8. 8. Dutch Town Planning Principles of Alappuzha <ul><li>Waterway becomes the life line of the town </li></ul><ul><li>Design criteria – Dutch lineal urban pattern of canal, road and building blocks </li></ul><ul><li>Skillful location of public buildings – to save from monotonous building facades </li></ul>Plan of canal stretch in Alappuzha Canal stretch in Leiden
    9. 9. Dutch Town Planning Principles of Alappuzha Larger buildings at prominent places – symbol of secular authority Landmarks – Church Towers Church in Alappuzha Leiden
    10. 10. Dutch Town Planning Principles of Alappuzha <ul><li>Alignment of building blocks parallel to the canal + placement of a landmark to terminate the vista </li></ul><ul><li>Important crossings accentuated by citing a religious building along the canal front </li></ul>
    11. 11. <ul><li>BUILT-UP STREET and BUILT-UP WATERWAY were in direct spatial contrast </li></ul><ul><li>a sense of spaciousness </li></ul><ul><li>a sense of compactness as well as shade. </li></ul>Dutch Town Planning Principles of Alappuzha Leiden – a paradise of interwoven canals and built fabric Schematic section through Alappuzha canal stretch
    12. 12. Streetscape - Leiden Streetscape - Alappuzha Section thru canal scape - Alappuzha PRIMARY STREET SECONDARY STREET TERTIARY STREET CONNECTORS
    13. 13. <ul><li>Limiting the width of water way by techniques in stone and timber construction </li></ul>Dutch Town Planning Principles of Alappuzha
    14. 14. <ul><li>Sea fronts – trade related activities, merchant offices, warehouses, ship builders repair yards and weighing halls </li></ul>Dutch Town Planning Principles of Alappuzha Alappuzha – the light house (photo taken about 1900 by the Government photographer Zacharias D'Cruz)
    15. 15. Dutch Town Planning Principles of Alappuzha Higher degree of homogeneity in building style and street architecture Alappuzha Leiden
    16. 16. <ul><li>Damming </li></ul><ul><li>Construction of alternative channels were required for the river water to reach the sea, the original down river (stream) water section served as an outer harbor and the up-river section acted as an inner harbor (Amsterdam) </li></ul>Dutch Town Planning Principles of Alappuzha Damming at Alleppey Damming at Amsterdam
    17. 17. Alappuzha – Venice or Leiden? For which town the bell tolls? If any urban activity can be said to have reached that ideal, it was the making of Dutch Towns. Alappuzha follows the Dutch Town Planning Principles.
    18. 18. Settlement Morphology of Alappuzha Town PORT AREA GUJRATI CLUSTER AGRAHARAM CLUSTER INDUSTRIAL CLUSTER GODOWN CLUSTER
    19. 19. Architectural Typologies <ul><li>RESIDENTIAL </li></ul><ul><li>Gujrati Cluster – </li></ul><ul><li>Independent houses with work places, </li></ul><ul><li>Haveli type, </li></ul><ul><li>Collective housing as a single block, Collective housing as cluster </li></ul><ul><li>Agraharams </li></ul><ul><li>INDUSTRIAL </li></ul><ul><li>Godown / Factory </li></ul><ul><li>RELIGIOUS </li></ul><ul><li>Mosque, Temple, Church </li></ul><ul><li>FUNCTIONAL </li></ul><ul><li>Ghats , Bridges </li></ul>
    20. 20. Why trouble with this historic town? <ul><li>Towns with little/ no architectural heritage have to invent their past. </li></ul><ul><li>For people in Alappuzha past is a living presence ….. </li></ul>Alappuzha – the light house (photo taken about 1900 by the Government photographer Zacharias D'Cruz)
    21. 21. Alappuzha suffers! Not because of the violence of bad actions, but due the silence of good actions…. <ul><li>Vandalism/ devastation by manmade factors – ecological death of the canals </li></ul><ul><li>Old buildings – timber – deterioration/ fire </li></ul><ul><li>We have learned to swallow concrete happily…. </li></ul><ul><li>Increased prosperity </li></ul><ul><li>Population pressures </li></ul><ul><li>Today, random demands imposed by modern life </li></ul>
    22. 22. What are the threats to this historic canal town? <ul><li>Public services </li></ul><ul><li>Private speculation </li></ul><ul><li>We expect a high standard of living </li></ul><ul><li>ABOVE ALL </li></ul><ul><li>Motor vehicle…. </li></ul>
    23. 23. When wealth is lost nothing is lost, but when health is lost, something is lost… <ul><li>Is our town friendly for the elderly? </li></ul><ul><li>Do we have a health plan for us as well as for the buildings? </li></ul><ul><li>Is the air that we breathe in our town healthy? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the quality of our green spaces and water bodies, the lifelines of the town? </li></ul>
    24. 24. When character is lost everything is lost….. <ul><li>SAY “NO” TO ARCHITECTURAL MONSTERS </li></ul>
    25. 25. Should Jack the clever outsmart John the hones? <ul><li>Should structurally strong and aesthetically pleasing old buildings give way for new ugly concrete monsters? </li></ul><ul><li>Should heritage give way for modern developments? </li></ul><ul><li>Conservation – ‘Conservative’ </li></ul><ul><li>Gentrification – social justice </li></ul><ul><li>Intangible heritage – by conserving the tangible heritage, we conserve the cultural paradigm </li></ul>
    26. 26. Should we call the pied piper to fix things again?? <ul><li>Integrated Conservation Programme in development policy through preparing a HDP for Alappuzha </li></ul><ul><li>Leadership of Administrators – bringing together the efforts of conservation architects, Town planners historians, urban planners, ethnographers, archaeologists, geologists, sociologists, engineers, geographers, transportation engineers etc with public consenses. </li></ul><ul><li>It is a conscious striving for the interdisciplinary collaboration between professionals and the end users the citizens of Alappuzha. </li></ul>
    27. 27. How to bell the cat? <ul><li>Historic stock – present condition & future capabilities </li></ul><ul><li>Growth forces in the economy of the city – analysed </li></ul><ul><li>Controlled developments to prevent large intrusive & out of scale modern buildings in heritage precincts </li></ul><ul><li>Traffic issues – solved (ring roads) </li></ul><ul><li>Prevention of unwanted traffic flow of heavy goods vehicles within the historic precincts – (vibration transmitted by road traffic) </li></ul><ul><li>Issues of water supply & sewerage of the city, Reviving the canals </li></ul>
    28. 28. How to bell the cat? <ul><li>Establishing the mechanisms for operating area conservation programme within the urban development and sustainable tourism policy for Alappuzha </li></ul><ul><li>Advisory body </li></ul><ul><li>Training planners, architects and urban administrators </li></ul><ul><li>Listing, Grading of historic structures </li></ul><ul><li>Designation of heritage areas, linkages </li></ul><ul><li>Design guidelines and controls </li></ul><ul><li>Upgrading infrastructural facilities </li></ul><ul><li>Training building craftsmen – historic ways of building </li></ul>
    29. 29. How to bell the cat? <ul><li>Financial and other incentives </li></ul><ul><li>Direct grant to the building owner </li></ul><ul><li>Grants for preservation </li></ul><ul><li>Tax relief </li></ul><ul><li>Taxing the beneficiaries – part of VAT collected can be used for conservation activities </li></ul><ul><li>Aid in kind – labour and materials for the maintenance of listed buildings by local authorities financed by municipal taxes </li></ul><ul><li>TDR </li></ul><ul><li>Building owners – access to credit on easy terms </li></ul><ul><li>Cross subsidy </li></ul>
    30. 30. Development & Heritage Conservation MAN & WOMAN <ul><li>Heritage Conservation is not husbanding of resources, but a key tool for controlled urban development </li></ul><ul><li>Development and Sustainable Tourism policy for Alappuzha with an addition of the ‘element of Heritage’?????????? </li></ul><ul><li>But instead Heritage Conservation oriented development policy for the sustainable development of Alappuzha (HDP for Alappuzha) </li></ul>
    31. 31. TEN COMMANDMENTS ON CONSERVATION OF THE CULTURAL HERITAGE OF ALAPPUZHA <ul><li>HERITAGE OF ALAPPUZHA IS AN ASSET AND NOT A BURDEN </li></ul><ul><li>IT IS A REPOSITORY OF KNOWLEDGE SYSTEMS OF INTEGRATION OF WATER AND LAND </li></ul><ul><li>IT IS ABOUT THE FUTURE AND NOT ABOUT THE PAST </li></ul><ul><li>IT’S CONSERVATION IS NOT ABOUT ‘MONUMENTS’ BUT ABOUT THE EVERYDAY LIFE OF CITIZENS OF ALAPPUZHA </li></ul><ul><li>IT IS NOT ANTI-DEVELOPMENT BUT AN ALTERNATE MODEL OF DEVELOPMENT </li></ul><ul><li>IT SHOULD BE INNOVATIVE IN PRACTICE </li></ul><ul><li>ADAPTIVE REUSE OF UNUSED HISTORIC BUILDINGS TO GIVE NEW MEANINGS TO HERITAGE (UNUSED GODOWNS, WAREHOUSES ETC.) </li></ul><ul><li>CONSERVATION TO BE DEMYSTIFIED AND INTEGRATED WITH CONTEMPORARY LIVING </li></ul><ul><li>CONSERVATION IS AS MUCH ABOUT THE NEW AS THE OLD (NO MUSEUM PIECES) </li></ul><ul><li>IT IS SYNONYMOUS WITH INDIGENOUS MODERNISM </li></ul>
    32. 32. “ Men need space, light and air just as he needs bread or a place to sleep” (Le Corbusier) Can man live by space, light and air alone? Maybe he needs a dash of love, a touch of warmth and a sea of friendship, which only historic ambience can provide……..
    33. 33. T H A N K Y O U Conserve the dying heritage of Alappuzha Town
    34. 34. References <ul><li>Burke L Gerald; The making of Dutch Towns; 1956; Cleaver Hume Press London </li></ul><ul><li>Mann Roy; Rivers in the city; 1973; Pitman Press Bath Somerset </li></ul><ul><li>Niermeyer, J.F; Delft en Delfland, Leiden; 1944 </li></ul><ul><li>Adams. T; Culture of Town and City Planning; 1936 </li></ul><ul><li>Shangunny Menon, History of Travancore, 1983, Kerala Gazetteers, Thiruvananthapuram. </li></ul><ul><li>Hans Schenk, An exploration of Alleppey, 1979, Indo Dutch Research project </li></ul><ul><li>Binumol Tom, Conservation of the canal precinct of Alappuzha Town, 1996, Unpublished Thesis, Dept. of Architectural Conservation, SPA, New Delhi. </li></ul>

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