IHBC Yearbook 2021

R E V I E W A N D A N A L Y S I S 37 donations. However, their patronage highlighted a critical question; should the building be restored to how it was originally designed, as enshrined in the memory of the alumni? Or should it be redesigned in keeping with the needs of the future? To answer this a methodology of collaborative decision making was developed with the stakeholders, including the educators, staff and the alumni to design a pilot classroom. This was put to the test in the community and user feedback was sought over a period of six months. Based on the feedback, the design was modified and adapted: the underlying design principle was not to restore the classroom to its early 20th century classical design, but to create a great teaching environment without damaging any of the historic fabric. The work followed the principle of adding a new layer, a layer that was reversible, that didn’t take the past away but reinterpreted it for the future. This process helped in building a collective identity, a new layer that will define the collective memory of the present generation of students. The restoration project was undertaken between 2014–2019 in a phased manner during the summer and winter vacations. It included structural repairs, façade restoration and the retrofitting of the interior spaces to meet contemporary needs of teaching and learning. The restoration won an Honourable Mention in the UNESCO Asia Pacific Award for Cultural Heritage Conservation 2016 for work that, ‘exhibits notable technical accomplishment in preserving the character of a renowned historic institution, while incorporating modern educational technologies in an unobtrusive manner.’ Afterwards, the impact on the community was evaluated and the school found that there was a demonstrable improvement in several aspects of teaching and learning; collaborative and group work was better facilitated by the classrooms, students were able to participate in class discussions because of the improved acoustics, and with improvements in the lighting and the colour scheme the students reported feeling less sleepy. The positive impacts led to subsequent restoration projects including the boarding houses where work was required to restore the roof structure and to improve the design of the dormitories and common spaces. Smaller projects included the Masters’ Common Room, Kashmir Villa and two historic cottages adjacent to the school’s central cricket pitch where they formed the backdrop of every sporting event in the school. In stark contrast to the demolition and rebuilding approach that is more common in India for unlisted heritage buildings, their conservation reinforced their landmark status within the landscape, contributing to the collective identity of the community. As well as raising the stakeholders’ awareness of their own heritage further, another tangible impact of the heritage restoration projects was the capacity that was developed in the inhouse engineering team for conservation work. Kashmir Villa: one of several smaller buildings important to the landscape of the Doon School which were restored with the support of the school’s alumni, despite being unlisted Restored and retrofitted masters’ housing at The Doon School