IHBC Yearbook 2021

38 Y E A R B O O K 2 0 2 1 THE WOODSTOCK SCHOOL, MUSSOORIE The restoration of The Doon School inspired other historic schools in the country to audit and revisit their infrastructure design strategies with a focus on their heritage, and several drew directly on lessons learnt here. One of these was Woodstock School, Mussoorie, a historic international co-educational residential school campus established in 1854 which spread over 250 acres of Himalayan hillside. Many buildings within the campus were suffering from structural and architectural issues of spatial and service design. The most prominent historic building of the campus, known as the Quad building, had grown incrementally to accommodate the changing needs of the school. Although unlisted as heritage, it is an integral part of the identity of the school, the community and the town of Mussoorie. The approach for this project was developed as a bottom-up collaborative decision-making process that involved all stakeholders including the students, alumni and staff. The bulk of this process for preparing the vision and concept design had to be moved online due to the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, and the entire project had to be executed on site through remote collaborative design and decision making with the stakeholders. A crucial aspect was the awareness and capacity of Woodstock’s engineering and estate team. Online collaboration tools were therefore developed to facilitate a process of co-production and co-design with the craftsmen, contractors, engineers and specialists working on the site. This restoration project had a positive impact on the campus and led to the placemaking of public spaces within the historic campus around the café and student common areas. We await further feedback from the students when they return to use the spaces post pandemic. ENGAGING THE COMMUNITY Place identity – our image or perception of a place – is continuously evolving through processes of conscious design and incidental change; long after the spatial designer has finished their work the place continues to be changed every day by its users, managers and other custodians, as well as by natural wear and tear. In the absence of a well-defined framework, who then is responsible for managing and sustaining the place identity of a heritage site? Reinvigorating historic buildings requires a careful balance between the needs of the heritage fabric and the contemporary needs of the community; this requires a rethink of the traditional role of the architect. Our experience has been rooted in the relationships that we formed with each of the stakeholders in the projects which allowed us to work inclusively and collaboratively, reaching solutions that prioritised the requirements of the community. This was possible through employing a process of socially integrated design where the community, as well as other stakeholders, were fully engaged with the design process from the very beginning. By adopting a collaborative approach to articulating shared values and vision, and by then translating that vision on the ground, we were able to maintain collaboration on a day-to-day basis. Through our work at Woodstock School it became obvious that our role as heritage architects had also to include the role of a facilitator and manager of this iterative process. The work we began with co-production and capacity building of the engineers and craftsmen on the ground in the implementation process at The Doon School was taken to the next level at Woodstock School as we hit the pandemic. Suddenly we needed to rethink the way we were working as severe travel restrictions led us to developing more tools for co-production, easy to use graphic manuals and guides that aided the implementation of heritage conservation for the contractors and clients in the physical absence of the architect. The pandemic has certainly made us all reassess the way we work with communities and the role heritage spaces can play in social cohesion and identity building. Learning from this experience we are in the process of co-creating an online resource called the Restoration Toolbox which shall empower students, professionals and craftsmen to restore historic buildings as part of our social innovation initiative called Jugaadopolis. Jugaad is the colloquial Indian word for a non-conventional, frugal innovation or hack. Jugaadopolis celebrates this sustainist approach to finding co-designed, circular, local solutions to problems; an approach that we call sustainism. Aishwarya Tipnis is an award-winning architect, heritage conservationist and educator based in New Delhi, and was one of the IHBC Gus Astley Student Award winners in 2007, while studying at the University of Dundee. She is the founder of Aishwarya Tipnis Architects and Jugaadopolis. Her architectural practice specialises in urban conservation and regeneration, building restoration and architectural design. Consulting stakeholders at Woodstock School, Mussoorie, where a collaborative approach to articulating shared values and vision led to a more inclusive and sustainable programme of conservation