Symbiotic Approach: Towards a Preservation Model for the Auction Hall and Its Contemporary Extension at Navi Mumbai's MAFCO Wholesale Market

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Graduate group
Indian Modern Architectire
cultural significance
Burra Charter
Indian Independence
values-based assessment
Historic Preservation and Conservation
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Dadawala, Namrata

This research is an effort to develop a model preservation approach to derive a preservation philosophy for the Auction Hall and its extension (F & F’, in Fig. 1) in the MAFCO Wholesale Market Complex, Navi Mumbai, by implementing a values-based method, derived specifically for the Indian context. India’s Independence (1947) brought with it new challenges of demonstrating the democratic, secular, economic and social voices of the independent country into its architecture. Its first-generation modernist architects succeeded in this endeavor by adapting the international style of Modernism to the local context and started a new regionalist style of architecture for India. However, insufficient methods to understand these direct translations of the cultural reforms into built forms have led to a lack of official or public recognition for these modern structures, contributing to the significant reasons for their deteriorating conditions in India. The absence of interest leads to fewer research efforts into India’s modern heritage and a lack of nationally accepted regulatory preservation guidelines for such structures. An essential starting point in developing a preservation design philosophy in this thesis is the Madrid-New Delhi document, a non-regulatory statement of principles and guidelines around conserving and preserving modern heritage. Burra Charter is used as a supplement that helps in structuring the assessment of the values for the MAFCO Wholesale Market, further enriched by the framework used in Warm Modernity, which helps to understand the significance of modern structures concerning the Indian context. All three documents are essential to forming an in-depth understanding of the Auction Hall and its extension, further deriving the preservation design philosophy for the place. The interdependence of the framework derived in this thesis emphasizes that no document is sufficient to derive new meanings for modern heritage according to contemporary needs. This thesis calls this approach a Symbiotic one, in which the inter-dependence of the expertise brought by all the actors involved in the sites of modern heritage would enable a genuine process toward a more sensitive and sustainable future for these sites of architectural and cultural significance. While the values ascribed, significance stated, and preservation approach developed herein are specific to the Auction Hall and its extension at the MAFCO Wholesale Market, Navi Mumbai, the methodology and framework of analysis could be applied to the sites of modern heritage in India.

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