Collaborative heritage conservation in Tajganj : investigating civic possibilities in the urban order through architectural making

O'Grady, Rachel (2018) Collaborative heritage conservation in Tajganj : investigating civic possibilities in the urban order through architectural making. Doctoral thesis, London Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

This thesis explores the claims made by architectural heritage on the urban order and investigates how architects might better contribute to practices of heritage conservation.

There are conflicting opinions amongst residents, historians, academics and municipal authorities as to which parts of Tajganj, North India qualify as architectural heritage, and how they should be conserved. Currently, there is no effective institution for constructively negotiating these views. The only methods of heritage identification and repair carried out by the government reinforce an attitude to conservation inherited from the European preservationist movement: a centralised, monument-focused approach that contributes to the destruction of small-scale, resident-led practices of maintenance.

Outside of the government’s programme of monument protection, development practitioners in India have embraced certain types of conservation project which are perceived to benefit residents in run-down, historic neighbourhoods: guided walks, ‘heritage houses’, and the ‘revival’ of traditional crafts are often intended to introduce a tourism economy to low-income areas. This thesis describes my collaboration with a group of residents, NGO workers and local craftspeople to critically reinvent these familiar conservation motifs through architectural making. A portfolio of drawings presented alongside the text was made during the process to clarify and develop the views towards conservation that emerged.

The research demonstrates that civic praxis in Tajganj relies on an inherited order of architectural settings through which recent memories, accounts left by previous generations, and the conception of a shared past reaching beyond material remains influence the way that urban places are reimagined and developed. I argue for creative approaches to conservation that more self-consciously bring received cultural horizons into dialogue with the particular demands of the project to better understand both. Only then can the places we make bring with them opportunities to ethically interpret our commitment to a city held in common.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Tajganj (Agra, India); heritage conservation
Subjects: 700 The arts; fine & decorative arts > 720 Architecture
Department: The CASS
Depositing User: Mary Burslem
Date Deposited: 16 Apr 2018 11:14
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2018 11:39
URI: http://repository.londonmet.ac.uk/id/eprint/1425

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