BMC to restore century-old ENT hospital building in Fort

ENT hospital at Fort; (L) how building will look when its tower is recreated

Charles Stevens, son of renowned architect Frederick William Stevens of the Victorian Neo-Gothic BMC headquarters and Victoria Terminus fame, was known for designing iconic structures in the Fort business district too.

One of the structures Charles Stevens designed houses a civic-run ENT hospital. The first phase of its restoration, which began for the first time more than a century after the structure was built in 1904, is now complete.

The BMC had begun restoring and renovating the building to bring it on par with the civic headquarters and Victoria Terminus, now known as CSMT, in January 2017. As part of the restoration project, plans are also afoot to recreate a 20-foot tower over the structure which had gone missing decades ago. The BMC has budgeted Rs 24 crore for the work.

The restoration will be carried out in phases. In the first phase, which concluded this month, the audiology and pathology departments, the modular operation theatre and the OPD room were renovated. Currently, the entire structure is being strengthened and roofing and restoration of the registration room is being carried out.

The civic-run Seth Atmasingh Jessasingh Bankebihari Ear-Nose-Throat (ENT) Hospital stands at the crucial intersection of M G Road, Maharshi Dadhichi Marg and Murzban Road. Yet, there are many who fail to notice the impressive premises.

Civic officials said records show the structure was built in 1904 in the neo-classical style and was to then house offices of the Bombay City Improvement Trust. The ground-plus-two-storey structure was converted into Bankebehari ENT Hospital in 1964.

Ever since the building was constructed back in 1904, it had not undergone any major repairs even once.

“We pulled out old photographs and found there was a tower atop the building which probably served as a circulation area. We plan to recreate it to restore the identity of the structure,” said an official.

Rahul Chemburkar of Vastu Vidhan Projects, appointed for the conservation work, said the tower will be recreated with glass-reinforced concrete (GRC) and the clading will be done with mangalore tiles. “The work has to be very meticulous considering that it is a habitable building. The design too must be able to take the wind load. We want to reconstruct the tower in such a manner that it does not become a liability for the structure but looks graceful,” said Chemburkar. The tower area will be used as a viewing gallery.

Municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta said restoration of heritage structures is important for any city. “However, we are carrying out the works in isolation. Various heritage structures around the area are being restored to their original glory.”

Source: The Times Of India

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