Restoration work, estimated to cost ₹5 crore, to be over in four months time
The work of restoring the Old Court Building, a heritage structure on the beach promenade, is nearing completion.
Most of the structural work and masonry has been completed and the restoration works on the 148-year-old building is expected to be completed in the next four months.
The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) is the architectural consultant for the Public Works Department, which has taken up the restoration work estimated to cost ₹ 5 crore.
The foundation stone for restoration of the building was laid by the then Chief Minister N. Rangasamy in March 2015.
Built in 1870, the Grade II A heritage structure is an important landmark in the city and forms part of an ensemble of important structures such as the old lighthouse, Customs House and French consulate on Goubert Avenue.
The two-storey building with load bearing masonry structure and lime mortar was used as a court of appeal and a law school. It was built on the site of Hotel De La Marine in 1766. Later it was the Hôtel du commandant du génie in 1788, and the Cour d’appel from 1884 to 1955. It functioned as a court till 2008. “It is one of the most beautiful heritage buildings on the beachfront. The original building featured an arcaded ground floor and colonnaded first floor. Most of the colonnades and arches in the structure have been completed.
Traditional materials such as Madras Terrace roofing and lime mortar were used for the restoration, said an INTACH official.
INTACH has proposed a law museum, a library and conference-cum research hall on the ground floor. The first floor will have three suites, kitchen and dining facility with wooden flooring. INTACH has also proposed an inventory of the interior of the building including exhibits on French laws and artefacts associated with the erstwhile French rule.