Materials Research

The negation of history and all things ‘historical’ and ‘traditional’ during the Modern period and the advent of the use of cement in the early twentieth century marked the decline of the traditional building crafts and skills. A need is thus felt for the study of traditional technologies and a revival of the traditional skills.  Brick, stone, and mortar (as clay, lime, sand, surkhi, etc.) remain the most important traditional construction materials and a knowledge of their use and production is very essential for restoration. Research on all these materials; testing, production, and use, is underway in our laboratory. Our samples here were included in the 2021 Discovering Samples Archives, ICCROM. A discussion and Discovering Samples Archives webinar followed.

Lime Center, Kolkata, an initiative of Mansara, was developed as a laboratory for material analysis in collaboration with Kolkata Scottish Heritage Trust, Scotland and Scottish Lime Center, Charlestown, as part of the conservation project of the Scottish Cemetery, Kolkata. KSHT funding KLC from 2013-2015 to carry out various researches on material analysis and heritage sensitization workshops. In 2014-15, INTACH Heritage Academy, New Delhi also sponsored KLC to undertake research on lime mortars in India. Currently we are working on traditional mortars in India and South East Asia supported by a grant from Gerda Henkel Stiftung, Germany. As an outcome of this research and the Kolkata Lime Centre, a lab was set up at CEPT, Ahmedabad, a premier architecture university of India.