Part of damaged building, comprising eight bays of arches, may be removed

The State government has decided to reconstruct the Kalas Mahal using similar materials and technology employed in the original 18 century heritage building, which was destroyed in a fire on January 16.

As part of the reconstruction, a part of the damaged building, comprising eight bays of arches, may be removed.

The decision is based on the recommendations of a committee that was constituted by the State government to assess the structural stability of the heritage building.

The committee, comprising the former dean of Anna University A.R. Santhakumar, Public Works Department Engineer-in-Chief (Buildings) R. Gopalakrishnan, and the former chief urban planner of the CMDA, C. Palanivelu, had also observed that the repair and restoration of “the structure to its original condition is not viable”.

The committee had also recommended that the “precariously loose joists, charred wooden beams and debris should be brought down or removed using crane,” while the “freestanding walls or piers should be temporarily supported with lateral braces and ties.”

The recent fire in the 244-year-old building destroyed important government documents, injured three and left one fireman dead.

The building is the earliest example of Indo-Saracenic architecture and formed the core of the Chepauk palace, which that was once home to the Nawabs of Arcot.