The demolition of the canteen on the CEPT University premises on Sunday has sparked a social media outcry among its alumni and extended student fraternity. A set of buildings, including the stationery shop, a jam room for musicians, a design workshop, several benches built by students, the iconic CEPT canteen building built by noted architect and former director of School of Architecture, (CEPT) Kurula Varkey and designed by BV Doshi were pulled down Sunday even as its pictures appeared on various social media forums.
While BV Doshi could not be reached for his comments, architect and CEPT alumni Parth Shah said, “The canteen was BV Doshi’s design which I developed along with Professor Kurula Varkey in 2001-2002, so the three of us have worked on it. I heard about it being pulled down through conversations on various social media, where the issue was being discussed. When an old building that you have built gets pulled down, you feel bad and unhappy about it. Even in many global universities as a practice – old buildings don’t have to pulled down to make way for new buildings. I don’t know why we cannot find ways to keep old buildings while making new additions, as it has been done like the IIM Ahmedabad.”
A current UG student at CEPT said, “Each time we come back on campus, new systems and things are introduced to us without our consent or consultation. No plans are shared with students and CEPT’s tradition of having a consultative approach is no more followed here. The student council has not been informed about this, all they know is that a new building committee will be formed next semester and a review on the demolitions will be done after the buildings have already been brought down.”
Sources said students had protested against the razing of the design workshop at a meeting with the CEPT officials and architecture students had been reportedly using the space last semester in a bid to save it.
The demolition led to reactions of outcry and shock from various alumni who took to posting comments online.
An official statement by CEPT University on Monday stated, “The canteen and other services at CEPT have been under great deal of stress and were in need of significant upgrade for a long time. This is because of the increase in number of students since the time when these were originally built. The Building Committee of CEPT University has charged Rahul Mehrotra with designing of the Shrenikbhai Plaza and surrounding support services, including the canteen. Early ideas of the Plaza and surrounding areas were shared with students and faculty members at CEPT when Rahul Mehrotra made a presentation on the new Library on August 19, 2015.” CEPT officials also said that Doshi was not intimated about the demolition of the buildings, as he had not designed them.