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COMMEMORATING THE work of the brain behind the commercial palace of the city — the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) building — the Central Railway (CR) authorities paid an ode to Fredrick William Stevens, architect of the world heritage building, on his 169th birthday on Friday. The session touched upon the significance of his work and highlighted the nuances of his drawings of the building.
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Stevens was tasked with designing the offices of the Great Indian Peninsula Railway, the precursor to the Central Railway, in 1877. His other works include the design of various buildings including Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the Western Railway heritage building, the American oriental building, Army and Navy building and the Standard Chartered building in island city.
While explaining the drawings of his work, Muntasir Dalvi, heritage expert said, “The drawings of his work do reflect upon an idea of progress. It surely is a synthesis of contemporary and infrastructural means with stylistic impulses in them. The best part about his designs remain a Gothic touch along with a involvement of prismatic vagaries,” he said.
“The best part about his meticulous attention to details of the drawings remains that each of them on a major part was made by him. This gets reflected when we compare it to the actual building which remains very close to his work. One will also find sculptures of peacocks, moneys or representations of other flora and fauna of the city in existence at those times,” he added.
In 1996, the Victoria Terminus building was renamed the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) and later in 2004 was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO. Stevens was also the first architect to introduce towers or shapes of domes in the making of a building to define the skyline clearly, which were later adapted in many other structures.
“In his 33 years of being in the city, his seven architectural works have remained some of the strongest iconic monuments for Mumbai. The flourishing of cotton trade in the city funded architects then. His intricate attention to filling designs in space is something which is observed even till today,” said Vikas Dilwari, conservation architect.
The building which is at least 130 years old is a witness to thousands of tourists visiting the space to catch a glimpse of the historical building. Railway officials also released picture post cards and CDs of Steven’s work as a mark of remembrance.