Government set to demolish last art deco style building

Kathmandu, September 27

The government is preparing to demolish the only remaining art deco style building located in Babarmahal.

The building currently houses Postal Training Centre under the Postal Services Department. Officials at the centre said they were all set to demolish the building as it was badly damaged in the April 25 earthquake.

“The building will be completely demolished and a modern structure will be erected by the National Reconstruction Authority,” said Pritha Raj Katuwal, instructor at the center. “Currently, we have been using the ground floor of the building.”

Although the art deco style building has historical and cultural significance, neither the postal department nor the Department of Archeology has shown any interest in preserving it. “We have received no complaint against the demolition of the building,” said Spokesperson at the department, Ram Bahadur Kunwar.

The building was constructed between 1920 and 1960 when the art deco type buildings were being constructed worldwide. According to the archaeologist Duwal, all other art deco style buildings, except the one at Babarmahal, collapsed in the April 25 earthquake.

“That is the only art deco style building left after the earthquake,” archeologist Duwal said, adding,“The original style of the building needs to be retained.”

Architect Varun SJB Rana accused the government of having lost a sense of national identity. “Instead of preserving historical buildings, the government is demolishing them,” he said. “I request the government to retrofit the building instead of bringing it down altogether.”

Meanwhile, locals around the Kashthamandap, which collapsed in the earthquake last year, have urged the government to retain the original design of the historical monument. Locals have urged the government not to award reconstruction projects to lowest bidders but to those who comply with the Post-Disaster Recovery Framework.

They have also demanded that locals and cultural experts be involved in reconstruction projects.