The Municipal Corporation Building, Mumbai located in South Mumbai in MaharashtraIndia is a Grade IIA heritage building (‘V’ shaped as viewed from top) opposite to the Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus (a UNESCO World heritage site) at the junction of Dadabhai Naoroji Road and Mahapalika Marg. It is also known as the Bombay

Municipal Corporation Building, or BMC building for short.[1][2]

As the name suggests, the building houses the civic body that governs the city of Mumbai, which is now named the Brihanmumbai Mahanagar Palika (Marathi: बृहन्मुंबई महानगर पालिका) or the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai and which has as its motto, "यतो धर्मस्ततो जय" (Sanskrit: Yato Dharmastato Jaya or, Where there is Righteousness, there shall be Victory), inscribed on the banner of its Coat of Arms.[3][4] It is said to be the largest civic organization in the country and covers an area of 434 km2 (167.6 sq mi)[5] Sir Pherozeshah Mehta and Sir Dinshaw Wacha prominent citizens were members of the Municipal Corporation.[6]


Two designs were considered for the building; one of the Gothic designs done by F. W. Stevens and the other in the Indo-Saracenic design presented by Robert Fellowes Chisholm. The Gothic design was finally selected. The building was completed in 1893. The building is known for its 255 ft (77.7 m) tall tower. The chief architectural feature is the central dome that rises to a height of 71.5 m (234.6 ft).[1] The gable has a huge winged allegorical figure representing the 'urbs prima in Indis', the first city of India as it was to be known then. The richly molded and paneled Council Chamber has a ceiling of unpolished teak. Records also support that at these environs Phansi Talao or Gallows Tank, where public hangings took place, was located.[7][8][9] During the period 1100 to 1500 AD the architecture of churches constructed with ornamental arches with ribs supported by buttresses resulted in the subsequent idea of the framed structural design with grandeur and monumentality during the renaissance period of 1500–1700 AD, as the distinct style; the Bombay Municipal Corporation building, the Victoria Terminus, the Rajabai tower and theUniversity of Bombay are some examples of this style. The old style of dome construction was also revived and became popular. The period from 1750 onwards was considered to be the period of modern

architecture.[10] The Gothic architecture with controlled composition custom–made to the climatic extremes of the city hascusped window arches and elaborately domed corner towers.[11]The BMC was created in 1865 and Arthur Crawford was its first Municipal Commissioner. The Municipality was initially housed in a modest building at the terminus of Girgaum Road. In 1870, it was shifted to a building on the Esplanade, located between Watson Hotel and the Sassoon Mechanics Institute where the present Army & Navy building is situated. On December 9, 1884, the foundation stone for the new building of the Bombay Municipal Corporation was laid opposite Victoria Terminus now known as Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus, by the then ViceroyLord Ripon.[7]

At the entrance to the BMC stands an impressive bronze statue of Sir Pherozshah Mehta that gives a picturesque view of the roads and buildings in front (pictured).[6]

[edit]Heritage status and restorationEdit

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The Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee of the Municipal Corporation of Mumbai has categorized the heritage buildings of Mumbai under the guidelines prepared for the purpose. According to these guidelines, the Municipal Corporation Building, Bombay has been categorized by the Bombay Municipal Corporation as Grade II A. The list of heritage buildings, as categorized on April 24, 2005, under Grade I, Grade II, Grade IIA, Grade III and Precincts are 591. For the Bombay Municipal Corporation Building, the details are elaborated below.[2][2] [12]

157. Grade-IIA Bombay Municipal Corporation (MCGM Headquarter) - Value Classification - A(his), I(sce), C(seh) A(arch), B(per), B(des), F

Grade-II (A&B) is defined as:[12]

Buildings, of regional or local importance, possessing special architectural or aesthetical merit, cultural or historical value, though of a lower scale than in Heritage Grade. They are local landmarks, contributing to the image and identity of the City.

As per the defined “Scope for Changes (Grade-IIA)”, the restorations permitted are:[12]

Internal changes, and adaptive reuse will be generally allowed, but external changes will be subject to scrutiny Care would be taken to ensure the conservation of all special aspects for which it is included in Heritage Grade-II.

The “Abbreviations of Criteria (Classification)” used for listing of buildings and conservation areas are:[12]

a) Value for architectural, historical or cultural reasons A- architectural A(arc) - historical A(his) - cultural A(cul) b) The date and / or period and / or design and / or unique use of the buildings or artefact B - period B(per) - design B(des) - use B(uu) c) Relevance to social or economic history C (seh) d) Association with well-known persons or events D (bio) e) A building or groups of buildings and / or areas, of a distinct architectural design and / or style, historic period or way of life having sociological interest and / or community value E - Style - Historical f) The unique value of a building or architectural features or artifact and / or being part of a chain of architectural development that would be broken if it were lost F g) Its value as a part of a group of buildings G (grp) h) Representing forms of technological development H (tec) i) Vistas of natural / scenic beauty or interest, including water–front areas, distinctive and / or planned lines of sight, street line, skyline or topographical I (sce) j) Open spaces sometimes integrally planned with their associated areas having a distinctive way of life and for which are and have the potential to be areas of recreation J


In keeping with the above categorization, the restoration works of the Municipal Corporation Building, Mumbai was planned by a panel of three conservation architects, namely, Abha Narain Lambah, Shashi Prabhu and Shimul Zaveri Kadri. The restoration plan for the 125 year old BMC Gothic structure envisages a) restoration of interiors and the exterior – from the roof tiles to the exquisite Minton tiles inside and to stained glass work and b) strengthening several wooden beams.[12] In the first phase the structure would be restored to its original glory involving replacement of broken tiles, repair of statues,and removal

of plants and moss.[12]

The subsequent phases of restoration would involve a) reorganization of office space within the building to improve the operational efficiency of staff members, b) 'Citizens Facilitation Centre' and party offices in the ground floor and c) Corporation Hall to be modified for a larger seating arrangement by including outer corridors and opening the wooden doors to increase its seating capacity from 200 to 300.[12]

Estimated to cost Rs 80 crore (US$ 16 million, at current exchange rate), approved by the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee and the civic administration, it is the largest and most comprehensive conservation concept undertaken in the city, without disturbing the routine work of the civic affairs and administration of the BMC.[12]

The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM), as the primary agency responsible for urban governance, has also signed an MOU with NGO Council to work closely with NGOs in the fields of education, public health, creation of urban amenities, art and culture and heritage conservation.[13]

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