1 Melnikov House, Moscow

The Melnikov house is one of the most important private houses of the 20th century and of international importance.

The proposal is to convert the house into a museum. Initial discussions have been on the basis of up to 150 visitors a day. Some additional works to stiffen the structure may be required to accommodate the increased loads generated by visitors to the house.

Humayun's tomb, Delhi

The tomb of Humayun, the second Mughal emperor, is a World Heritage Site in south Delhi. Built between 1562 and 1571 the domed mausoleum with its surrounding buildings and landscape was the first major tomb complex. The Aga Khan Trust for Culture is carrying out a major project, in partnership with the state authorities and private organisations to repair the tomb and provide public access to a large area of open ground immediately to the north that contains a number of historic buildings. The other aspect of the project is more wide-ranging works within the dense urban village of Nizamuddin to the west that grew around the 14th century shrine of a Sufi saint.

We have prepared reports on all the main structures in the project area and set out proposals for conservation-based repairs. One 16th century tomb lies near to the main railway line and our appraisal has included an assessment of the implications of vibrations from passing trains.

Near the shrine of Sheikh Nizam-ud-Din there are two exceptional structures with particular problems. Chaunsath Khamba, or 64 Pillars, is a 17th century hall built from marble. There are extensive problems with corrosion of ironwork built into the marble domes and a trial repair has successfully been carried out that replaces the iron with stainless steel fixings.

The Baoli is a large reservoir that is reputed to have been built by the sheikh and his followers. It therefore forms part of the pilgrimage route during festivals when the local population increases from about 20,000 to up to 3 million. A corner of the masonry wall below the main route from the shrine collapsed without warning during 2008. We have specified emergency support works, looked at the causes of the failure and considered how the wall can be stabilised and rebuilt to match the original appearance.

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Red Sea Town, Saudi Arabia

We provided advice on over 200 buildings in four towns along the Red Sea coast. The buildings range from single room fisherman’s’ stores to four-storey houses and are all built with coral stonewalls. Many are in a very poor condition. A pilot project in each town will look at reviving traditional building skills and establishing attractions for locals and tourists.

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Blue Mosque, Cairo

The Blue Mosque dates from 1347 and had major alterations and additions in 1652. Following an earthquake in 2002 temporary supports were added to the structure between the courtyard and the qibla wall.

We were instructed by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) to prepare a structural engineering report on two areas of Mosque. These are (i) the proposed removal of temporary support works which were installed in 2001 and (ii) the need for any remedial works to the joints in the structure between the original 14th century walls and the 17th century mausoleum of Ibrahim Agha Mustafahzan.

Our brief has been to identify the main structural engineering issues, determine what investigations are required and set out the principles of any repairs.

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