History The Cathedral and John Connon School is a coeducational school run by the Anglo Scottish Education society. Spread over four buildings - the Infant, Junior, Middle and Senior Schools, the school has about 1700 students studying from transition (upper k.g.) to the twelfth grade. The project was a multifaceted one, and we often felt the logistics touched battlefield proportions! The task involved the upgradation of the existing school buildings, each located independently, without disrupting the normal functioning of the school. Three of the buildings are in the Victorian Gothic style of architecture, while the fourth was built in the 1960's. The building that was taken up first for restoration was the Middle School, designed by John Adams, Architectural Executive to the Government of Bombay.
The restoration work began in January 1993 and was completed in June 1994. The next building to be taken up for restoration was the Senior School, in 1995. Ugly additions to the original heritage building were partially demolished and replaced by compatible and sensitive extensions. The project was executed in two phases with the R.C.C. framed structure being taken up in Phase I and completed in November 1996. Phase II, which comprised the restoration and renovation of the original heritage building, was completed by November 1998, after which work on the Junior School started. The school was awarded the IIA-KITPLY AWARD FOR CONSERVATION in 1994. This stone masonry building was originally built around 1902. However, at least two later additions had been made, due to which ugly R.C.C. extensions had been attached to the main stone building. Structurally the building was quite sound, however, a few cracks were visible in the old stone building because of the weakening of the mortar due to age. Some of the wooden joists had rotted and given way at the ends. The brick coba laid over the wooden floor joists had deteriorated considerably over the years and had to be reinforced with steel before new flooring could be laid. Ad hoc additions of cabins and toilets in the corridors had caused a major problem with circulation and services. Sewage lines
punctured the corridors and ran along the ceilings, finally emptying into inspection chambers located on the ground floor. The haphazard addition of asbestos cement and galvanised iron sheet chajjas to the old stone building detracted from the stone arches and openings. Municipal regulations required that the existing plinth of the building be retained and the height restricted even with the addition of a completely new floor. Any further expansions at ground level would have reduced the already scarce play area for the children. The cluttered corridors needed to be cleared by relocating existing cabins, rooms and toilets, and re-organising and relocating service areas in order to provide easy access to the building.
The architectural response to these constraints was to leave the faade of the old building untouched, except for removing the asbestos sheet roofing and wooden add-on canopies that were in a state of near collapse, and to completely expose the arches and openings. All rooms and cabins in the corridors were demolished, giving easy access from one part of the building to the other, without having to cut through the classrooms, and at the same time increasing light and ventilation. The original entry in the South had to be changed because of a change in traffic circulation. The present entry into the building has been accentuated by the introduction of an entrance canopy and porch with the school crest boldly displayed in front. Even though contemporary materials like glass blocks and anodised steel sections have been introduced, a feeling of continuity is maintained by matching the colour of the anodised steel sections to the stone. The glass blocks tie into the white marble mosaic flooring, which in turn extends from the R.C.C. structure to the old stone building. Ceramic tile borders jump from the R.C.C. structure to the skirting and back, giving a feeling of rhythm.