Heritage Foundation has demarcated a number of historic districts of Karachi which require attention and conservation. Among the most significant is the historic district of the landmark Denso Hall. Titled the Denso Hall Virsa Shahr or Denso Hall Heritage Precinct, it comprises the stretch of Marriott Road from Sharah-e-Altaf Hussain to Serai Road, and several buildings adjoining and including the historic Denso Hall that line the Marriott Road on both its sides and along the Denso Hall side of the M.A. Jinnah Road (earlier Bunder Road). The buildings in the Denso Hall Virsa Shahr are among the oldest historic buildings of the city, while the area itself is part of the original Old Town of the city of Karachi.
Under its Corporate Social Responsibility program, The Karachi Electric Supply Company signed here a Memorandum of Understanding with Heritage Foundation for restoration of 123-year old Victorian-age building, Denso Hall, to its past glory. The Denso Hall was built as the first library and hall for the natives (as opposed to the ruling class of Europeans) of Karachi and as such carries immense significance. It is important that this remarkable building is maintained as part of a group of heritage buildings to portray historic 19th century Karachi for the benefit of future generations. KESC and Heritage Foundation in partnership with CDGK will work towards preservation of the area as a cultural precinct to provide a platform for the portrayal of the culture of diverse communities of Karachi; to foster pride and ownership of Karachi by its citizens; and the promotion of the precinct as a significant tourist destination which will help in poverty alleviation and generation of livelihoods for communities living in the area.
As a “human value” contribution to the landmark project, KESC will allocate a core team of managers and skilled workers to help execute the Denso Hall preservation, envisaged to be the first of a number of such partnerships that the 96-year-old utility will embark on in the city the coming months.
The KESC, in close cooperation of CDGK, will undertake the project as sole sponsor, which includes cleanup of external façade of Denso Hall and adjacent buildings in Marriott Road , M. A. Jinnah Road; a general cleaning and improvement of sewerage and water lines and electricity cables; and, removal of encroachments. The aim is to rehabilitate and preserve the Venetian Gothic architecture of Denso Hall which was designed by James Stratchan and constructed in 1886 by local Gizri sandstone, originally in memory of Max Denso, a prominent Karachi resident who was the President of Karachi Chamber of Commerce in 1870-71.
According to the memorandum, signed by Naveed Ismail, CEO KESC on behalf of KESC and Ms. Yasmeen Lari, Chairperson of Heritage Foundation, the KESC will be the exclusive supporter of the project for safeguarding Karachi’s architectural heritage. The Heritage Foundation will implement the work plan, organize volunteers program for participation of students and other workers, including KESC employees, and arrange events around the place for promotion and awareness of heritage and culture. The City District Government of Karachi would facilitate the project in civic amenities areas and provide basic maintenance. The City Council passed a resolution for renovation and preservation of historic Denso Hall on June 26 this year.
KESC intends to execute various such programs over the next few years that alongside the core goals of product and service delivery make Karachi a more environmentally compelling city for ordinary citizens. We are keen to restore historically valuable assets in Karachi and reinforce their position as vital cultural monuments. We take pleasure in partnering with CDGK, Heritage Foundation and the people of Karachi in this unique, sustainable improvement program for this city.