2000 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Award Winners
UNESCO received twenty-six entries for the inaugural UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage 2000 Awards. The projects were located in twelve different countries and administrative areas: Antarctica, Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Macau, Malaysia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.
Award winners were announced in September 2000 with the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion in Penang, Malaysia, recognized with the Award of Excellence. Photos and brief project summaries of this year's entries are given in this section.
The entries ranged from conservation to adaptive use, from single family homes to expansive commercial buildings with religious and educational buildings of various sizes in between. All demonstrated that a strong preservation ethic is alive and well in the region, thanks in part to these projects, for many of them served as demonstration projects and catalysts for local preservation activity.
Most Excellent Project
The restoration of the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion is an exceptional achievement for the conservation movement in Penang. It served as a model for restoration projects in the George Town community and its impact prompted stronger heritage measures in the city and, indeed, the broader region. A meticulous application of research coupled with scientific analysis, traditional artisan skills, and when necessary, imported materials and workmanship, ensured the authenticity and methodology of its reconstruction.
The rehabilitation of the Chanwar Palkhiwalon-ki-haveli ruins demonstrates that even severely deteriorated historic structures can be saved, restored to near their original condition and given a prolonged life in an economically practical way. Utilizing local artisans and materials resulted in economic revitalization among participants, with several eventually establishing their own construction firms specializing in historic rehabilitation. The high visibility project became a catalyst for master plan conservation of the 800-year-old historic town of Amber.
Gwangnam Province, Vietnam
Restoration of the historic vernacular structures in Hoi An Town exemplifies a holistic conservation strategy within a community. The collaborative efforts of international experts and local artisans followed a well-defined plan of survey, selection and restoration, integrated with skills training and knowledge transfer during the reconstruction. The inclusion of structures housing a variety of private and commercial uses promotes long-term viability of the community through continuation of its historic tradition of productive commercial and domestic diversity.
Restoration of the Hotel de l’Orient proves that successful heritage conservation does not require massive intervention or rebuilding. This inspiring project was completed with minimal intervention, done relatively inexpensively, and maintained the integrity of both the original exterior and the interior architecture. The care and attention given to original design elements in the interior restoration give the Hotel de l’Orient admirable charm and historic authenticity. The addition of two guestrooms and a staircase in order to make the project economically viable illustrates the creative approach to the structure’s adaptive conservation. In addition to contributing to the cultural enhancement of the community, the popularity of the hotel has validated the decision to restore the building rather than demolish it.
Hong Kong SAR, China
Restoration of the Hung Shing Old Temple was a community preservation project with full involvement of not only local villagers but far-flung members of the extended clan. The restoration was bold enough to remove inappropriate modern accretions, thus evoking an earlier phase of the building’s history when the community was at its most cohesive and prosperous, taking the traditional regional approach to preservation but also calling upon conservation experts as appropriate.
Hong Kong SAR, China
The conservation and restoration of the Ohel Leah Synagogue to its original condition illustrates the efforts of a cultural congregation to preserve its heritage as represented by its place of worship. The restoration of this building demonstrates how heritage conservation not only preserves the cultural life of a community but can also inspire a renewed sense of pride among its members. The building has retained its original use as well as scrupulously maintained the original design of the structure - a design which has both symbolic connotations and historic associations. The quality of the restoration work, which was carried out to be the highest international standard, ensures that the historic Ohel Leah Synagogue will continue to serve the community well into the future, as a living symbol of the city's diversity and vitality.
Zhenjiang CIty jiangsu Province, China
Restoration of the residence of the late Dr Zhang Yunpen shows what can be achieved when a single individual chooses heritage conservation and restores his property to the state intended by his ancestors. This project is an example of determined preservation in a situation of ongoing demolition and reconstruction and attendant loss of heritage. The restoration is an endeavour to properly maintain an ancestral residence using traditional materials and techniques and to single-handedly promote, by example, the culture of maintenance in the surrounding community.
Restoration of the structures of St. Patrick’s College gave a new, yet congruent, adaptive reuse as a tourism training institute, preserving the dignity and scholarly character of these buildings. The project successfully incorporated all required services in the face of tough integration issues. The high quality of workmanship is evidenced by the meticulous work and careful attention to every interior and exterior detail. In illustrating the benefits of heritage preservation to students involved in the tourism industry, the project can be expected to have a far-reaching impact upon the heritage conservation movement.
Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
Restoration and conservation of the Harischandra Building demonstrates the successful adaptation of an existing structure for a new contemporary use. The building is now a residence for monks teaching at the Mahavihara Parivena (monks’ teaching institution). Located in the World Heritage city of Anuradhapura, this project is a remarkable step towards the involvement of the community in the pursuit of conservation of local cultural heritage and the promotion of adaptive reuse of historic structures.
Commonwealth Bay, Antarctica
The conservation of Mawson’s Huts Historic Site demonstrates that even simple buildings, and those of recent vintage, have distinctive character and are part of the heritage of our built environment and should be saved. Conservation of the Mawson’s Huts, humble quarters of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE) 1911-1914, preserves the memory of our community’s aspirations and accomplishments. The restoration project itself is a good example for the professional community of how to conduct an extremely complex project with a lot of inherent unknowns.
Bandung Jawa Barat, Indonesia
The restoration and reconstruction of the Residence of Charles Prosper Wolff Schoemaker is the result of the heroic effort of the Bandung Society for Heritage Conservation to rescue the residence of an influential Bandung architect from demolition. The project, of adapting a residence for reuse as a bank, demonstrates to the business community the viability of reusing historic structures for commercial purposes. It also proves that perseverance and activism in support of cultural heritage conservation is indeed worth the effort.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Relocation and restoration of the Rumah Penghulu, undertaken by Badan Warisan Malaysia, saved for posterity and opened to the public a significant historic structure that illustrates the beauty of vernacular Malaysian architecture and is at the same time associated with important events in local history. Though relocation is generally not the preferred means of preserving ancestral homes, in this instance relocation was an appropriate solution, for it saved a unique building that would have been lost in a few years.