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2007 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Award Winners

1. Altit 2007 extra - Copy

1b 2007 Astana of syed

1b 2007 Liu Family residence

11. Convocation Hall 2007 extra

Bonython Hall

Galle Fort

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Lijiang Ancient Town

Little Hongkong

Maitreya Temples

-Whitfield 01

Press Release: English

The Maitreya Temples (Ladakh, India) have been honoured with the Award of Excellence in the 2007 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards for Culture Heritage Conservation.  

The three Awards of Distinction went to the Convocation Hall (Mumbai, India), the Altit Settlement (Gilgit, Pakistan) and the Galle Fort Hotel (Galle, Sri Lanka). The four Awards of Merit include Bonython Hall (Adelaide, Australia), Lijiang Ancient Town (Yunnan, China), Little Hong Kong (Hong Kong SAR, China) and the Astana of Syed Yahya (Skardu, Pakistan). Two Honourable Mention prizes were also announced. They are the Liu Family Civil Residence (Shanxi, China) and the Old St. Andrew’s School (Singapore).
A total of 25 entries have been received for the 2007 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards for Culture Heritage Conservation. The conservation project submissions include hotels, offices, cultural institutions, educational institutions, religious sites, memorials, public institutions, residential buildings and urban districts from 10 countries in the region. 

The 2007 Heritage Awards Jury Commendation for Innovation was awarded to Whitfield Barracks (Hong Kong SAR, China). 

Further information about the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation and this year’s winning entries can be found at:

Award of Excellence

Maitreya Temples Complex

Ladakh, India

The heroic restoration of the Maitreya Temples Complex in Ladakh, India, sets a regional standard for conservation that combines grass-roots advocacy with the highest levels of technical excellence. The project has overcome tremendous challenges due to its remote location, precarious setting on a rocky outcrop undermined by erosion and years of neglect. The stabilization of the three temples and the conservation of the significant wall paintings were carried out on the basis of meticulous documentation using both traditional craftsmanship and modern science. The sustained efforts by the Basgo Welfare Committee to underpin development with heritage conservation have placed culture at the centre of community revitalization; while the contributions of the local community, in terms of both skills and resources, have allowed for the safeguarding of an iconic but endangered part of the heritage of the Himalayan region.

Award of Distinction

Altit Settlement

Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan

The village of Altit is located at the foot of the old Altit Fort. With a history dating back over 900 years, it is known for its characteristic Hunza Valley urban architecture. Threatened by decay, the village was restored as a pilot intervention that has demonstrated the feasibility of preserving and rehabilitating such historic settlements, so that people can sustain life at contemporary standards in harmony with the traditional built environment. The project was completed in 2004 through a partnership between NGOs, government and the local community.

Convocation Hall

Mumbai, India

The restoration of the Convocation Hall of the University of Mumbai has demonstrated superb, interdisciplinary technical achievement that has elegantly renewed one of the city’s finest Victorian buildings. A rigorous technical study allowed for the thorough understanding of the building’s dilapidation and framed the subsequent conservation works. The project was marked by a tremendous attention to detail, which entailed a range of appropriate conservation methods and the sourcing of materials and decorative elements from around the country and from Europe, thereby retaining the material authenticity of the building. This architectural jewel now stands beautifully restored at the centre of historic Mumbai as an example to be followed in other municipal projects and as model to be studied by the many future generations of students who will have the privilege of utilizing this inspiring space.

Galle Fort Hotel

Galle, Sri Lanka

The Galle Fort Hotel was first built as a residence by a local Muslim Family in the fifteenth century and has been subsequently reconstructed to be a family home in the 1950s. The present occupants bought the house to convert it into a hotel and therefore needed to undertake restoration, repair and improvement of facilities in the house. The project carefully removed new structures in the interior and exterior and restored the building in keeping with its traditional architectural style.

Award of Merit

Astana of Syed Mir Yahya

Baltistan, Pakistan

The recovery of the Astana of Syed Mir Yahya by the Shigar community in Skardu, Pakistan, has rescued an important local religious landmark on the brink of ruin in a modest and culturally appropriate manner. Through the active involvement of the local residents, and drawing upon other excellent models of community-led conservation undertaken in the Northern Areas of Pakistan, the project has itself become a notable example of successful local restoration effort. Through the voluntary efforts of the villagers and the use of traditional building techniques to realign and stabilize the structure, the tomb has been returned to its former status as the central cultural symbol of the village.

Bonython Hall

Adelaide, Australia

The Bonython Hall serves as the great hall of the University of Adelaide. It was built between 1933 and 1936 by Sir John Langdon Bonython to meet the university’s need for an assembly hall. The Tudor Gothic hall is built in masonry similar to the medieval structure of great halls of early British universities. In 2005, conservation work was begun to improve comfort and safety for university staff, students and visitors, while carefully maintaining its cultural heritage significance, as embodied in the internal and external fabric of the building. The Bonython Hall was listed in the South Australian Heritage Register in 1980, underscoring its architectural, social, and educational heritage values.

Lijiang Ancient Town

Yunnan Province, China

The ancient town of Lijiang, located in Yunnan province, is renowned for its diverse local cultures and ethnic flavours. After being listed as a World Heritage site in 1997, the rapid growth of local tourism has had a great impact on the city. In 2002, the process of conservation planning for the historic city was started. So far, 174 traditional houses long with the historic landscape have been restored in a manner which retains their authenticity.

Little Hong Kong

Hong Kong SAR, China

Little Hong Kong, or the Central Ordinance Munitions Depot, was constructed in 1937 by the British Royal Engineers. The site was a secure military facility specifically designed to store arms and ammunition in the past. The client approached the government in early 2002 with a successful proposal that included an innovative commercial use of the underground bunkers. Since its inception, the restored Little Hong Kong has played host to a clubhouse and museum. These have ensured its long term survival through sustainable and compatible business practices, while also play an important role in raising awareness about this period in Hong Kong’s history.

Honourable Mention

Liu Family Civil Residence

Shanxi Province, China

The Liu Family Civil Residence is located in Xi Wen Xing Village in Shanxi province and was built during the Tang Dynasty, over a thousand years ago. The building’s design, construction and decorative works are on par with the highest level of traditional Chinese building techniques and crafts. A conservation project was prepared in 1986 and started in 2001 under the supervision of cultural and construction experts. The building was carefully disassembled, and then reassembled using traditional building techniques.

The Old St. Andrew's School

Woodsville, Singapore

The conservation of the Old St. Andrew’s School in Singapore is notable for maintaining the integrity and character of the austere missionary school by adhering to a policy of maximum retention of the original building fabric and features. The project has demonstrated an understanding of the technical issues affecting the building and has undertaken the necessary work to strengthen the building and adapt it for contemporary reuse in a restrained manner. The involvement of the school’s alumni throughout the project, from the early documentary study to the selection of the façade colour, has revived its historical identity as both a local landmark as well as a community hub.

2007 UNESCO Jury Commendation of Innovation Winners

Whitfield Barracks

Hong Kong SAR, China

This contemporary intervention to the former Whitfield Barracks has successfully reconfigured the historic military complex into the Heritage Discovery Centre. The new lightweight structure forms the core of the complex, thereby acting as a central circulation node linking all spaces. The transparency of the glass skin, designed in a modern architectural vocabulary, creates continuity between the interior and exterior spaces. The addition provides a fitting counterpoint to the ninety-year-old barracks and integrates seamlessly into the surrounding park context.