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2010 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Award Winners

Singapore Hong san see temple

Khaplu Khanqah

Japan Red Brick Warehouse

-India Chowmahalla Palace

Fu long Taoist Temple

Old house in the Galle Fort

Ballaarat Mechanics Institute

Prince of Wales Museum

Conservation of North Xinjiao Street

Press Release: English

Hong San See Temple, Singapore, has been honoured with the Award of Excellence in the 2010 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation.

A total of 33 entries, from 14 countries in the region, were submitted for consideration. The conservation project entries include museums, hotels, cultural institutions, educational institutions, religious sites, industrial sites, public institutions, residential buildings, urban districts and islands.

Revived an important icon of Minnan temple architecture of the late Qing dynasty which is a living heritage landmark for the Lam Ann settlers and the Singapore community as a whole. The project’s rigorous conservation methodology has ensured that the authentic structure and fabric of the building are well-preserved. The community-based approach to restoration at Hong San See Temple stands to have a major impact in shifting the paradigm of conservation policy and practice in Singapore and around the region.

The two Awards of Distinction went to the Red Brick Warehouses in Yokohama, Japan and Gulabpur Khanqah in Skardu, Pakistan.

The three Awards of Merit include the Fu’long Taoist Temple in Sichuan, China; the Chowmahalla Palace in Hyderabad, India and the Old Houses in the World Heritage Fort of Galle in Sri Lanka.

Three Honourable Mentions were also announced. They are the Ballaarat Mechanics' Institute in Ballarat, Australia; North Xinjiao Street in Zhejiang, China and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (Prince of Wales Museum) in Mumbai, India.

No projects were selected for the 2010 Jury Commendation for Innovation. The Jury Commendation aims to recognize newly-built structures which demonstrate outstanding standards for contemporary architectural design which are well integrated into historic contexts. The 2010 Jury Commendation submissions include three projects (an educational institution, a city complex and a museum) from two countries in the region.

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

Hong San See Temple


The exceptional restoration of the Hong San See temple has revived an important icon of Minnan temple architecture of the late Qing dynasty which is a living heritage landmark for the Lam Ann settlers and the Singapore community as a whole.  The project serves as an inspirational exemplar in the application of meticulous historical research to conservation decision making concerning appropriate techniques and materials.  The project’s rigorous conservation methodology has ensured that the authentic structure and fabric of the building are well-preserved, while additions are designed to be compatible and reversible.  Moreover, by engaging the wider public through a variety of innovative fundraising and educational efforts, the project presents an innovative model for private-sector led conservation initiatives.  The community-based approach to restoration at Hong San See Temple stands to have a major impact in shifting the paradigm of conservation policy and practice in Singapore and around the region.

Award of Distinction

Gulabpur Khanqah

Skardu, Pakistan

The conservation of Gulabpur Khanqah has saved this 331-year old historic monument which served as the long-time centre of social, cultural, religious activities for the surrounding communities. The project demonstrates the inclusion of yet another building typology in the grassroots conservation movement already actively underway in Shigar. From a state of severe deterioration and degeneration, the building has been lovingly restored through the collaborative efforts of local community members, external funders and technical advisors. A process of intensive research and documentation created a thorough understanding of the building’s structure and dilapidation and informed the subsequent conservation work, which drew upon locally-available materials and artisans trained from previous restoration activities. The project has sensitively maintained the building’s patina and sense of history, while accommodating new building services such as electricity deemed necessary for its on-going function as a space of prayer, meditation, and communal mediation.  A great sense of commitment was demonstrated by the Gulabpur community, which makes the project an examplar of community-led architectural restoration undertaken with a view towards sustaining living cultural traditions.

Red Brick Warehouses

Yokohama, Japan

Witness to the history and course of industrial development of Japan over the past century, Yokohama’s beloved Red Brick Warehouses have been given a new lease on life through this forward- looking project.  Through nine years of diligent and sensitive restoration work, the symbolic warehouses have been revived as a vigorous civic space, allowing the citizens of Yokohama to retrace their city’s industrial heritage while enjoying a modern lifestyle complex.  The lively commercial reuse of the warehouse brings back the spirit of place to this historic trading hub.  The built fabric, which showcased the latest innovations for industrial architecture at the time of its construction, has been sensitively restored.  The project has deployed a series of outstanding technological solutions ranging from seismic retrofitting to historic window detailing.  Through a successful partnership between the private and public sectors at all levels, the Red Brick Warehouses have become a catalyst for urban regeneration in the historic Yokohama port area.

Award of Merit

Chowmahalla Palace

Hyderabad, India

The restoration of Chowmahalla Palace has rescued an extraordinary complex from years of abandonment and re-opened it up for contemporary civic use as a private museum after a meticulous process of restoration.  The project addressed a range of technical complexities with competence and a light touch.  Issues ranged from landscaping to building restoration to presenting historic artefacts for display.  With the support of a multi-disciplinary team of experts, the project has attained world-class conservation standards.  It has given impetus to reviving local building materials and traditional ways of construction.  The project has restored a cultural oasis in the heart of Hyderabad, providing the public a glimpse into the lives of the old ruling family of Asaf Jah.

Fu’long Taoist Temple

Sichuan Province, China

Launched in the immediate aftermath of the deadly 2008 earthquake in Sichuan province, the restoration of Fu’long Taoist Temple represents a noteworthy model for post-disaster reconstruction and restoration of cultural heritage.  As part of the Du’jiang’yan World Heritage property, the Northern Song dynasty ancestral temple is a historically and architecturally significant monument in the hydraulic landscape and suffered extensive damage from the earthquake.  Following a rapid damage assessment and the development of general guidelines, the project implemented a restoration methodology that called for design and construction to be executed almost simultaneously.  Structural stabilization, the removal of inappropriate reinforced concrete additions, the reinstatement of traditional timber framing and use of appropriate building techniques as well as materials were undertaken with the aim of guaranteeing the safety of the building.  At the same time, the works sought to simultaneously recover the authenticity and integrity of the structure.  The project was carried out in conformity with international conservation principles calling for retention of as much historic fabric as possible and restoration to the last known condition.  With completion achieved in a short 18-month span, the project has restored not only a major monument of outstanding value, but also the confidence and spirit of the people of Sichuan.

Old House in the Galle Fort

Galle, Sri Lanka

The restoration of 55 old houses in the World Heritage Fort of Galle has revived the characteristics of Dutch hybrid domestic architecture and restored the town’s historic streetscapes, which have been disappearing under the pressures of modernization. The reintroduction of the colonnaded open verandah has reinstated the semi-public zones along the streets and restored the original system of ventilation and cooling. The project emphasized the use of traditional materials such as half-round roofing tiles. Local artisans were trained in order to be able to sustain local building practices needed to restore and maintain the houses. The project is notable for valorizing privately-owned, non-listed historic houses in Sri Lanka, and pioneering a new model for preserving them using a combination of homeowner contributions and grant funding from a heritage foundation.

Honourable Mentions

Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute

Victoria, Australia

The refurbishment of the former Ballaarat Mechanic's Institute has restored the iconic landmark of the nineteenth century gold mining town and showcases a significant chapter of Australia’s heritage. The highlight of the project is the restoration of the street façade, which demonstrates strong technical prowess and reinforces the coherence of the historic urban landscape. The interior works, including new services such as the lift, were undertaken with an eye to authenticity and reversibility, by minimizing the impact of new interventions and retaining the original elements to the extent possible. The project demonstrates exceptional public-private commitment to ensuring the on-going accessibility and continuity of the institute’s historical, architectural and social significance for townspeople and visitors alike.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya

Mumbai, India

The restoration of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (formerly Prince of Wales Museum) has given a much needed uplift to a major Indo-Saracenic monument that houses one of Mumbai’s leading museums. The project is notable for the careful restoration of the façade, which typifies the eclectic mixture of European, Hindu and Islamic architecture that characterizes the heritage building. In addition, dissonant accretions to the buildings were removed, and replaced with original materials such as lime plaster and local stone, thereby enhancing its architectural value. Public-private partnership is noteworthy in this project which will ensure the sustainability of this graceful edifice as a landmark in the historic Fort precinct for generations to come.

North Xinjiao Street

Zhejiang Province, China

The North Xinjiao Street project has restored the last remaining traditional commercial street in Taizhou as an historic enclave in the middle of a rapidly-developing modern city.  Undertaken in lieu of an alternative project which would have required completely demolishing and rebuilding the entire street to improve water drainage, the project represents a victory for the local residents, as it has sustained both the physical as well as the social fabric of the place. The historic timber and brick facades were restored using authentic materials and hand-tooled techniques. The quality of life of the local residents has improved, with the upgrade of electricity and other services in a discreet and well-integrated manner. Traditional customs have been revived, ensuring that the 100-year old street once again is a vibrant part of the city’s living history.