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2011 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Award Winners

-HA03 Baojiatun Watermill Guizhou China

sumda Chun Gonpa 01

1HA21 Altit Fort Pakistan

HA28 Scriptures Hall of Wat Thepthidaram Worawihan Bangkok Thailand

HA07 Serkhang Monastery Qinghai China 4

Na Phra Lan Historic Shophouses

Salarian Pavilion of Wat Kutao

SCAD Hong Kong

Sydney Harbour YHA and the Big Dig Archaeology Education Centre

Press Release: English

Baojiatun Watermill in Guizhou Province, China  and Sumda Chun Gonpa in Leh, India have been honoured with the Awards of Excellence in the 2011 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation. 

The Award of Distinction went to the Altit Fort in Hunza, Pakistan.  The two Awards of Merit include the Serkhang Monastery in Qinghai Province, China and the Scriptures Hall of Wat Thepthidaram Worawihan in Bangkok, Thailand.

Three Honourable Mentions were also announced. They are the SCAD Hong Kong (Former North Kowloon Magistracy Building) in Hong Kong SAR, China; the Na Phra Lan Historic Shophouses in Bangkok, Thailand; and the Salarian Pavilion of Wat Kutao in Songkhla, Thailand.

A total of 34 entries, from 10 countries in the region, were submitted for consideration. The conservation project entries include museums, hotels, offices, cultural institutions, educational institutions, religious sites, industrial sites, public institutions, residential buildings and urban districts.
The two 2011 Jury Commendation for Innovation were awarded to the Sydney Harbour YHA and the Big Dig Archaeology Education Centre in New South Wales, Australia and the Ma’anqiao Village in Sichuan Province, China.  The Jury Commendation recognizes newly-built structures which demonstrate outstanding standards for contemporary architectural design which are well-integrated into historic contexts.

The UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation recognizes the efforts of private individuals and organizations that have successfully restored and conserved structures and buildings of heritage value in the region.

UNESCO believes that recognizing private efforts to restore and adapt historic properties will encourage other property owners to undertake conservation projects within the community, either independently or by seeking public-private partnerships.

A panel of international conservation experts in architecture, urban planning, heritage conservation and landscape design conducted the selection process. The jury panel was particularly impressed with a heightened level of community participation and involvement within the conservation process for this year’s entry submissions. The winners were selected based on the way that the projects reflected a clear understanding and application of the various components of the Awards criteria, such as the articulation of the spirit of place, appropriate use or adaption, or the project’s contribution to the surrounding environment and the local community’s cultural and historical continuum.

Eligible projects must be more than 50 years old and the restoration must have been completed within the past 10 years.  Buildings must have also been in viable use for at least one year from the date of the awards announcement. 

The 2011 cycle of the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation is supported by the Macau Foundation. UNESCO and the Macau Foundation share similar objectives in promoting, developing and nurturing the importance of our cultural heritage.

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

Baojiatun Watermill

Guizhou Province, China

The restoration of the ancient watermill in the village of Baojiatun sets an outstanding precedent for safeguarding a living agricultural landscape in China. Innovative partnerships among various agencies underpinned a holistic approach to the conservation of the site.  The project has returned the watermill, which was the vital linchpin of the water management system dating back over six hundred years, back to working order, along with associated dikes, irrigation channels and dam structures. The highly sensitive restoration work has ensured that the watermill has retained its authentic character and historic patina. In sustaining the functionality of the traditional agricultural complex and associated cultural practices of the local community, the project showcases the significance of Asia’s cultural landscapes which are rapidly vanishing under pressures of modernization.

Sumda Chun Gonpa

Ladakh, India

The heroic rescue of the Sumda Chun Gonpa has brought back to life one of the oldest monasteries in a remote area of Ladakh. The restoration of the historically significant but severely dilapidated structure was carried out in a systematic and sensitive manner guided by meticulous research. Conservation interventions combined world-class scientific methods with vernacular building know-how. The art conservation is particularly notable for its sophistication. The exemplary project was realized through the steadfast commitment of the local community and the monastic order, in cooperation with cultural foundations and international partners.

Award of Distinction

Altit Fort

Hunza, Pakistan

The restoration of Altit Fort represents yet another step forward in the model of community-based conservation practice that has been evolving in the body of work of the Aga Khan Cultural Service of Pakistan. This prominent landmark, dating back one thousand years, has been restored from an abandoned ruin into a vibrant community centerpiece through a careful step-by-step strategy. Meticulous historical research and scientific investigation informed the conservation work, which successfully tackled a complex array of problems. Today the building has regained its iconic place in the Hunza Valley and now serves as a beacon to inspire future generations.

Award of Merit

Scriptures Hall of Wat Thepthidaram

Bangkok, Thailand

From a state of serious disrepair, the scriptures hall of Wat Thepthidaram has been restored with an outpouring of public support and a united effort from the Thai conservation community, the monastery and the local neighborhood. The scriptures hall has been refurbished with exemplary use of traditional craftsmanship and materials, worthy of its stature as a historically significant royal monastery. The methodology of restoration was also praiseworthy, demonstrating meticulous research, documentation and continual learning throughout the course of the project.

Serkhang Monastery

Qinghai, China

One of the few surviving Tibetan monasteries in Qinghai from the 14th century, Serkhang Monastery has been restored through close cooperation between the Nangra community and invited international conservation experts. The quality of the research and documentation was exceptional, ensuring that the work was undertaken to high standards of both artisanal building traditions and modern conservation science. The project is commendable for its comprehensive approach to conservation, encompassing the entire site and the valuable collection of wall paintings.

Honourable Mention

Na Phra Lan Historic Shophouses

Bangkok, Thailand

The refurbishment of the Na Phra Lan Historic Shophouses has uplifted a historically significant urban complex in the heart of the historic core of Bangkok. Prominently located across from the Grand Palace, the project has restored not only this architectural landmark from the early 20th century, but also the surrounding historic streetscape as well. By removing inappropriate modern additions, using high-quality materials in repairs and upgrading services to meet modern building codes, the project has recovered the original, historically-accurate aesthetic while accommodating continued contemporary use. The project establishes a commendable model for participation by the long-term tenants, who contributed to the project costs and have committed to maintaining the buildings in the years to come.

Salarian Pavilion of Wat Kutao

Songkhla, Thailand

The restoration of the Salarian Pavilion of Wat Kutao highlights the accomplishment of a participatory conservation approach involving the local community, educational institutes and technical specialists. After deteriorating to a complete ruin, the 18th-century wooden pavilion was restored in a technically competent manner, relying mainly on local builders using traditional materials and vernacular techniques. The project received an outpouring of support from the community and has inspired a greater awareness of local cultural heritage, leading to the subsequent restoration of other historic structures in the monastery.

SCAD Hong Kong

Hong Kong SAR, China

The adaptive re-use of the former North Kowloon Magistracy as an international university of the arts has breathed new life into a decommissioned 1960s government building. The functionalist architecture style has been respected and the original finishes of the historically and aesthetically valuable structure were recovered. Creative design allowed for contemporary insertions to provide the required educational facilities while retaining the building’s original fabric and spatial character.  The project demonstrates the possibilities of adaptive reuse for public buildings of this typology and is a model for successful public-private cooperation under the framework of Hong Kong SAR’s policy for retaining and optimizing the value of heritage buildings.

2011 UNESCO Jury Commendation of Innovation Winners

Ma’anqiao Village

Sichuan, China

One of the villages devastated by the Sichuan earthquake in 2008, Ma’anqiao is a noteworthy example of post-disaster reconstruction that fits comfortably in its immediate cultural and environmental context. The reconstructed buildings use traditional construction techniques rather than modern brick or concrete systems. By ensuring that the vernacular rammed earth technology has been adapted to meet modern standards for both seismic performance and green buildings, the project ensures that the newly-built houses will sustain traditional lifestyles and protect human lives, while setting new standards for eco-architecture in China.

Sydney Harbour YHA and the Big Dig Archaeology Education Centre

Sydney, Australia

The project successfully puts urban archaeology in the spotlight, showcasing the site through creative use as a youth hostel and a public education centre. It provides hands-on access to one of Australia’s most well-known urban archaeological sites, offering visitors a glimpse of early European settlement in the late 18th century. The new development sits lightly in the site, using innovative structural design to minimize the footprint on the archaeological remnants. Located in Sydney’s historic harbourside precinct, with a view of the city’s most prominent modern architectural icons, the building’s sleek design stands out as a fresh contemporary counterpoint.