Follow Us:

Horizontal Navigation Bar w/Rollover Effect

2016 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Award Winners

BANGKOK, 1 September 2016 — The Restoration of the Sanro-Den Hall at Sukunahikona Shrine in Ozu City, Ehime Prefecture, has received the Award of Excellence in this year’s UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation.

A total of 13 winning projects from six countries – Australia, China, India, Iran, Japan and Pakistan – have been recognized in this year’s Heritage Awards. A panel of international conservation experts met in Bangkok to review the 40 Heritage Awards entries, including 34 in the Conservation category and six for New Design.

Duong Bich Hanh, Chair of the Jury and Chief of UNESCO Bangkok’s Culture Unit, said she was pleased to see the Heritage Awards encourage good conservation practices in the region. “Jury members were delighted with the quality of this year’s entries to the Heritage Awards,” Ms. Hanh said. “This showed increased knowledge and higher standards in conservation work across Asia-Pacific.”.

This year’s Award of Excellence winner, the Sanro-Den Hall, a prayer hall at Sukunahikona Shrine in Ozu City, Ehime Prefecture, is an exceptional example of community stewardship enlisted in the conservation of a heritage site of unique architectural and cultural value. The project epitomizes the efficacy of grass-roots advocacy, coupled with traditional building practices, in extending the life of distinctive 20th-century Kakezukuri structure, successfully returning it to a central place in the cultural life of the local community.

Jury members also agreed to revise the regulations regarding how old a site must be to be eligible for the awards, reflecting a growing awareness in the conservation field of the importance of recognizing cultural heritage that is less than 50 years old, which is in growing danger. The revised regulations will be available via the UNESCO Bangkok website at the end of this year, and will be applied to entries submitted for next year’s awards.

Other Awardees included:

Award of Distinction:

- Conservation and Restoration of Taoping Qiang Village, Sichuan Province, China

- Conservation of St Olav’s Church, West Bengal, India

Award of Merit:

- Repairs and Restoration to the Cama Building, Mumbai Central, Mumbai, India

- Restoration of Fortification of Walls & Bastions of Mahidpur Fort, Madhya Pradesh, India

- Conservation of the 17th Century Shahi Hammam, Lahore, Pakistan

Honourable Mention:

-  Renovation Project of Wu Changshuo Residence Archaeological Site, Zhejiang Province, China

- Fudewan Miners Village of Wenzhou Alunite Mine in China, Zhejiang Province, China

-  The World Bank loan Cultural and Natural Heritage Protection and Development Project, Liu Ancestral Hall Preservation and Renovation Project of Sanmentang Village, Tianzhu County, Guizhou province, China

-  Revitalisation of the Old Tai Po Police Station into a Green Hub for Sustainable Living, Hong Kong SAR, China

- Restoration of the Main Building Doon School, Dehradun, Uttarakhand,

- Darugheh House, Mashad, Khorasan Razavi, Iran

New Design in Heritage Contexts

- The Brewery Yard, Central Park, Chippendale, Australia 

Award of Excellence

Restoration of Sanro-Den Hall at Sukunahikona Shrine in Ozu City

Ehime Prefecture, Japan

Dramatically perched on a steep slope, the Sanro-Den prayer hall of the highly sacred Sukunahikona Shrine was resurrected in an exemplary act of grassroots mobilization. A rare example of the Kakezukuri architectural style, the building was rescued after two decades of abandonment and has been reintegrated back into the life of the community. With sponsorship from World Monuments Fund, the highest level of quality and authenticity in conservation work was achieved through the revival of age-old building practices, strict adherence to traditional construction materials and state-of-the-art technical analysis. Advocacy and outreach efforts successfully broadened awareness of the building’s importance among Ozu residents, generating renewed commitment to conservation of the shrine for future generations. The outpouring of local support from enthusiastic volunteers, experts and skillful artisans testifies to the importance and great potential of community stewardship in safeguarding vulnerable heritage buildings and fostering cultural continuity.

Awards of Distinction

Conservation and Restoration of Taoping Qiang Village                     

Sichuan Province, China

The restoration of the ancient Taoping Village following the massive 2008 Wenchuan earthquake showcases a holistic approach to community rehabilitation in the wake of a natural disaster. The engagement of Qiang villagers alongside government agencies, experts and craftspeople throughout the conservation process ensured sensitivity to Qiang culture in the recovery of the distinctive Diaolou towers, other vernacular architecture, public infrastructure and landscape. Following training in traditional construction skills, local residents received employment in hands-on repair activities in lieu of relief subsidies, providing a notable alternative for emergency support while also ensuring long-term maintenance of the village infrastructure and surrounds. With its successful revival of the spirits of both people and place in this historic settlement, the project serves as an inspiration for future post-disaster response efforts.

Conservation of St. Olav's Church

Serampore, West Bengal, India

A significant colonial-era architectural landmark, St. Olav’s Church was successfully restored through meticulously executed conservation work. Once the focal point of the historic Danish trading port of Serampore in West Bengal, the church had fallen into a state of extensive decay after centuries of weathering and severe infestation of termites. The project elevated local standards of conservation practice at every stage of the process, starting with careful investigation and documentation. Under the professional guidance of Indian and Danish conservation architects, artisans carefully carried out restoration work using traditional materials and repair techniques. Following re-sanctification, the church has regained its function as a social, educational and religious hub for the local community.

Awards of Merit

Repairs and Restoration to the Cama Building

Mumbai Central, Mumbai, India

The restoration of the Cama Building highlights a private commitment to supporting the viability of Mumbai’s distinctive but vulnerable Zoroastrian community. Surrounded by urban re-development projects, the Cama Building is the first of twenty-four structures within the century-old Murzban Colony to be rescued from a state of serious deterioration. The project employed a physically and culturally sensitive approach, salvaging much original fabric and retaining the building’s original architectural character and configuration, allowing for the continuation and sustenance of everyday interactions and sense of community among its residents. Financed by the Garib Zorthostiona Rehethan Fund without cost to the long-time tenants, the project serves as a noteworthy model for preserving the city’s social fabric through the preservation of affordable housing built for ordinary citizens.




Restoration of Fortification of Walls and Bastions of Mahidpur Fort

Madhya Pradesh, India

The consolidation of 18th-century archaeological remains at Mahidpur Fort has safeguarded a much-neglected historic asset housing a living multi-cultural community. Executed with international sponsorship under an innovative partnership scheme with the state government, the project reversed major deterioration from repeated flooding, haphazard construction and intermittent vandalism. Following careful documentation and analysis, the fort’s walls and bastions were strengthened through an approach of minimal intervention, thereby preserving their historic patina. The involvement of local youth and other residents in the conservation work has promoted a new sense of pride and custodianship, creating a self-sustaining mechanism for protecting this unlisted monument in the long term. 


Conservation of the 17th Century Shahi Hammam   

Lahore, Pakistan

Undertaken with a high degree of technical proficiency, the restoration of Shahi Hammam has safeguarded a unique example of the monumental 17th-century Mughal public bathhouse. The team of international and local experts and artisans adeptly addressed the issues of significant structural damage and loss of fabric resulting from inappropriate alterations, poor conservation work and encroachment. Careful investigation and analysis informed the conservation effort, including architectural consolidation and the preservation of frescos and other decorative elements. Visitors can now gain a vivid understanding of the Hammam’s historic function through the display of excavated underground structures, partial reinstatement of bathhouse features, and an educational exhibition. The project has returned the ornate Shahi Hammam to its former prominence within the Walled City of Lahore while giving encouragement to future private conservation initiatives. 


Honourable Mentions

Renovation Project of Wu Changshuo Residence Archaeological Site

Zhejiang Province, China

The restoration of the Wu Changshuo Residence Archeological Site is notable for its meticulous planning and sensitive approach to the preservation of the site's multi-layered history, ranging from sub-surface evidence of 14th-century occupation to later 19th-century structures. As the birthplace of prominent Chinese artist Wu Changshuo, the site had suffered gradual deterioration as a result of insensitive repair work and the addition of incompatible structures over the years. Conducted in stages, the ambitious project applied international conservation guidelines and deployed traditional building materials and techniques to safeguard the overall character of the historic buildings and their rural village setting. Well-managed tourism guidelines allow the local community to gain economic benefits from tourist visits to the site. 

Fudewan Miner’s Village of Wenzhou Alunite Mine in China

Zhejiang Province, China

The revitalization of Fudewan Miner’s Village is commendable for its comprehensive and culturally sensitive programme of conservation and adaptive use. The joint effort by local people, a non-government organization and two government institutions has successfully retained the majority of historic dwellings with adherence to conservation guidelines. Industrial facilities such as the weathering pool were restored for public use or to serve as tourist facilities. With provisions for ongoing maintenance and community participation, the project provides a model for other former industrial towns in China which represent a significant stage in the country’s modern development and should be recognized for their heritage value.

The World Bank loan Cultural and Natural Heritage Protection and Development Project - Liu Ancestral Hall Preservation and Renovation Project of Sanmentang Village, Tianzhu County, Guizhou province, China

Guizhou province, China

The preservation of Liu Ancestral Hall is notable for the application of a rigorous scientific approach. Dating to the Qing Dynasty with further embellishment during the time of the Republic of China, the hall had declined into poor structural condition with damage to its surfaces, including its renowned decorative stucco façade. The project’s proponents successfully carried out non-intrusive investigation of the building fabric, systematic testing of possible solutions and meticulous conservation interventions. In reviving a significant historic building for on-going use by Dong ethnic group villagers and to attract outside visitors, the project contributes to a larger initiative to protect and promote Guizhou’s diverse cultural and natural heritage.

Revitalisation of the Old Tai Po Police Station into the Green Hub for Sustainable Living

Hong Kong SAR, China                      

The transformation of the Old Tai Po Police Station from a deserted relic into a vibrant venue for learning about sustainable development is notable for revealing layers of cultural history embedded in its buildings while maintaining the site’s distinctive ecosystem. Informed by extensive historical research and a thorough understanding of the area’s rich biodiversity, the project retains much of the complex’s original architectural fabric and natural setting, giving little impression of the degree of intervention. Instilling new life into the oldest colonial property in the New Territories, the center provides an oasis in the midst of Hong Kong’s highly urbanized environment. 

Restoration of the Main Building Doon School

Dehradun, India                      

The restoration of the Doon School Main Building exhibits notable technical accomplishment in preserving the character of a renowned historic institution, while incorporating modern educational technologies in an unobtrusive manner. Thorough assessment and analysis of the root causes of decay led to the design of a comprehensive conservation strategy and long-term maintenance plan. Focused on minimal and reversible interventions, the restoration included structural reinforcement, façade restoration and upgrade of classrooms. Sensitive decision-making ensured that the dignified Edwardian architectural character of the school building was preserved intact. The practical skills training in construction techniques and traditional building methods conducted as part of the project was found to be in keeping with the pedagogical mission of the school.


Darugheh House

Khorasan Razavi, Iran

The conservation of Darugheh House has reinstated a significant component of the historic townscape of Mashad. Based on in-depth historical research, verified through archaeological excavation, the project preserved the original building’s scale and footprint with a focus on the retention of original materials and reuse of materials from demolished adjacent buildings. Local artisans specializing in traditional architectural decoration carried out the work, and new features were carefully identified in keeping with established conservation practice. Amidst the rapid pace of development now transforming Mashad, the restored Darugheh House provides validation for the continuing relevance of traditional spaces in contemporary urban life.