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Phraya Si Thammathirat Residence honored with the 2014 UNESCO Cultural Heritage Conservation Award of Merit in a festive ceremony at the site on the 12 March 2015

The Crown Property Bureau devotedly organized a ceremony to receive the UNESCO Cultural Heritage Award of Merit 2014 for its collective commitment and effort in restoring the Phraya Si Thammathirat Residence. It celebrated a historic building coming back to life and sharing its cultural and artistic richness with today’s generation.

The result is an elegant mansion proudly sitting in the middle of the Sitabutr Bumrung School yard, a hidden jewel in the heart of the busy Pathumwan district of Bangkok, presently used for the activities of the Thai-Chinese Education and Culture Foundation. Its interior reveals a bold mix of cultural influences, artistic techniques and colors with breathtaking wall frescoes in a variety of styles.

The ceremony gathered Dr. Chirayu Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya, Director and Director-General of the Crown Property Bureau, Mr. Borvornvate Rungrujee, the Director General of the Fine Arts Department, Flight Officer Mongkol Pisitkasem, President of the Thai-Chinese Education and Culture Foundation, UNESCO Bangkok Director Dr. Gwang-Jo Kim as well as several ambassadors.

Dr.  Kim’s opening speech pointed out the increasing challenges urban heritage sites are facing, “It has become clear that in order to safeguard our region’s heritage, the conservation of these unique sites should be a responsibility shared by government and civil society”, he said.

As a response, the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards were launched in 2000. During the UNESCO video presentation, the audience was reminded of the Award objectives - encouraging the private sector or public-private initiatives in achieving excellence in conservation practice. Since 2000, 174 projects have received Awards for exemplary conservation efforts, 12 of which have been given to Thai winners.

In 2014, the Crown Property Bureau received an Award for the third time. It had previously garnered two UNESCO Heritage Awards – in 2011 the Na Phra Lan Historic Shop house project in Bangkok, received the Honorable Mention and in 2008 they also picked up an Honorable Mention for the restoration of the Crown Property Bureau Building in Chachoengsao Province.

Dr. Kim officially presented the bronze plaque Award to Dr. Chirayu Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya and the certificates to all those involved in the project Dr. Na Ayuthaya emphasized the collective spirit behind this recognition, “The success of this project relies not only on financial aspect but also on the cooperation and understanding of everyone who shares mutual commitment to pass on the pride and delight of this heritage to the next generation”.

Following the ceremony, a cocktail reception was held in the green surroundings of the residence, it became clear that the excitement of the honored project team would continue after the ceremony itself had ended. The UNESCO Award didn’t only crown their accomplished efforts on that day, but also opened the path for future ones, as Mr. Na Ayuthaya had previously stated, “This award will be an inspiration for those who continue and help advancement of the conservation work in the future.”