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2005 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards Winners


Award of Excellence

Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum

Mumbai, India

A Renaissance Revival architectural gem, the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Mumbai has been restored to its historical splendor through a pioneering public-private partnership between the municipality of Mumbai, the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) and the Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation. Through a holistic conservation plan, which has addressed both the museum building and the collection, the project establishes a new benchmark in the conservation of museums for India and the region. By modernizing the internal infrastructure while paying careful attention to restoring the decorative details of the building, the project has demonstrated a balanced approach between the refined mastery of conservation techniques and the support of crafts skills. Accordingly, the project has succeeded in sparking the revival of fading techniques such as gilding and stencil work. The building now stands as a unique testimony to the development of Victorian architecture in the context of the hybrid building and crafts traditions of nineteenth century India, as well as to the civic traditions embodied in one of the country’s earliest museums.

Houkeng Timber-Arched Corridor Bridge

Zhejiang Province, China

The restoration of the picturesque Houkeng Bridge sets a regional standard for outstanding technical excellence in safeguarding a significant wooden historical structure, one of the few remaining timber-arched corridor bridges in Zhejiang and Fujian Provinces. Through a comparative study of related bridges, the project displays an understanding of the sophisticated seventeenth century Chinese building tradition which the bridge exemplifies. The restoration reflects the community’s respect for historic engineering principles and the art of building with natural materials. As a result of the project, the bridge has been restored as an integral component of the beautiful rural cultural landscape. The introduction of an innovative maintenance contract with the local community ensures that the bridge will continue to function as an important communal gathering space for the surrounding villages, thereby sustaining the deeply-rooted local social and cultural traditions associated with the structure in the long term.


Award of Distinction

Mehrangarh Fort

Rajasthan, India

The far-sighted vision guiding the restoration of Mehrangarh Fort and adaptive reuse into a museum has resulted in the safeguarding of the historic ruling seat as a living monument to the rich traditions of Rajasthan. The ambitious large-scale project sets exemplary standards in opening up and interpreting the complex for the appreciation of local community members, outside visitors and future generations. Through a practical conservation approach, the project has ensured the stabilization of the structure, the sensitive repair of traditional architectural features, and the modern upgrade of the space for its contemporary use. Through the inspirational commitment of the Maharaja of Marwar-Jodphur, the present-day use of the fort as a socio-cultural and religious centre, under the administration of the Mehrangarh Museum Trust, has ensured the long-term vibrancy of the complex.

Sideng Market Square and Theatre

Yunnan Province, China

The restoration of the market square and theatre in the town of Sideng marks an important achievement in safeguarding the tangible and intangible heritage of multiple ethnic groups associated with the legendary “tea and horse caravan trail” dating back over 500 years. The project displays a comprehensive conservation approach combining careful historical research, systematic methodology, outside technical advisory and endogenous traditional knowledge, particularly relating to local craftsmanship. The productive collaboration between the local authorities and communities and the Swiss technical team has ensured that the market square restoration has not only been reinstated as an architectural landmark but has also revived the historic social core of the community. As the first step in a longer-term multidisciplinary programme, the project is commended for being embedded in an ambitious planning and development framework that aims to protect the social and environmental setting, improve living conditions, and introduce sustainable tourism as a means of long-term development.


Award of Merit

Amburiq Mosque

Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan

The sensitive conservation programme undertaken by the Aga Khan Cultural Services of Pakistan has restored the first mosque built in Baltistan, Amburiq. Dating back over 600 years ago, the building had deteriorated following natural disasters that had destroyed its central tower and rendered it unstable. By emphasizing the preservation of as much historic building fabric as possible through the primary use of local stone and mud building crafts and supplementary modern preservation techniques, the authentic Tibetan and Kashmiri architecture of the building has been saved. The building and its courtyard have now been returned to modern use as a community museum, giving renewed life to one of the region’s historically and socially significant structures.

Ayuguthi Sattal

Lalitpur Sub Metropolitan City, Nepal

The reconstruction of the dilapidated Ayuguthi Sattal has restored a historic Newari vernacular building that forms the northern edge of the historic Patan Darbar Square. The restoration allows for an authentic physical reading of the square, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. At the same time, the restored building sustains the historic continuity of the space by reinterpreting its historic function as a public rest house through its modern use as an information and visitor’s centre. Although the restoration work was delayed by a drawn-out process, resulting in the total dilapidation of the structure, the heroic effort of the partners allowed for authentic reconstruction using outstanding local artisans and materials based on meticulous documentation of the building. The project establishes financial and legal conservation benchmarks in Nepal as the first project to be catalyzed by private investment, and also as the first building to be placed under legal monument protection.

Dutch Reformed Church

Galle, Sri Lanka

A landmark building in the UNESCO World Heritage town of Galle, the Dutch Reformed Church has been admirably restored through the collaboration of the local parish, the Central Cultural Fund, and the Government of the Netherlands. A systematic conservation plan has successfully restored the building and its historic interior fittings. Inappropriate later additions were carefully removed, while historically important changes were retained, such as the stained glass windows. The project has mobilized traditional local crafts and traditional materials as well as technical conservation techniques. As a living monument in continuous use from the time of its establishment as the first Protestant church on the island to the present day, the restoration of the Church celebrates the hybrid cultural traditions of the historic settlement.

St. Joseph’s Chapel

Hong Kong SAR, China

The rehabilitation of the abandoned St. Joseph’s Chapel demonstrates the success of a community initiative that has garnered the whole-hearted support of multiple stakeholders amongst the local residents and the Hong Kong Catholic community. Within the confines of a limited budget, the modest conservation project has consolidated a fine example of a rural Roman Catholic chapel through undertaking urgent repairs to the chapel and the affiliated Ching Po School. By re-initiating the liturgical function of the chapel and adapting the school into a museum, the project ensures historical continuity of the pilgrimage site while, at the same time, promises to catalyze the larger-scale restoration of Yim Tin Tsai Island as an emerging cultural and eco-tourism destination.

Tung Wah Coffin Home

Hong Kong SAR, China

The restoration of the Tung Wah Coffin Home has preserved a unique building typology and an important cultural institution which reflects the evolving social history of Hong Kong. The complex includes a range of building traditions spanning from vernacular Chinese architecture to modern buildings. The project is to be commended for carefully retaining the assembled structures that had been added onto the complex over its one hundred year history. Accordingly, a combination of traditional architectural techniques and practical technical solutions was appropriately applied, which has resulted in retaining the physical authenticity of the place while at the same time facilitating its on-going use by the public.


Honourable Mention

Far Eastern University

Manila, Philippines

The conservation of the Far Eastern University, the largest ensemble of Art Deco architecture that survives in Manila today, presents an admirable and pioneering regional exemplar of a holistic campus-wide approach to university preservation. In the context of its immediate neighbourhood, the project has had a significant effect on raising historic awareness in the community. The project maintained a commendable balance between preserving original building design and use while accommodating the organization’s modern needs. Necessary new additions to the campus were sensitively integrated into the historic fabric of the compound, and the grounds themselves were treated as an integral component of the holistic conservation plan.

Pingjiang Historic Block

Jiangsu Province, China

The revitalization of Pingjiang Historic Block is a commendable example of urban conservation and rehabilitation that is in line with national and international conservation guidelines. The careful and sensitive restoration, through the retention of both the original functions as well as the inhabitants, has ensured historic continuity in this community warranting long-term sustainability. This, together with a very systematic approach and good craftsmanship, has established a new benchmark for holistic urban conservation in Suzhou with potential replicative effects for other cities in China and, indeed, the region.

Tamnak Yai, Devavesm Palace

Bangkok, Thailand

Setting a standard for conservation of early twentieth century buildings in Thailand, the restoration of the predominantly Neoclassical Tamnak Yai, the most important and prominent royal residence of Davavesm Palace, demonstrates sophisticated research and deployment of appropriate building materials and techniques. The Bank of Thailand, the present owner of the estate, has also set an important precedent for corporate investment in heritage conservation in Thailand, which could spark off similar initiatives.

Zain-ad-din Karavansara

Yazd, Iran

With the conservation of Zain-ad-din Karavansara a significant example of an important typology has been restored in an appropriate and respectful way. Through consultation with and participation of the local community and other stakeholders throughout all phases of the project, the level of intervention has been kept to a minimum and, in collaboration with the private sector, the building has been given a sympathetic compatible new use as accommodation for the modern traveller without negatively impacting on the traditional lifestyles of the local communities, which makes this project a potentially very sustainable initiative.

Zhaoxiang Huang Ancestral Hall

Guangdong Province, China

The restoration and adaptive reuse of Zhaoxiang Huang Ancestral Hall is an innovative response to the challenges that faced this important historic building. Through active community and other stakeholder participation throughout the entire process, this project has become exemplary of contemporary approaches to heritage conservation. The successful adaptation of the redundant building to house the only Cantonese Opera Museum celebrates the intangible heritage values of the community, giving added value to the project.


2005 UNESCO Jury Commendation of Innovation Winners


Meridian Gate Exhibition Hall of the Palace

Beijing, China

The construction of a modern exhibition hall located within the historic Meridian Gate building of the Imperial Palace complex is exemplary for its innovative technical and design solutions that have enabled the space to meet international museum standards. The choice of a contemporary architectural vocabulary provides an effective counterpoint to the vernacular timber structure, and indeed, serves to highlight the building’s heritage values. The self-effacing sealed glass box that encloses the exhibition space demonstrates tremendous respect for and enhances the understanding of the historic building, while at the same time provides ideal conditions for sophisticated climate control. The project demonstrates how the application of modern engineering principles results in an honest and direct architectural solution. The project has demonstrated that through innovation, a perceived dilemma of having to adapt a historic building to house an important artefact collection can create a win-win situation: a formula that can serve as a model for others facing similar challenges.

Yuhu Primary School and Community Centre

Yunnan Province, China

Located close to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Lijiang, the Yuhu primary school project is to be commended for its beautifully nuanced design which evocatively reinterprets traditional architectural traditions within the context of modern building practice. The deft handling of local building materials and the innovative recasting of indigenous construction techniques has resulted in a powerful materiality which is deeply rooted in the local context while, at the same time, pushes the envelope of sustainable building design. Seamlessly accommodating contemporary needs, the design is the culmination of multidisciplinary research into vernacular architecture and urbanism, local history, and social context. The marriage of vernacular and modern approaches, in combination with careful community consultation, serves as a model for sensitive new construction in historic contexts vulnerable to modern development.