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2006 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards Winners


Award of Excellence

Shigar Fort-Palace

Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan

The restoration of the 400-year old Shigar Fort Palace has transformed one of the historic landmarks of Baltistan into a museum and exclusive heritage guesthouse, setting a high-profile precedent for a sustainable modern reuse of heritage structures in Pakistan. By retaining the structure and its fine decorative elements, while making careful modern insertions into the building, the project team has revived the palace’s unique spirit of place. The project has strategically capitalized on the complex’s authentic local architecture and dramatic setting in the Karakoram Mountains to create a unique destination for visitors. Through a holistic community development approach, multiplier effects from the project have benefited the local villagers in form of job creation, upgrade of shared infrastructure and water supply, and renewed pride in the area’s rich crafts and intangible heritage traditions. At the highest levels of national policy, the restoration has called attention to the need for reassessing heritage legislation to safeguard a broader spectrum of heritage. The project is positioned to redefine the approach to both heritage conservation and cultural tourism in the region, by demonstrating that conserving the authenticity of heritage assets is the critical first step for the sustainable development of communities, by integrating buildings, people and their cultural and natural environment.


Awards of Distinction

Bund 18

Shanghai, China

Set in China’s most prominent urban showcase of modern heritage and one of Asia’s most desirable real estate locations, the 1923 neo-classical Bund 18 has been adapted into a high-end commercial building to the highest level of technical standards. Careful survey of the original building fabric provided a basis for removing later additions, restoring the structure and layout, cleaning and consolidating finishes and decorative features. New partitions and fittings essential for the commercial functioning of the building were designed in a tasteful modern vocabulary, which juxtapose well with the historic interior.The conversion of China’s first foreign-capital bank has been accomplished through a successful partnership between international technical experts and local Chinese specialists and craftspeople, using a marriage of modern conservation techniques and local building traditions. The project’s prominent location and subsequent popularity promise not only to redefine the modern face of Shanghai, but also to establish a new benchmark for technical sophistication, conservation rigour as well as commercial success.

Uch Monument Complex

Punjab, Pakistan

The restoration of the striking Uch Monument Complex has stabilized the monumental ruins of three tombs dating back to the fifteenth century within the modern context of a living cultural landscape. Given the paucity of historic evidence about the original building form, the decision to preserve the site as an archaeological complex is an appropriate one. The sensitive conservation approach will ensure that the patina of age is preserved, as embodied in the texture and materiality of the polychrome structures, wrapped in striking bands of blue, white and turquoise glazed tiles. The deployment of innovative materials and techniques marks a welcome development for the field of conservation science in the sub-region. Adroitly managed by an independent conservation centre, the project was undertaken through a productive collaboration with the government, international technical experts and local residents trained as paraprofessionals, with generous funding from the international community. As the conservation work has been consciously positioned within a larger project of rehabilitating the Uch settlement on a self-help basis, the local community stands to benefit directly. Furthermore, the establishment of a training centre in conservation and urban upgrading will mean that not only the public at large, but also the conservation profession, will be rewarded by the safeguarding of what was once one of the world’s most endangered monuments.


Award of Merit

Han Jiang Ancestral Temple

Penang, Malaysia

Built in the mid-nineteenth century, the Han Jiang Ancestral Hall has been restored to its former glory through a commendable effort by the Teochew community of Penang. A fine example of a Teochew-style Chinese temple, the building had suffered through heavy use as a school and a series of unsympathetic additions and renovations over the years. Meticulous research, both in Malaysia and China, was carried out to uncover the building’s history and architecture in order to inform the restoration process. Master craftsmen from China were brought in to ensure that the level of workmanship matched the original standards, both in terms of materials as well as techniques. A sophisticated lighting scheme employing fibre optics now showcases the splendid decorative details of the building. By revitalizing cultural and educational programmes, the project has succeeded in reviving the temple’s religious and social functions, allowing it to serve once again as the heart of the community.

Sir JJ School of Art

Mumbai, India

The restoration of the Sir JJ School of Art Building has reinvigorated India’s premier art educational institution, saving it from a steady physical and academic decline. Thorough restoration of the building envelope has consolidated the Neo-Gothic façade, using locally devised techniques such as low-pressure water misting. The physical restoration works have been coupled by an ambitious programme to revive the school’s academic calibre, which has succeeded in re-animating the institution’s historic educational mission. Through active fund-raising and advocacy efforts, the Friends of JJ School of Art public trust galvanized widespread support from both the private and public sectors. Notably, monies from the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme used to support heritage for the very first time, setting a welcome precedent. The project is to be commended for employing a very clear process, excellent documentation, and an authentic palette of local building materials and technologies. The careful transfer of this conservation know-how to the local public works department will ensure that the impact of this project will be keenly felt in the future restoration of Mumbai’s rich Victorian heritage.

St. Andrew’s Church

Hong Kong SAR, China

On the eve of its centenary celebrations, the thoughtful restoration of St. Andrew’s Church demonstrates the success of a thorough conservation approach which sought to fully understand the building’s significance and deterioration process before proposing solutions. The meticulous research into the historic building techniques and materials has paid off handsomely, and is reflected in the project’s respectful attitude to the original building components. In particular, the painstaking restoration of the exterior brick facades has maximized the retention of the original materials, through recycling and selective replacement of old bricks, and can serve as a ready model for other brick structures. The repair of the bell tower and long-silent bells, which now ring every Sunday morning, symbolizes the renewal of the church and its growing congregation.


Honourable Mention

Arakkal Kettu

Kerala, India

The restoration of Arakkal Kettu has rescued a distinctive example of Kerala’s architecture typology from a state of serious dilapidation. A sensitive approach has been taken to retain the authenticity of the historic building through the use of local crafts and materials such as traditional lime. Restored period furniture adds to the historic ambience of the 400-year old palace structure in its conversion into a self-sustaining heritage museum about the state’s Muslim royal traditions. Through an innovative partnership between the Department of Archaeology, the Department of Tourism, Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), and a privately-funded palace trust, this pilot project paves the way for future adaptations of heritage buildings in Kerala for cultural tourism purposes.

Leh Old Town

Ledakh, India

This small-scale project has catalyzed a conservation and urban rehabilitation movement in the ancient capital of Ladakh by successfully undertaking the pilot restoration of a residential neighborhood which includes a range of building typologies. By conducting a detailed social survey alongside a conservation inventory, the needs of the population were addressed in an integrated way. Through low-cost restoration using indigenous knowledge, skills and materials, it has demonstrated the feasibility for residents and authorities to upgrade historic quarters for modern living. Training of local workers in all aspects of the work, even in mural cleaning and stabilization, lays the foundation for the continued empowerment of the community. Contributions by homeowners and the municipal government to the conservation of private houses and public infrastructure, respectively, ensure a local investment to the work. The spin-off effects of the project are evident, with expressions of interest from other homeowners and the local government to continue with additional works to conserve other heritage structures in the Leh old town.

Liu Ying Lung Study Hall

Hong Kong SAR, China

In preparation for the Dajiao Festival, the Liu clan study hall in Hong Kong has been dramatically restored to its original Qing Dynasty condition. The removal of intrusive modern alterations added in the past century to accommodate a kindergarten has revealed the building’s historic layout and structure. Privately funded by the clan, the project has proved to be a valuable learning experience about architecture restoration as well as the community’s heritage roots. After an interim period of 150 years, the study hall, complete with conserved murals and vernacular architectural details, now serves as a fitting backdrop for reviving communal social functions and rituals.