The historic buildings in Hanoi’s Duong Lam Village and the lost bomb shelter of the Hotel Sofitel Metropole Hanoi have just been honoured in the 2013 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation.
The old houses in the ancient Duong Lam Village are among six sites which received Awards of Merit while the bomb shelter at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi got an Honourable Mentions.
“We were particularly encouraged to see our broadest ever geographical range this year, spanning from the Cook Islands in the Eastern Pacific Ocean to the Islamic Republic of Iran at the far end of West Asia”, commented Tim Curtis, Chair of the Jury and Chief of the Culture Unit, UNESCO Bangkok.
According to UNESCO’s 2013 Awards profile, the project on historic buildings in Duong Lam Village has restored five selected buildings in a successful effort to showcase the value of vernacular wooden architecture in Vietnam, which is increasingly threatened by deterioration, neglect and eventual loss. Through careful documentation and the revival of traditional construction techniques, the restoration has returned the buildings to their authentic condition and now assures their on-going maintenance by the local craftsmen trained over the course of the project. The exchange of knowledge among the carpenters, Vietnamese architectural historians and Japanese experts was a key feature in this commendable collaborative initiative. The Duong Lam Village experience established a noteworthy model for future conservation efforts in other rural villages across Vietnam.
Meanwhile, the restoration of the lost bomb shelter has revealed yet another layer in the rich history of the Metropole Hotel, one of Hanoi’s most notable heritage buildings. Forgotten for decades until its rediscovery in 2011, the bomb shelter has been preserved in its original condition, with the unobtrusive addition of new mechanical and electrical installations to allow the space to be accessible and safe for public viewing. Through its sensitive approach and thoughtful interpretation, the project provides a rare glimpse into an important chapter of Vietnamese contemporary history.
The restoration of the principal chedi (reliquary stupa) in Wat Prayurawongsawas Worawihan temple in Bangkok, Thailand was honoured with the Award of Excellence.
Established in 2000, the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation recognize excellent achievement in successfully conserving or restoring heritage buildings and properties in the region by the private sector or by public-private initiatives.
Further information about this year’s winning entries can be found at: www.unescobkk.org/culture/heritageawards