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2019 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation - Winners announced

2019 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation - Winners announced

2019 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation - Winners announced

Tai Kwun – Centre for Heritage and Arts of Hong Kong SAR, China, wins Award of Excellence; other projects in Australia, Bhutan, China, India and New Zealand also honoured in Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation

PENANG, MALAYSIA, 14 October 2019 – The renewal of the historic Tai Kwun – Centre for Heritage and Arts has received the Award of Excellence in this year’s UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation.

Sixteen projects from five countries – Australia, Bhutan, China, India and New Zealand – have been recognized by the international Jury of conservation experts in this year’s Awards. The Jury met in August to review 57 entries from 14 countries across the Asia-Pacific region.      

The Jury praised the Award of Excellence winner, Tai Kwun – Centre for Heritage and Arts, stating:

“The transformation of the former Central Police Station into a world-class centre for heritage and arts has created a vibrant new civic space in the heart of the city’s central business district. The project tackled a complex site with multiple layers of history dating back to the mid-19th century, enhancing its legibility and opening it up to the public. The technical quality of the restoration work is standard-setting on an international level, ensuring the authenticity and integrity of the historic fabric.” 

“Innovative architectural and engineering solutions are underpinned by meticulous investigation and rigorous conservation principles. The centre’s diverse and creative programming enlivens the historic space with engaging heritage interpretation programmes and contemporary arts and culture. Against tremendous commercial real estate pressures, the successful realization of Tai Kwun stands as a testimony to Hong Kong SAR’s commitment to heritage.” 


Other Awardees include:

Award of Distinction

  • Keyuan Garden, Suzhou, China
  • Vikram Sarabhai Library, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, India
  • Nelson School of Music, Nelson, New Zealand

 Award of Merit

  • Tseto Goenpa, Paro, Bhutan
  • Guyue Bridge, Chi’an Town, Zhejiang, China
  • Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue, Mumbai, India
  • Our Lady of Glory Church, Mumbai, India
  • Lyttelton Timeball Station, Christchurch, New Zealand

Honourable Mention

  • The 5s Classroom, Preshil The Margaret Lyttle Memorial School, Kew, Australia
  • Westpac Long Gallery, Australian Museum, Sydney, Australia
  • Liddell Bros. Packing Plant, Wuhan, China
  • Flora Fountain, Mumbai, India

New Design in Heritage Contexts

  • Joan Sutherland Theatre Passageway and Lift, Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia
  • Dry Pit Latrine in Jiaxian Ancient Jujube Garden, Nihegou Village, Shaanxi, China
  • The Mills, Hong Kong SAR, China


The UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation programme recognizes the efforts of private individuals and organizations that have successfully restored and conserved structures and buildings of heritage value in the region. By recognizing private efforts to restore and adapt historic properties, the Awards aim to encourage other property owners to undertake conservation projects within their communities, either independently or by seeking public-private partnerships.

Awarded projects reflect a clear understanding and application of various criteria, such as the articulation of the spirit of place, technical achievement, appropriate use or adaption, and the project’s contribution to the surrounding environment as well as the local community’s cultural and historical continuity.

“Ever since the Awards programme was established in 2000, we have witnessed major strides in cultural heritage conservation over the past 20 years,” said Dr Duong Bich Hanh, Chair of the Jury and Chief of UNESCO Bangkok’s Culture Unit. “This year’s projects show the heightened level of public awareness, policy support and private sector investment in an ever-widening range of heritage typologies. It is notable how the 2019 winners showcase the increasing recognition of modern heritage in the Asia-Pacific region. We are also pleased to note how this year’s projects have continued and, in many cases, renewed their roles to meet local needs and contributed to the sustainability of the community.”

This year marked 20 years of the UNESCO Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation, which was conceived in Penang, Malaysia, during UNESCO’s landmark “Economics of Heritage” regional conference in 1999. In celebration of the 20th anniversary, UNESCO co-organized the Asia-Pacific Heritage 20/20 Forum and 2019 Awards Ceremony with Think City in Penang on 14 October 2019.

The 20/20 Forum provides an opportunity for industry practitioners to reflect upon how heritage conservation has evolved over the past 20 years, as well as to set a vision for linking heritage with sustainable development within the broad framework defined by UNESCO Agenda 2030 in the next 20 years.

The 2019 Awards Ceremony saw 150 past winners, jury members, contributors and friends of the Awards gather to recognize this year’s Award Winners as well as the launch of the Asia Conserved III Publication, which celebrates the winners of the Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation from 2009 to 2014.

For further information about the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation and upcoming events, please see: https://bangkok.unesco.org/theme/asia-pacific-heritage-awards

Call for Entries for the 2020 UNESCO Awards will be made at the end of 2019, and further details will be available on the awards website.


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For Awards-related inquiries, please contact:

Heritage Awards
Culture Unit
UNESCO Bangkok

Tel: (66 2) 391-5077 Ext. 511
Fax: (66 2) 391-0866
Email: heritageawards@unesco.org


Media contact:             

Jeremy Clay Walden-Schertz
Media Officer
UNESCO Bangkok

Tel: (66 2) 391-0577 Ext. 347
Fax: (66 2) 391-0866
Email: jc.schertz@unesco.org