22-26 July 2001


Posted on 19 Oct 2008 by admin

Tuesday, July 24, 2001, 14:30-18:00

Report III-1

Syed Zainol Abidin Idid (Malaysia): "MELAKA - TOWARDS WORLD HERITAGE LISTING"

Heritage is a broad definition and the concept ranges from natural to cultural environment. It covers a multitude of entity from tangible (physical) to the intangibles. The tangibles include landscape, historic places, archaeological sites, natural and built environments. The intangibles include past and continuing cultural practices, Knowledge and living experiences.

Nowhere in the world can we find such complexity in the system of urban cultures such as that we see in Malaysian cities. History and the spirit of tolerances among various ethnic groups (natives or immigrants) has made various cultures to co-exist by their own entity and customs practiced without merging or blending completely into one another although there are some habits that became intermingled and assimilated. Some root cultures remained impassive to changes although places where it originated from may have undergone significant changes. This has also been an essential beginning for what we see in the complexity of cultural entities in Malaysia today.

The preservation of Melaka's built heritage involves many intricate issues such as building and ownership, willingness of owner to co-operate, affordability, intervention, and a whole array of issues that underlines public and private initiatives and co-operation. The law doesn't provide enough provision for the authority concerned to act openly as desired. Unfortunately, some individuals took advantage of such situation in painting a bleak future towards the effort in promoting heritage.

The context of Melaka has a vital 'missing link' which denotes the period in which Melaka achieved it zenith point of importance. This is because of the absence of the physical evidence peculiar to that period. The urban morphology that we see today is therefore only apparent in the period in which the urban transformation took place in a different norm. An introduction of new building materials and road construction made apparent, 'what is and in what period', after the Portuguese intervention. And effort has to be made to ascribe more intangible evidences, as they are more appropriate rationales for Melaka's nomination of world heritage listing.

However, in the Malaysian society, there is a strong animosity to the process because conservation is seen to be deterrent to progress and development. And the current legislation merely focus the on building in the context of a piece of monument and lacks emphasis on 'area conservation' and the understanding of the 'context of a place'. It is important to bring the authorities to realize that conservation does not only restrict to deal with single building but in fact the entire image of a place.

Report III-3:

ZHANG Fuhe (China):

Since the 90's, under economics reformation and opening to the western countries, there has been more opportunity for people in China to participate in architectural preservation.

A good relationship between designers and owners is a crucial factor in handling conservation issue. Only when owners are willing to preserve and revitalize the historical modern architecture, researchers can become designers. On the other hand, the owners, designers and constructors are obliged to work together in order to guarantee that buildings will be constructed in accordance with the architectural requirements stated in the design blueprints. However, the constructor sometimes omitted this process and simply follows the owners' proposals. Ignoring the blueprints often lead to future confusion and problems.

Various government departments often offer supports for conservation. Sometimes they are able to influence the owners to give up certain personal interest or to solve the conflicts between the three parties as well as denying the chances of disregarding of the design blueprints.

Various upper-level governmental bureaus are responsible for construction fee required. Private funding is usually less available because the returning benefit is relatively low for restoration or renewal. Demolition turns out to be the most preferred proposal. This is also related to the preference of newness of the so-called "psychology of modern fashion". On the other hand, designers seldom receive considerable amount of design fee as such "government projects" could make one feel it is an obligation to do the job. This altitude might be incorrect, as this would affect the research jobs of the scholars concerned. People should also adopt a more active attitude towards the revitalization and preservation of historical modern architecture and landscape. Preservation projects in fact give chances for scholars to apply academic researches into practice. One must go back and forth between theory and practice, practice and theory. In this case, we can become a real modern architectural preservationist.

Report III-4:

Yoon In-Suk (Korea):

In general, the opening-a-port period has been regarded as the starting point of Korean modern architecture with the introduction of western architecture.

Western modern architectural culture was introduced to Korea through the following paths:
a) Foreign countries' diplomatic and consular offices, trade service facilities, residential buildings, which were built in opened ports/concessions
b) The buildings for which Korean people adopted the western architectural method.
c) Buildings that were built by Japanese colonial age
d) Christian schools and religion facilities that were built by western countries' architects
At present, the Cultural Properties Protection Law protects and keeps cultural properties, in case they have important value in terms of historical base. But there is no programme for maintenance or practical use of cultural properties. Most of the downtown modern buildings that have not been designated as a cultural property were removed by urban redevelopment projects for maximization of land-use efficiency. Also, any buildings were built by Japanese in order to govern Korea ad many zinzya (shrine) were built by Japanese for Shinto, the Japanese traditional religion, during Japanese colonial age. Korean people and some scholars prefer destroying those buildings to preserving them, due to the deep anti-Japanese feelings among Korean People. So, buildings of this kind couldn't be major research targets of the history of Korean modern architecture.

In Seoul, the Seoul Metropolitan Government has executed modern building preservation policy. However, it doesn't have any good, practical plans for utilisation of preserved buildings yet.
I think that it will be desirable if the Korean National University of Cultural Heritage offers some relevant programs for preservation, utilization and technological education of modern buildings, since the Cultural Properties Administration has initiative in preservation, maintenance and management of cultural properties in Korea.

Korean people are very familiar with the traditional-style cultural properties but not modern-style cultural properties. And those buildings that were built after 1945 couldn't receive great historical attention because of their short ages although they are the first modern buildings built by Korean architects in the truest sense of the word. And many of them are removed already through urban redevelopment. However, there has been strong criticism against urban land policy, which put too much emphasis in raising urban densities. And in some cities, they started to adopt new urban design method that considers social, historical and psychological environments.

Report III-5:

Maeno Masaru (Japan):

The Design of vernacular architecture was often considered as the result of traditional life and customs of the local habitants. However, according to Maeno's experience, many owners hate to preserve their own buildings as the historical assets. In 1990, about 30% of recognized important buildings under the List of Modern Architecture in Japan were found demolished in the central area of Tokyo.

The reasons for the demolition of buildings can be analyzed as follows: 1) Older equipment of the building like trouble of water supply, draining and air conditioner; 2) Defective structure of the building like cracking of wall; 3) Leaking trouble on roofs and drains; 4) The land use for the economic efficiency on urban development, especially at the age of economic boom; 5) Inheritance tax and inheritance problems, where the bereaved family have to sell their bereaved land to pay the tax. Even after the economic boom, urban developer demands land for construction, which is a big general market of consumption and production.

As a result of the surveys in Okayama Prefecture and their experiences in dealing with a variety of architectural problems and preservation activities, the "Three Principles for Preservation and Utilization" and "Five Architectural Elements" are concepts that permeate Maeno's laboratory at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts which are helpful in considering the conservation of towns and townscape.

The Three Principles are 1) Liveability, making the city and its architecture more efficient; 2) Clean Environment, preserving the city and the living environment; and 3) Visible Value, showing the value of the city/ architecture. The order of importance of the principles can differ among residents, administration and visitors. When these principles are missing, preservation will be difficult; when they are present, towns and architecture will become revitalized.

And the Five Elements are 1) Convenience; 2) Memorial value; 3) Artistic value; 4) Uniqueness and 5) Relevancy - the feeling that architecture and urban facilities are connected to residents' live. These elements are important for the residents of a given district to respect to the architecture of their district, which, as a result, give characters and values to the buildings and the district.

Report III-6:

Bundit Chulasai (Thailand):

Hua Hin Hotel, 1922
The hotel is located on Prachuap kirikhan. An Italian architect, A. Rigazzi, designed it as a brick hotel, similar to the luxurious resort hotels in Europe. Wood also plays an important part in its construction. For example, in verandas and pillars extending to an outstanding roof that sheltered large pathways and veranda on both levels. This design was smartly adapted from European architecture with the consideration of Thailand's tropical climate. The veranda surrounding the building was built to protect guests from heavy rain, and the steep angle of roof helped to ventilate the heat and prevent rainwater form running back along the tiles.

In 1988, its restoration was completed. The building and the interior of the hotel are faithfully restored and decorated to keep its valuable heritage. The new building is annexed to the old one that preserved and replicated the style of the original design. The conservation of the architecture reflects not only the needs of travellers, but also the building's rich history and memories, as well as the heritage of yesterday, today and the future.

Darabhirom Museum, 1923-1933
The museum is located in Chiengmai. It was originally a retreat palace for Queen Dararasmi. After her death, the building was put into various uses and renovated. Darabhirom Palace was a big residence in two-storey half-brick, half-timber construction with reinforced concrete structure. The upper floor was partitioned into several rooms with high ceilings. Above the wall were broad openings for ventilation decorated with wooden gingerbread strips. The building was designed in a European style but was adapted to fit with the local tropical climate. The objective of its renovation in 1995 is to maintain the original form and style of the building. The renovation also includes work on the Queen's garden and the landscape surrounded the palace.

Bharotraja Pavilion, 1929-1932
This pavilion was used as a residence for administrative staffs and foreign professors. It was renovated in 1995 to continue its use to house an administrative office and facilities like reception, academic meeting and exhibition. It represents a popular style of residence of its time. It has certain features of the trend like half-brick, half-timber construction, open staircase, open ground floor plan with big pillars, and steep hip roof. There are features of colonial building wisely adapted form the Victorian style to fit with Thailand tropical climate, for example, wide balcony, veranda and louvered windows.


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