India Wins Four UNESCO Heritage Awards


As many as four Indian buildings with cultural heritage value have been awarded at UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation in Malaysia.

The Vikram Sarabhai Library in Ahmedabad, Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue (Mumbai), Our Lady of Glory Church (Mumbai), and Flora Fountain (Mumbai) — have been awarded in three of the four categories of the programme.

After being Rehabilitated from a state of dilapidation, a part of architect Louis Kahn’s Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad campus- the Vikram Sarabhai Library received the Award of Distinction.

“The project has recovered configurations and uses of space in line with the architect’s vision while upgrading the functionality, to ensure that the library is ready to meet contemporary requirements,” the citation for Vikram Sarabhai Library reads. 

​Keneseth Eliyahoo, an Orthodox Jewish synagogue in Mumbai, and Our Lady of Glory Church, Mumbai, received the Award of Merit.
The citation for Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue reads, “The sensitive upgrade of building services allows the synagogue to continue its vital services to Jewish devotees, extending the cultural continuum of the oldest Baghdadi synagogue of the city.”

​Similarly, the citation received by Our Lady of Glory Church, calls the structure a proud neighbourhood landmark.

​Mumbai’s iconic 155-year-old Flora Fountain received honourable mention. Inspired by Victorian architecture, the Flora Mountain is owned and maintained by the city of Mumbai’s local governing body – the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). It was restored between July 2017 and October 2018.

​India, however, couldn’t claim any awards in the category of New Design in Heritage Contexts.
The awards aim to encourage other property owners to undertake conservation projects within their communities, either independently or by seeking public-private partnerships.
“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, the 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.”
The renewal of the historic Tai Kwun – Centre for Heritage and Arts 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 – were recognised 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.

© Sputnik / Yu. Polyakov

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