LWK Received Honours at the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Award Ceremony
18 Apr 2018
LWK & Partners (HK) Ltd. (“LWK”) participated in the revitalisation of the Blue House Cluster. The revitalisation and preservation project gained recognition from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (“UNESCO”), and was awarded the Award of Excellence in the 2017 Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation (the “Heritage Awards”) – the first project from Hong Kong to receive the highest honour in the Heritage Awards. An award ceremony has been held on 6 April to honour award winners. LWK as Lead Consultant and Project Architect, Conservation Consultant, and Landscape Consultant , was invited to attend the award ceremony.
Managing Director of LWK, Mr. Ronald Liang, Director, Mr. CM Lee and the rest of the project team for the revitalisation attended the ceremony. Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, Ms. Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s Secretary for Development, Mr. Michael Wong, Chair of the Jury for the UNESCO Heritage Awards and Chief of the Culture Unit, UNESCO Bangkok, Dr. Duong Bich Hanh, and Chairman of Executive Committee of the Project Proponent, St. James’ Settlement, Dr. David Li were officiating guests at the ceremony.
Chief Executive Ms. Carrie Lam said in her speech that the award “marks a proud milestone in Hong Kong’s journey in heritage conservation and revitalisation”. The revitalisation preserved not only the unique architecture, but also immortalised the values of the neighbourhood. The wholehearted involvement of related parties has given the project a vitality that can withstand the test of time.
The jury said in the adjudication of the Blue House conservation that the project “… showed inclusion of an extensive league of people from different background – from residents and social workers to conservation experts. They have led a grass-root revolution that preserved the last labour-class community in a corner of Wanchai that is quickly getting more upscale every day. This never-before-seen civil power that protects the marginalised local heritage in the most pressured property market in the world will inspire urban cities around the globe to continue the fight. “The restoration also saw the instalment of modern building systems, which has bettered residents’ quality of life. The revitalised buildings also encourage community participation. The project stood as a symbol that restoration and revitalisation are not only preserving and safeguarding the architecture, but also the living history and culture of a neighbourhood. The Blue House Cluster is a unique landmark that inspires civic effort to protect marginalised local heritage.
Duong Bich Hanh, Chair of the Jury and Chief of the Culture Unit, UNESCO Bangkok, gave high praise for the Blue House Cluster, saying that, “The Jury was impressed by the heroic nature of the conservation projects, especially those that underscore the importance of protecting heritage that is rooted in the least powerful segments of society.”
Funded by the Hong Kong government’s Revitalising Historic Buildings through Partnership Scheme, the Blue House Cluster was the first project to adopt the “retention of both the residents and the buildings” approach in its revitalisation. LWK made extensive efforts to strike a balance between preserving the buildings’ authenticity and current statutory requirements. In addition to thorough research on various aspects of the cluster, local and overseas experts were invited onto the team as advisors. Instead of replacement, key existing features were repaired with special proprietary products sourced from global locations.
The Blue House Cluster will continue to be a role model for historical architecture revitalisation, and inspire other cities that are similarly affected by rapid urbanisation to preserve cultural history, so that our next generation can learn from their ancestors’ wisdom and practices.
For more information of the project, please click here.