Ladakh restoration project wins UNESCO award, two Mumbai projects find honourable mention

Restoration of an aristocratic house from a state of partial ruin in Ladakh has won a UNESCO Asia-Pacific award for conservation, the world body announced Friday.

While the Ladakh project won in the category of Award of Distinction under UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation, rejuvenation of a university clock tower and a fountain in Mumbai have jointly received Honourable Mention, along with a project in China.

The LAMO Center in Jammu and Kashmir’s Ladakh region was chosen for its systematic restoration project that used salvaged and local building materials, and indigenous construction techniques while adroitly introducing modern amenities to assure its ongoing use, UNESCO Bangkok said in a statement.

From Mumbai, the restoration projects of the iconic Rajabai Clock Tower of Mumbai University and Ruttonsee Muljee Jetha Fountain, both belonging to the colonial-era have received Honourable Mention.

Noted conservation architect Vikas Dilawari, whose earlier restoration projects in the city have also UNESCO heritage conservation awards, was ecstatic after the announcement.

The challenge was to restore its water engineering too, apart from the architectural conservation, he said.

Funded and now looked after by the KGA it took about a year for restoration, the Mumbai-based architect said.

The project sets a model for its seamless approach to safeguarding built heritage intertwined with intangible cultural heritage in a mutually enriching way, the UNESCO statement said.

On the renewal of the Rajabai Clock Tower and Library, the citation said, it opens up a new chapter for one of the city’s significant neo-Gothic landmarks.

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