In the past few decades the Tibetan Plateau and high Himalayan region has seen drastic changes brought by political factors, globalization, development, and tourism opportunities.
Often these changes are fatal, causing the cultural identity, way of life and traditional knowledge, which brought dignity and sustainability to daily life of these communities to disappear, and damage to the fragile environment.
One of the biggest changes in these communities and peoples’ lives has been housing development. Traditional houses have been replaced with new buildings made of concrete and built by construction companies often from outside of the community, without taking into consideration the needs of the local people, the climate of the region, much less the cultural and ecological value of the traditional buildings and the identity of the people who create these buildings.
For more than 20 years, Tibet Heritage Fund (THF) has been working against time to save Tibetan and Himalayan architecture and cultural heritage. Through surveying and documentation, and implementing conservation, restoration and rehabilitation projects, they worked on more than 100 conservation projects in the region, reviving building traditions and training over 700 people in traditional skills. Some of these projects includes the conservation of Lhasa old City, restoration projects of temples and monasteries in east Tibet (Amdo and Kham), Mongolia, Sikkim and in Ladakh the conservation of Leh old town and temples in the rural areas and conduct extensive training of local people in traditional building skills as well as in architecture and survey, wall painting conservation and management. Some of these projects have won UNESCO Asia-Pacific awards. Also THF research, documents, surveys architecture and crafts. Some of our publications are ‘The Old City of Lhasa, Vols. 1 and 2’, ‘The Temples of Lhasa: Tibetan Buddhist Architecture from the 7th to the 21st Centuries’, ‘The Lhasa House – Typology of Endangered Species’, ‘A Manual of Traditional Mongolian Architecture’, ‘Beijing Hutong Conservation Study’ and ‘The House of Tashi Tsering’. Our effort was recognised by UNESCO with three awards in 2006, 2009 and 2011.
To address the complex issues presented by urban housing in a fast-changing and contested environment, THF developed a community-based approach to conservation, promoting full participation of residents and local stakeholders, and concentrating on the transmission and development of traditional craft skills and building technology. Based on experience gained and success of the projects, Tibet Heritage Fund expanded its work to Kham, Amdo, Beijing, Mongolia and India, and is currently working to save Leh old town in Ladakh.
This talk will take you through our efforts to save this unique architectural heritage, and our vision for the future.
Friday, March 8; 7-9PM | General:$25/Members:$22.50 CLICK HERE TO REGISTER
Pimpim de Azevedo is an artist and conservator of Tibetan architecture, with a MRes in Heritage Sciences (UCL), who founded Tibet Heritage Fund with André Alexander in 1996. She was trained in traditional architecture by master craftsmen in Lhasa, and together with Alexander, developed a community-based conservation approach to old towns and settlements. Her work is well recognized in Tibet and Himalaya as well as internationally.
Yutaka Hirako is a Japanese architect with a degree in Chinese language and culture working with Tibet Heritage Fund since 1998 in China, Mongolia and India. Since 2012 he has been working as programme director of Tibet Heritage Fund and Leh Old Town Initiative. Currently Hirako is working to conserve Leh old town and to create a Heritage zone and guidelines. His conservation work won UNESCO Asia Pacific awards in 2009 and 2011.