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International Symposium ‘The Conservation of Brick Monuments at World Heritage sites’

19-21 October 2016
Historic City of Ayutthaya © UNESCO | Francesco Bandarin

The symposium was initiated in response to the decision of the World Heritage Committee on the state of conservation of the Historic City of Ayutthaya World Heritage Site.

The Committee recommended that Thailand hold “an international symposium, in collaboration with UNESCO and the Advisory Bodies, to debate on the conservation philosophy of brick-associated sites, together with academics and international conservation practitioners”. 

The symposium will provide a platform for exchanging knowledge on conservation of brick monuments in the context of World Heritage sites, in line with international standards and World Heritage principles related to authenticity and integrity. It will be attended by experts from various international institutes related to cultural heritage conservation including the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (Japan), Cologne Institute of Conservation Sciences (Germany), World Monuments Fund (USA), ICOMOS, ICCROM, and national agencies responsible for the conservation of brick-associated World Heritage Sites in South-East Asia. 

The invited speakers will address a range of challenges in conservation, including the appropriate application of scientific conservation principles, traditional building techniques and materials in undertaking conservation of ancient sites, as well as practical ways to include local communities for sustainable heritage protection.

The symposium will focus on thematic sessions, as follows:

Keynote Session: International standards on the conservation of World Heritage sites

Session 1: Evolving principles and practices in the conservation of brick monuments for World Heritage sites

Session 2: Brick monument conservation in Historic City of Ayutthaya World Heritage site: challenges and responses

Session 3: Revival of traditional craftsmanship in brick and lime conservation for World Heritage sites

Session 4: Towards an updated conservation philosophy for brick monuments at Historic City of Ayutthaya World Heritage site

The symposium also includes a one-day field visit to monuments in the Historic City of Ayutthaya, which will be followed by a half-day Session 4, which is a final panel discussion among participants. The discussion aims to gather observations and recommendations that will result in the definition of authenticity and integrity in the context of the Historic City of Ayutthaya World Heritage site, the proposed update of conservation principles and practices in line with international standards, and recommendations for institutional and technical capacity building in heritage protection for Thailand.

The symposium will provide useful recommendations to the Fine Arts Department of Thailand on how to improve the institutional and technical capacity for the better conservation of this World Heritage site. 

Hideyuki Hata
Hideyuki HATA
World Heritage Properties 1
States Parties 1
Regions 1
Asia and the Pacific

Wednesday, 19 October 2016
Friday, 21 October 2016

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Historic City of Ayutthaya, Thailand
Decisions (1)
Code: 39COM 7B.71
Title: Historic City of Ayutthaya (Thailand) (C 576)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7B;
  2. Recalling Decision 36 COM 8E, adopted at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012), adopting the retrospective Statement of Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) for the property;
  3. Acknowledges the information provided by the State Party and the steps taken in response to the concerns about the quality of the post-flood restoration work undertaken in 2012 and to the ICOMOS Advisory mission; as well as the project to study and establish flood modelling, in order to propose flood risk mitigation measures for the Historic City of Ayutthaya with the assistance of the World Heritage Centre and UNESCO Bangkok;
  4. Recommends the State Party to carry out, as a matter of urgency, training programmes to improve the skills and expertise of craftsmen undertaking the conservation activities and to ensure conservation approaches are based on scientific conservation principles and respecting use of traditional materials and skills;
  5. Requests the State Party to develop a comprehensive plan for conservation and utilization with the assistance of experts and specialists of different disciplines and to update the site Management Plan accordingly;
  6. Encourages the State Party to organize an international symposium, in collaboration with UNESCO and the Advisory Bodies, to debate on the conservation philosophy of brick associated sites, together with academics and international conservation practitioners;
  7. Also requests the State Party to refrain from new construction within the property and its setting in particular within the area of the footprint of the historic city that may have an impact on its OUV of the property and to ensure appropriate control mechanisms are established, in line with the national policy concerning the protection of cultural heritage and World Heritage properties;
  8. Invites the State Party to provide the World Heritage Centre with detailed information concerning the restoration projects as part of the post-flood interventions and, in general, any major projects foreseen at the property and its buffer zone, for review by the Advisory Bodies, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
  9. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2016, an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in 2017.

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