Bangkok’s lost heritage

Driving last week end through Bangkok old China town roads, I couldn’t  help wonder like so many other times, why is nothing being done to preserve the old traditional buildings in this area? It’s heart breaking, some real gems are left to complete disrepair and neglect!

I understand that restoration and preservation of traditional buildings can be a very expensive venture which require specialist skills and takes time. Earlier in my career as an intern, I’ve seen first hand the process of conservation and restoration of an old Ottoman palace and I still remember injecting specially mixed paint colours into the ceramics tiles to restore some of the faded colours. It was a job of precision, patience and dedication.

But Thailand is not new to restoration, The Fine Art Department has over the years restored a number of temples and palaces with great architecture significance. Thailand has been very good at preserving temples and palaces heritage but there are very few examples of other buildings showcasing different periods of Thai architectural history.

So why are these buildings neglected to the point of total disrepair and loss?

There are  two  reasons I can think of;

Location; most of these buildings are located in the old part of China town which is in need of a major urban renewal surgery to breath life back into it.

Its one way road system, through traffic, lack of parking facilities are but few of the problems that turned this part of Bangkok, once a thriving commercial area, into a run down deserted place.

Funding; There is no mechanism in place to support private owners protecting and preserving these properties

Obviously there is a need for new strategies to revive these depressed areas. Funding models being the essence of any urban renewal, models from

So, is there a solution then to this dilemma?

How did other nations manage to protect their heritage?

I guess it’s going to take some research to find out which model can be applied to Bangkok’s circumstances. Until next time, let’s do some research.

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