Yangon, for instance, is one of the world’s great 19th century trading cities with a superb concentration of British period buildings in the downtown area and alongside its historic waterfront. Many were built by local craftsmen using designs prepared by government architects working in India. Since the capital relocated to Naypyidaw in 2006, many are in urgent need of restoration and conversion to imaginative new uses.
Founded in 2012, the Yangon Heritage Trust has demonstrated that conservation-led regeneration is central to the economic and cultural future of the city. As the city enters a period of rapid modernisation and change, the Trust stands in the forefront of urban policy-making pioneering conservation work to provide exemplars of best practice.
Turquoise Mountain is working alongside the Trust to help restore and convert key buildings. It was founded in 2006 by HRH The Prince of Wales to regenerate historic areas and traditional crafts and to create jobs, skills and a renewed sense of pride.
Turquoise Mountain was founded in 2006 by HRH Prince Charles to regenerate historic areas and traditional crafts, to create jobs, skills and a renewed sense of pride.
Globally since 2006 Turquoise Mountain has:
- Regenerated 150 historic buildings
- Won a UNESCO Heritage Award for its restoration and adaptive re-use of historic buildings
- Trained over 6,000 artisans and builders
- Brought over $6 million of craft products to market
- Organized major international exhibitions, from the Venice Biennale to the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC
Turquoise Mountain has been operating in Myanmar since the end of 2014. The vision for Turquoise Mountain Myanmar is to save the iconic urban heritage of Yangon’s Downtown and to revive the traditional handicraft industry. The impact on Myanmar will be significant; in providing livelihoods, opportunity for reconciliation, safeguarding cultural assets, and providing a boost to national pride.
Yangon’s historic downtown has a wealth of beautiful colonial buildings in immediate danger; our ambition is to provide a sustainable example by which these may be saved. The craft industry dovetails perfectly with these buildings, both as workshop and retail space, but also in engaging visitors with Myanmar cultural heritage in an inspirational setting.
URBAN REGENERATION, 491-501 MERCHANT STREET
Turquoise Mountain Myanmar completed its first building renovation at the heart of Yangon’s historic Downtown in April 2016, in partnership with the Yangon Heritage Trust.
The renovation not only secured the future of one of Yangon’s at risk historic buildings and the rich and diverse community within it, but also now acts as an exemplar conservation project to enable and inspire others.
A comprehensive programme of vocational training in traditional construction skills was run in parallel with the renovation project, and over 250 people were trained during the project in everything from decorative lime plasterwork to surveying of historic buildings.
An exhibition opened within the building called ‘Living Restoration’ which told the story of all the different elements of the project, and this was accompanied by a rich programme of events which encourage engagement from a wide number ofdifferent audiences- everything from traditional puppet shows for local school children to a lively 2-day heritage themed debate in partnership with local student group the Yangon Debate League – and these have encouraged thousands of Myanmar people to engage with their heritage.
LANDMARK REGENERATION – TOURIST BURMA BUILDING
Following the successful completion of the Merchant Street renovation, the Yangon Regional Government asked Turquoise Mountain to undertake the revitalization of the old Tourist Burma Building at the heart of Yangon.
This landmark building in Yangon’s Downtown overlooks the Sule Pagoda and Mahabadoola Park, and is a fine example of classical architecture. The project will reconnect the citizens of Yangon with an iconic building, drawing them into its public spaces. The restoration will train hundreds more people in traditional building skills and most importantly, provide a compelling lead for others to follow. The project will complete in summer 2019.
THE TURQUOISE MOUNTAIN HEADQUARTERS – YANGON’S CHINATOWN IN 2018
Turquoise Mountain completed the restoration of a traditional Chinatown property to house its crafts workshops, showroom, event space and office. The space is open daily for visitors, and has already hosted a number of lectures and exhibits. It’s the center Turquoise Mountain’s work in crafts that reaches across the country.