Tak Seng On Pawnshop Awarded Honourable Mention by UNESCO

Date of publication: 25/10/2004
Type: Other

Macao’s “Tak Seng On Pawnshop” has been awarded with the Honourable Mention in the UNESCO 2004 Asia - Pacific Heritage Awards for Culture Heritage Conservation. This award has undoubtedly encouraged Macao’s project in applying for UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage next year. It also helps to promote the positive image of cultural heritage conservation and reuse in the society.

The UNESCO Asia - Pacific Heritage Awards for Culture Heritage Conservation consists of the “Award of Excellence”, “Award of Distinction”, “Award of Merit” and “Honourable Mention”, which recognize the achievement of individuals, organizations or companies in the conservation/restoration of a structure or a series of structures in the private sector which is/are more than 50 years old. This year, seventeen historic monuments in the Asia – Pacific region were awarded. Macao’s “Tak Seng On Pawnshop”, finely preserved and reused by the Macao SAR Government, was regarded as a pioneering adaptive reuse project by UNESCO.

“Tak Seng On Pawnshop” was awarded with the following comments:

The restoration of the Tak Seng On pawnshop and tower keep has preserved a fine example of an unique southern China building type and has thereby protected the cultural memory associated with the region's commercial and financial history. Given the important historic role played by this type of financial institution to the communities of the Pearl River delta, by safeguarding this building type the project has made an important contribution to cultural and community continuity. The conservation of original features such as the main building's interior structures as well as the tower keep has retained the key elements of the building's intended functional form. The conservation approach has nevertheless acknowledged the evolved state of the building over time by preserving evidence of previous renovation work. The restoration project captures the living practices of the pawnshop in an on-site museum, by showcasing original objects discovered during the restoration process. A pioneering adaptive reuse project, the restoration of the pawnshop has made it one of the key landmarks on Macao's heritage trail, stimulating conservation of other commercial structures in the city.

Dr. Richard Engelhardt, UNESCO Regional Advisor for Culture in Asia and the Pacific, came to Macao yesterday to present the award. Ms. Heidi Ho, President of the Cultural Institute of the Macao SAR Government, attended the ceremony with several Social Affairs and Cultural Orders Committee Members, including Mr. Lei Pang Chu, editor-in-chief of the Macao Daily News; architect Carlos Marreiros and lawyer Henrique Saldanha; Mr. Lam Chung In, Director and General Executive of the Cultural Club and Ms. Alice Wong, Vice-President of the Cultural Institute of the Macao SAR Government.

In the ceremony, Dr. Richard Engelhardt awarded certificates to proprietor representative Mr. Chang Sui Xian; developer representative Mr. Cheung Lok Tin; contractor representative Mr. Siu Vai Kuoc; and Mr. Jacob Chueng, Acting Head of the Cultural Institute’s Cultural Heritage Department.

The Tak Seng On Pawnshop’s receiving the Honourable Mention in the UNESCO 2004 Asia - Pacific Heritage Awards for Culture Heritage Conservation has not only encouraged Macao’s application for World Cultural Heritage in the coming year, but has also helped in promoting the conservation and reuse of cultural heritage among local residents.