Two conservation and restoration projects in Vietnam have been singled out for excellence in the 2013 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation announced on September 3.

Bestowed with an Award of Merit, the restoration of five buildings in Duong Lam village, Son Tay district, Hanoi represented a successful effort to showcase the value of vernacular wooden architecture in Vietnam . The project represented a collaborative effort with many parties contributing to success, from carpenters, to Vietnamese architectural historians to Japanese experts.

UNESCO noted the effort "established a noteworthy model for future conservation efforts in other rural villages across Vietnam ".

The Lost Bomb Shelter of the Hotel Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi received the Honourable Mention Award. Rediscovered in 2011, the bomb shelter has been preserved in its original condition, with the mechanical and electrical installations making it accessible and safe for public viewing added in a sensitive and thoughtful manner.

The Award of Excellence went to the restoration and conservation of the principal chedi (reliquary stupa) in Wat Prayurawongsawas Worawihan temple in Bangkok , Thailand . The work was recognised for its technical achievement and outstanding social impact.

The Great Serai (Afghanistan), Lal Chimney Compound (India), and Khaplu Palace (Pakistan) received the Award of Distinction. The other eight conservation and restoration projects – including Vietnam's – shared awards of merit, and Honourable Mention.

Tim Curtis, Culture Unit Chief and Jury Chair, said the entrants reflected "our broadest ever geographical range this year, spanning from the Cook Islands in the Eastern Pacific Ocean to the Islamic Republic of Iran at the far end of West Asia ".

The winners were selected based on how the projects reflected a clear understanding and application of various criteria, such as the articulation of the spirit of place, technical achievement, appropriate use or adaptation, and the project's contribution to the surrounding environment and the local community's cultural and historical continuity.-VNA