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SIAMESE HERITAGE TRUST

by the Siam Society under Royal Patronage

SPECIAL TRIP OF THE SIAM SOCIETY

THE  CROWN PROPERTY BUREAU  INVITES SOCIETY MEMBERS
TO VISIT ITS HERITAGE

Saturday, 14 and Saturday, 28 July 2012 (9 a.m. – 5 p.m.)
Leader: Dr. Yongtanit, Pimonsathean
Conservation Advisor to the Crown Property Bureau 

The Crown Property Bureau (CPB) was established under the Royal Assets Structuring Acts of 1936, 1941 and 1948. The CPB’s current role is for protecting and managing royal assets and property as well as supporting other activities for the benefit of Thai people and society. Heritage assets of CPB include palaces, shophouses and many important buildings of heritage value in Thailand.

CPB owns a large number of valuable historical properties in Thailand.  In 2000, CPB established the Conservation Project Administrative Department to look after its heritage properties, as well as to restore old buildings for  contemporary use and enhance the historical and architectural  value of the buildings. Over the last five years, CPB has completed much fine conservation projects such as palaces, historic shophouses and temples. One such conservation project has been recognized by UNESCO for outstanding restoration work is Na Phra Lan Historic Shophouses. Some of them are in the process of restoration.

As the Siamese Heritage Trust of the Siam Society and CPB Conservation Department share a common interest in the area of cultural heritage conservation and management, CPB has kindly offered to open some of its heritage properties to Society members. Visiting the sites under restoration will provide you with a different and exciting experience as you will see the old beauty freshly restored as well as witnessing the process of restoration.

This series is divided into two trips. Trip one is a visit to Ladawan Palace, Phraya Sri Thammathirat Mansion, and Loung Jitjumnongwanich Mansion on Saturday, 14 July 2012. Trip two is a visit to newly historic shophouses on Na Phra Lan Road, Tha Chang, Tha Tian, Sam Phreang neighborhood, and Sra Srong-long tha community, on Saturday, 28 July. 

Trip one: Saturday, 14 July 2012 (9 a.m. – 5 p.m.)

Ladawan Palace was built in 1907 as a gift from King Rama V to his son, Prince Yugala Dighambara, the Prince of Lopburi. It is designed in the style of Italian villas by the Italian architect, G. Bruno. The interior is a mixture of Chinese and European styles adapted to fit with the Thai climate. The palace has recently been restored and today it serves as the principal office of the Crown Property Bureau.

The group will take lunch at Sorndeang restaurant, a fifty year old Thai food restaurant on Ratchadamnoen Road. The interior and music in the restaurant is redolent of Bangkok in the 1950s.

 

Phraya Sri Thammathirat Mansion is situated within Sitabutrbumrung School, Rong Muang Road. Phraya Si Thammathirat was a civil servant in the reign of King Rama VI. His lovely mansion was sold to other users and finally to CPB. The Sitabutrbumrung School, the present tenant, used the decaying mansion as one of the school buildings. The building is in an advanced state of decay but retains historical and architectural value, and is now being restored to its former glory. During the restoration, many old beautiful traces that were hidden under the floor, behind the walls and ceiling’s surface for a long time, have reappeared.    

Loung Jitjumnongwanich Mansion is situated on Sathon Road. It was built in 1888 in the reign of King Rama V by Loung Jitjumnongwanich. He was the son-in-law of Loung Sathonrachayukt (Yome) a wealthy Chinese. The name “Sathon Road” is named after him because he dedicated his land for digging the canals to the Chao Phraya River, and the soil was then used for building Sathon Road. When Loung Jitjumnongwanich went bankrupt, his mansion was transferred to the Privy Purse and eventually the CPB.  From 1924 to 1928, the Siam Society rented a room in this mansion to conduct meetings once a month. It was called Poh Yome House. In 1948, the mansion was rented by the Embassy of Russian Federation to be used as its offices until 2002.  Now the mansion is under restoration by CPB and will become a luxurious boutique hotel soon.

Program:
9 a.m. Leave from the Siam Society at to visit Ladawan Palace.
Noon                Take lunch at Sorndeang restaurant
Afternoon         Proceed to Phraya Sri Thammathirat Mansion and Loung Jitjumnongwanich Mansion
5 p.m.              End the trip at the society

 

Trip two: Saturday, 28 July 2012 (9 a.m. – 5 p.m.)

We will visit several historical shophouse rows in Rattanakosin District that were built in the reign of King Rama V to VI, and are of particular interest because there were influenced by western architectural styles in 19th to 20th century. According to the intention of King Rama V, the buildings have been used as residences since they were built, but the condition of some buildings is in an advanced state of decay. Therefore, CPB plans to renovate these old buildings to fit a modern lifestyle while preserving their historical and architectural authenticity as well as maintaining the socio-cultural value of the communities.

Na Phra Lan Historic Shophouses
Na Phra Lan was a part of The Grand Palace compound and was the residence of King’s relatives (1782 – 1809).  A group of Na Phra Lan Historic Shophouses in western architectural style was built later in the reign of King Rama V (1868-1910) for commercial use. These shophouses were constructed with brick and plaster. Columns, pilasters, walls and openings are well-treated and some details look similar to those found in Tha Chang shophouses located nearby.


UNESCO recognized the outstanding restoration work of Na Phra Lan Historic Shophouses in Bangkok, Thailand with an award ceremony on Friday 23 December 2011 at Laddawan Palace Building.
The jury praised the project as follows: “The refurbishment of the Na Phra Lan Historic Shophouses has uplifted a historically significant urban complex in the heart of the historic core of Bangkok.  Prominently located across from the Grand Palace, the project has restored not only this architectural landmark from the early 20th century, but also the surrounding historic streetscape as well.  By removing inappropriate modern additions, using high-quality materials in repairs and upgrading services to meet modern building codes, the project has recovered the original, historically-accurate aesthetic while accommodating continued contemporary use.  The project establishes a commendable model for participation by the long-term tenants, who contributed to the project costs and have committed to maintaining the buildings in the years to come.” 


Tha Chang Historical Shophouses
At the corner of Tha Chang area, there are 33 units of beautifully decorated shophouses. These shophouses were built during King Rama V's reign (1868-1910) with beautiful plaster pediment, pilasters and stucco.

 

Tha Tian Historical Shophouses
In the past, the Tha Tian area was one of the significant communities in Rattanakosin. A palace of a prince was constructed in this area in the first reign (1782-1809) but it was totally destroyed by fire during the fourth reign (1851-1868). Then, a foreign court and accommodation for foreigners were built before they were replaced with shophouses. Shophouses in Tha Tian were believed to be built in the fifth reign (1865-1910) since some of the feature and decorative are similar to those found in Tha Chang and Na Phra Lan areas. Tha Tian shophouses are a good example of the early market development in Rattanakosin where a fresh market is surrounded by rows of shophouses.

Sam Phreang Neighborhood

This historical neighborhood is located behind the Supreme Court and Ministry of Defense buildings. It is one of the oldest trade districts in the city. Sam Phreang neighborhood lies within the three lanes at the southern end of Tanao Road; Phraeng Phuton, Phraeng Nara and Phraeng Sappasat. These lanes together are known as Sam Phraeng with each named after a Thai Prince. Each lane is lined with Prewar architecture and overflowing with food vendors and shophouses. This area used to be one of the busiest squares in Bangkok before modern shopping centers and department stores became prevailing custom of the Thai society.  The whole area has recently been restored and renovated and given recognition as a cultural heritage environment.

Historical Shophouses in Sra Srong-long tha community  
It was a plan of King Rama V to improve the community behind Wat Suthat Thepwararam Waramahaviharn to be a tidy commercial zone. A group of shophouses influenced by western architectural style was therefore built behind this temple. But a pond and a pavilion where the monks came to take a bath has remained. It can be assumed that the name “Sra Srong” was given to tell the history of the place in the old time.
Another nearby community was developed in the same period. Its name is Longtha community. In the past, this community had a pier where charcoal were loaded and transferred to Phra Na Korn. For this reason, the name Longtha was given to describe the activities of this community. 

Program:
9 a.m.              Leave from the Siam Society at to visit Historical Shophouses on Na Phra Lan Road,and Tha Chang
Noon                Take lunch at a famous restaurant in the old neighborhood
Afternoon        Visit Historical Shophouses in Tha Tian, Sam Phreang Neighborhood and Sra Srong-longtha community.

5 p.m. End the trip at the Society

About the trip leader:

Dr. Yongtanit Pimonsathean is one of Thailand’s leading conservationists, the main force behind preservation of old Phuket and documentation of heritage buildings on Northern Charoenkrung Road.  He has worked extensively on grassroots development planning and preservation projects in Thailand and throughout Southeast Asia. He is currently an instructor at the Faculty of Architecture and Planning, - Thammasat University, President of ICOMOS Thailand Association, an executive member of UNESCO Asia-Pacific’s Asian Academy for Heritage Management (AAHM), and holds leading positions in national heritage organizations in Thailand, as well as being an advisor to The Crown Property Bureau.

A contribution of Bt. 1,700 for each trip is requested to cover lunch, transportation, insurance and arrangement fee. Please pay by cash or transfer the money to the Siam Society travel account at the Thai Military Bank, Asoke Branch saving account no.  053-2-18000-7. Please fax or e-mail the deposit or transfer docket to us. 

 

This trip is only open to Society members.
Please book your place as soon as possible.

For further information and bookings please contact Khun Prasert or Khun Jarunee
Tel.0-2661-6470-7 ext. 204 or e-mail: Jarunee@siam-society.org
Office Hours: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday.
The Siam Society reserves the right to change the program as necessary.
 
As the two places to visit are currently under restoration, suitable attire is required