top of page

Architectural Conservation

in Asia

Publisher’s Description:

At a time when organized heritage protection in Asia is developing at a rapid pace, Architectural Conservation in Asia provides the first comprehensive overview of architectural conservation practice from Afghanistan to the Philippines. The country by country analysis adopted by the book draws out local insights, experiences, best practice and solutions for effective cultural heritage management that will inform study and practice both in Asia and beyond.

Whereas architectural conservation in much of the Western world has been extensively documented, this book brings together coverage of many regions where architectural conservation has been understudied. Following on from the highly influential companion volumes on global architectural conservation and architectural conservation in Europe and the Americas, with this book the authors extend their pioneering global examination to the dynamic and evolving field of architectural conservation in Asia.

Throughout the book, the authors and regional experts provide local case studies and profile topics that bring depth and insight to this ambitious study. As architectural conservation becomes increasingly global in practice, this book will be of considerable assistance to architectural conservation practitioners, site managers and students within Architecture, Planning, Archaeology and Heritage Studies worldwide. – Routledge

"A remarkable achievement. A magnificent guided tour through Asia’s

architectural conservation. Following the success of Time Honored: A Global View of Architectural Conservation and Architectural Conservation in Europe and the Americas, this book continues to offer readers an exceptionally wide and valuable perspective, as well as insights into the diverse practices of architectural conservation in Asia." - Yeo Kang Shua, Singapore University of Technology and Design


"A highly ambitious book, Architectural Conservation in Asia provides a unique overview of how the conservation of built heritage has evolved across the region, tackling debates about the materialities of uncomfortable histories, or how ‘Asian approaches’ to conservation intersect with 19th century colonial practices. I am particularly heartened to see chapters on Central Asia, a long overlooked, yet historically significant, region." - Tim Winter, Research Chair in Cultural Heritage, Deakin University, Melbourne

"The built heritage of Asia is among the oldest, most widespread, and most diverse in the world. But it is also the most endangered. Wars, rapid urbanization, explosive population growth, antiquities thieves, climate change and other challenges are putting at great risk this heritage which belongs not just to Asia, but to humankind.  Stubbs and Thomson's Architectural Conservation in Asia is both timely and critical to generate an international demand for the protection 

of these irreplaceable assets." - Donovan Rypkema, President, Heritage Strategies International


"Architectural Conservation in Asia is remarkable in that it is the first book of its kind that provides a systematic and comprehensive overview of architectural conservation not only across geographical and political boundaries, but also across traditional and contemporary built heritage in Asia." - Ho-Yin Lee, Head of Division of Architectural Conservation Programmes, The University of Hong Kong

Table of Contents (PDF)

Publisher's Discount



A global center of Buddhism and Zoroastrianism until 1,400 years ago when Islamic conquerors invaded from the west, Afghanistan remains today a vibrant and volatile crossroads of political and religious forces. 



Carved out of the traditionally Muslim region of East Bengal, Bangladesh straddles the nexus of four major river systems where they meet the Bay of Bengal. It supports an abundance of significant architectural resources, from the ancient to the modern.



Bhutan stands out as a country that is especially concerned with protection, Buddhism deeply influences all aspects of life in the kingdom today, in particular its architectural and artistic traditions.



Brunei is a compact and prosperous Muslim sultanate on the northern coast of Borneo. Without the monumental ancient architecture found elsewhere in Southeast Asia, it has to date had little opportunity to play a significant role in regional architectural conservation.



The Khmer people and their predecessors have occupied the Mekong River basin for at least the past four thousand years. Producing one of the greatest architectural achievements of the ancient world: the multi-centered historic city of Angkor.



Modern India's broad roster of heritage sites spans thousands of years, numerous reigning empires and several religious beliefs, including two of the world’s most prominent faiths, Buddhism and Hinduism.



Modern Indonesia encompasses a broad range of cultural heritage, including early hominid fossils, massive Buddhist structures, wooden mosques, Hindu temples and a wide variety of vernacular built heritage.



With a remarkably rich tradition of architecture and building craftsmanship, Japan has established itself as a global leader in the scholarship and practice of cultural heritage protection, both movable and immovable.



Culturally, Kazakhstan is split between a predominantly nomadic culture in the north and a string of ancient urban centers along its southern borders.



Kyrgyzstan is home to a broad array of archaeological sites and cultural landscapes that represent the intermingling of religious traditions associated with the ancient trade networks, and the harmonization of Islam with the religious practices of its indigenous nomadic and semi-nomadic peoples.



Despite a relatively turbulent modern history, Laos retains an extraordinary natural and cultural heritage, much of which has been subject to heritage protection measures only since the early 1990s. 



Since gaining independence in 1957, Malaysia transformed from an agriculturally-driven nation into one of Asia’s strongest developing economies, and has been able to support museums, academic institutions, non-governmental organizations and conservation activities.



With an early cultural legacy of Buddhist and Hindu communities, long-standing connections to Indian Ocean trade routes, and periods of Portuguese, Dutch and British occupation, the country has a nascent cultural heritage infrastructure with limited governmental support.



With relatively few permanently settled areas it is one of the last countries in the world with a substantial and vibrant nomadic population and culture. Once a dominant power in Asian, Mongolia has more recently been subject to the influences of its more powerful neighbors.

Myanmar (Burma)


Home to several indigenous imperial capitals, most notably Mandalay and Bagan, and their colonial counterpart of Yangon, Myanmar’s predominantly Buddhist culture has influenced its deep legacy of architectural, aesthetic, and cultural traditions.



Conservation activity in Nepal is not a new phenomenon. The country’s rich cultural and architectural heritage, which is rooted in the Hindu and Buddhist faiths, includes many historic accounts of conservation efforts. Throughout the country, inscriptions recount maintenance and reconstruction regimes.



Perhaps best known as home to Asia’s earliest cities, the Harappan sites of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa, Pakistan’s rich history includes contributions from prominent Buddhist, Hindu, Hellenistic, Jain and Zoroastrian civilizations, as well those that came from its Islamic heritage.

People’s Republic of China


China boasts an impressive roster of global superlatives: the largest population, the fastest growing economy, one of the world’s largest consumer markets, home to some of the world’s largest cities, and one of the world’s oldest cultures in terms of language and geographic unity.



Geographically separated from the rest of Southeast Asia, it was thus removed from the Hindu, Buddhist and Islamic influences. Nevertheless, the outside world eventually arrived, first Arab and Chinese traders in the ninth to twelfth centuries CE, and eventually the Spanish in 1521.



As one of the world’s few remaining city-states, Singapore offers a compact, well-defined case study in the complex relationship between urban development, heritage tourism and architectural conservation.

South and North Korea


Confucian and Buddhist traditions and holding ancestors in high esteem drives the architectural conservation ethic on the Korean peninsula. Outside forces have since ancient times been a major contributing factor in the development of the peninsula’s built environment.

Sri Lanka


Centuries of sea-based commerce brought missionaries, explorers and traders to Sri Lanka’s shores, influencing the development of its architectural and artistic traditions and resulting in a heterogeneous mosaic of cultures, cities and buildings.



A number of factors, political and historical, affect the unusual cultural heritage management environment in Taiwan, officially known as the Republic of China (ROC). Many of these relate to the island nation’s contentious relationship with its mainland neighbor, the People’s Republic of China (PRC).



Despite a turbulent transition to independece, the country has managed to establish and maintain a functioning conservation infrastructure at the national level, and has actively worked to nominate some of its wealth of diverse heritage sites to UNESCO’s tentative World Heritage list.



Thailand’s experience in protecting and restoring its monuments is based in the tradition-oriented nature of the Thai people, tenets of the country’s predominant religion, Buddhism, have also incentivized a conservation mentality.



Home to ancient capitals since early antiquity, Turkmenistan possesses a wealth of archaeological sites, along with ruined and still-occupied cities that feature monumental mud brick fortifications dating to the peak years of the great Asian trade routes.



Uzbekistan is distinguished in the region by the fact that many of its ancient cities remain major urban centers to this day. As a result, the country has been the primary hub of conservation activity in the region since the Soviet era, with several major efforts focused on its magnificent urban districts.



Vietnam’s rich and varied cultural heritage is largely due to its location as the extensive edge of mainland Southeast Asia, which exposed its inhabitants to South China Sea trade routes. Culturally, Vietnam has been significantly influenced for over two millennia by neighboring imperial dynasties.

Kazakhstan_Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasavi (1389-1405)
Turkmenistan_Sultan Tekesh Mausoleum, Konye-Urgench
Uzbekistan_Bukhara Fortress
Malaysia_Kapitan Keling Mosque, Penang
Sri Lanka_Sigiriya
Kyrgyzstan _Sulaiman Sacred Mountain
Bangladesh_National Assembly_Dhaka
Pakistan_Tomb of Bibi Jawindi, Uch Complex
Nepal_Bhairavnath Temple_Bhaktapur
Brunei_Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque
Afghanistan_Bamyan Valley Buddha
Philippines_Baclayon Church, Bohol
India_Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus_Mumbai
Ise Shrine, Japan
Angkor Wat, Cambodia
One Pillar Pagoda_Hanoi_Vietnam
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, Chinatown, Singapore
Wat Chaiwatthanaram_Ayutthaya_Thailand
Wat Mai, Luang Prabang, Laos
Temple of Heaven, Beijing, China
Dhammayangyi Temple_Interior, Myanmar
Erdene Zuu Monastery, Mongolia
Hwaseong Fortress, South Korea
Peinan Cultural Park, Taiwan
bottom of page