The Tin Sheds Gallery at the University of Sydney is currently showcasing the pioneering conservation and preservation work carried out by Tongji University in Shanghai as part of their Historic Conservation Program at several heritage sites.

The Historic Conservation Program at Tongji University’s College of Architecture and Urban Planning has undertaken several conservation projects for important World Heritage Sites including the Sangzhutse Fortress in Shigatse, Tibet; Fujian Tulou (Fujian Earthen Structures) in Fujian Province; the Ancient City of Ping Yao in Shanxi Province; and the Old Town of Lijiang in Yunnan Province.

University of Sydney’s Trevor Howells, senior lecturer and co-ordinator of the Heritage Conservation Program in the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning comments that the scope of Tongji’s program encompasses a wide range of urban and regional sites from individual buildings to important urban centres, historic gardens and cultural landscapes.

Envisioning Historical Place from Tongji University traces the history and achievements of the Historic Conservation Program over the last ten years through an engaging exhibition as well as case studies of key architectural and urban conservation projects.

A prominent exhibit is the Sangzhutse Fortress project based on the hill-top fortress built in 1393 and commonly called the ‘Little Potala’, which involved a sensitive reconstruction of areas destroyed over time, particularly its superstructure and terracing. In 2009, the Fortress was transformed into a museum and is considered a ‘spiritual anchor’ for the Tibetan people.

The Program also covers projects such as the restoration and renovation of the modern architecture in the Bund Historic District of Shanghai, notably the China Merchants Steam Navigation Building and the design of the Public Service Centre. The revitalisation of vernacular architecture in Zhejiang Province such as Old Haimen Street in Taizhou and Lai's Settlement in Hangzhou are also featured.

Tongji University’s conservation program has been recognised by several awards in both China and overseas, including the Holcim Awards Gold Asia Pacific, the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards for Culture Heritage Conservation, and the National Outstanding Survey and Design Industry Awards.

Envisioning Historical Place is being held at the Tin Sheds Gallery in the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning at the University of Sydney. The exhibition will continue till 22 August 2014 (Tues-Fri 11am-5pm).