Bhutan is known for its unique cultural landscape, bearing witness to a distinctive history, culture, wisdom and custom of the people. To understand and respect such existing landscape, for the first time in the country, an International Competition on Cultural Landscape in Bhutan in 2014, was conducted.
Four teams from around the world took part in the competition. Even though there was not a single contestant from Bhutan, four teams from different countries like Thailand, Japan and as far as England took part in the competition.
Each teams comprised three students and a professor from reputed universities of architecture and town planning.
The teams carried out surveys at a selected settlement under Dopshari Gewog in Paro, and submitted the proposals to promote a sustainable living environment and to enhance its cultural and social values.
The teams with outstanding proposals were awarded trophies and certificates.
Professor Sarayut Supsook, from Chulalongkorn University, who is from one of the winning teams said, there is a need to do something to preserve the cultural landscape of not only Bhutan but everywhere in the world.
One of the participants, Dr. Tomoko Mori from the University of Tokyo says, “I believe Bhutan cultural landscape should be this way. Not from top down but from bottom up. That means the resident’s participation should be the priority.”
Meanwhile, for the other contestants, more than winning, it was a reminiscent experience of being in the country.
The proposals of the winning teams will be used as future reference to sustain cultural landscape and to create awareness among the people.
The competition is expected to be an annual event. It was organised by the Department of Culture under the Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs.
The department hopes to see Bhutanese participation in the next competition..