Sri Lanka’s Architectural Heritage within Modernisation attracts Diverse Experts

Item in DAILY FT, 18  March 2019, entitled “Bridging the gap between urban development and architectural heritage”

The Delegation of the European Union in collaboration with the Embassies of Netherlands, Germany, and Italy, as well as the British Council will host the 2019 edition of Living Heritage with a one-day conference on ‘Valuing Cultural Heritage: A Cross-Cultural Perspective’ on 25 March at the Jubilee Room, Galle Face Hotel from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Cities everywhere deal with the challenge of how to balance urban development against cultural heritage conservation. Urban settlements which are properly managed can contribute to both quality of life and conservation of architectural heritage, while maintaining social diversity and ensuring fair treatment of communities. Living Heritage is an important forum as it brings together speakers who offer a variety of perspectives on preserving and valuing cultural heritage.

Speakers from Europe and South Asia, including art historians, architects, and urbanists, will share their ideas on a range of key issues in a series of interactive discussions. A.G.K. Menon, Channa Daswatte, and Asoka de Zoysa will weigh in on the destruction versus restoration, abandon versus reuse debate in addressing the challenges of heritage preservation.

Jameel Mauroof, Ganga Rajinee Dissanayake, and Alicia Schrikker among others, will look at the conservation of religious sites, socio-political drivers of heritage conservation, the environmental challenges in conservation, the technical and bureaucratic constraints and solutions.

Speakers including Françoise Crémel and Giles Tillotson will discuss how to make the past a contemporary, living experience and who benefits from heritage conservation, as well as Ludovica Serafini, well-known for her sensitivity and capacity to combine the tradition of heritage homes with the use of innovation, technology, and contemporary design features.

Varuna de Silva, Iromi Perera and Stéphane Paumier will share their thoughts on development and urbanism in South Asia.

The final panel for the day titled ‘The Way Forward’ will explore preserving heritage for the future, including in times of conflict, from criminal acts, natural disasters, and advancing urbanisation with contributions from Laura Jones, Marie-Hélène Zerah and Anne Feenstra.

The keynote address will be delivered by David Robson who will address the legacy of one of Sri Lanka›s eminent architects Minnette de Silva.

The conference is open to the public and entrance is free. Guided site visits will take place on 24 March for participants on a first come first served basis. Participants can register for the conference and site visits by emailing For more information visit

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