via Khaosod English, 23 June 2020 (with more stories below): A late-Ayutthaya temple was renovated by its abbot with modern materials, rendering it very different from its original form. The news is presented as a ‘botched’ renovation, but there is more nuance to this story: the tension between ‘static’ conservation and ‘living’ heritage, and if nobody can pay for a ‘proper’ restoration, should a temple be left to rot?
Netizens were left aghast at a “renovation” project that saw a 300-year old Buddhist temple in Samut Prakan refitted with an aluminium roof and floor tiles.
The demolition was so damaging that it stripped Wat Bang Duang Nok of its architectural and historical significance, academic Wara Chanmanee said by phone Tuesday. He said he would file a complaint to the Fine Arts Department about the latest destruction of historic buildings in Thailand.
“It’s such a huge loss. At the very least this temple dated from the late Ayutthaya era. How can you destroy a historical site? It was so beautiful,” Wara said by phone Tuesday. “We all pretend to love historical sites, but when problems happen, everyone says they aren’t responsible.”