Networking Core Centers Project for the Conservation of Traditional Buildings in the Kingdom of Bhutan

A group interview of craftsmen at the rammed earth construction site
Testing at Paga Lhakhang

 Seven experts were dispatched from Japan to the Kingdom of Bhutan from May 28 to June 8, 2012 as a part of the Networking Core Centers Project commissioned by the Japanese Agency of Cultural Affairs. This Project started this fiscal year to teach and train personnel in conservation and restoration techniques, including structural assessments and aseismatic measures, for traditional buildings in the Kingdom of Bhutan.
 For the project to be implemented, a Memorandum of Understanding was first concluded between the Department of Culture, Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs of the Kingdom of Bhutan and the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo. Terms of Reference were also agreed upon.
 In cooperation with Bhutanese personnel, field surveys were conducted to elucidate traditional construction techniques used in temples, houses, and ruins with rammed earth and wood in order to identify the value to be conserved. In addition, questionnaires were drafted to facilitate future architectural surveys. Moreover, structural surveys were conducted in order to quantitatively ascertain the structural performance of traditional buildings. These surveys included a destructive load test on the rammed earth walls of Paga Lhakhang, a temple that was devastated by a fire and scheduled to be dismantled, and a materials test on the rammed earth blocks of that temple. Micro-tremors were also measured at Pangrizampa Lhakhang.
 Plans are to continue exploring the potential for aseismatic measures as an extension of traditional techniques through both architectural surveys and structural surveys.

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