Name: Tai Lok Yan, Carina
The University of Hong Kong
Position: Intern, UNESCO Bangkok
Duration: February 2019 – July 2019 (6 months)
Sponsorship: United Nations Peace Development Foundation
Supervisor: Lavina Ahuja
My last semester in the University was surprisingly to be a flourishing and fascinating journey for me to reflect upon why conservation needs our efforts, engagement and commitment. While UNESCO is an internationally well-heard organization engaging in conservation, its tremendous efforts in promoting conservation are inspiring.
Lavina Ahuja, the contributing editor of the UNESCO Bangkok team, worked closely with me within 6 months. the assigned task for me was to draft and submit all the architectural drawings by utilizing my technical skills for UNESCO Bangkok. I was informed that my drawings submissions for each site would contribute to the publication - Asia Conserved for UNESCO. The publication mainly concludes descriptions and drawings for all Asia-Pacific conserved site with awards and honours. The key deliberative of my assigned task was to draw and present the location plan, site plan, ground floor plan, elevation and section for each site in a professional architectural manner. As to ensure I understand what the publication is about, I was given some relevant documents to first review and know more about each site before moving on to start the draft and later for the publication.
Background information for every site were first provided to me by UNESCO, Bangkok. The information includes the Entry Form of UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation, Project Description, images of the existing building(s), and some relevant drafts for the drawing submissions. By relying purely on this information, I have to finish my task before the deadline. Therefore, I have to make sure documents were well-supplemented to support my work even without any site visits.
Most of the sites are not based in Hong Kong, therefore in truth, it was hard for me to get a sense of the site through visits and observation. Solely relying on the basic information and materials provided by UNESCO, is the first attempt for me to learn and get a visual picture of the site. Something out of my expectation was that the given information and materials were rich in content that enabled me to have a grasp not just knowing the site, but also understanding it in the perspective of conservation.
After reviewing the relevant documents, the next step was to start drawing. For the technical nature of the task, it is not hard to apply the technical hard skills and finish the work. Master the computer applications can surely speed up the drawing process. Yet, the biggest challenge of the task was to decide what I should highlight in all drawings. Given that I can thoroughly understand the significance of the site, how its relevant elements could be presented in the architectural drawings was a question.
While receiving comments from supervisor, I gradually learned to use lines and colours to deliver the significance of different components on the site and buildings. I was also able to select what to be and not to be drawn in the drawings that help to highlight the character-defining elements of the site and buildings. I did expect to apply my hard skills in computer drawings before accepting the internship offer, nevertheless, playing around with the practical drawing techniques in architecture was very much, a surprise and unexpected.
From the very beginning, the first meeting between me and the supervisor was held to have a brief about the task-to-do, expectations and standard of works. And to ensure the working process was smooth, regular reports to supervisor were required. Before the monthly meetings with supervisor, I was expected to submit some portion of the drawing drafts for critics. And was also expected to correct and submit all works when approaching to the end of the internship. With all these meetings, I was able to learn not only from the mistakes that I had made, but also other tips and supports that my supervisor has given to me.
With all these regular meetings, I could get a better picture of what UNESCO was expecting from the drawings, and whether my drawings could reach the standard. And based on my working process, deadlines were fixed during meetings to ensure all drawings can be submitted on time. More than that, I was also encouraged to ask questions during meetings if there is any problem with the working standards, documents received, deadlines, or simply struggles at work. On top of all the knowledge acquired, my supervisor was able to help me not just technically, but her words of encouragement have always helped me throughout the internship period. Hereby, I would like to give a sincere gratitude to my supervisor for her continuous supports.
While my semester ended, I have submitted all my works before deadlines, and my internship for UNESCO Bangkok has therefore comes to an end. It is my pleasure to be in part of the team, and most importantly, able to contribute in promoting conservation in such a recognized platform. I look forward to see the publication Asia Conserved for UNESCO, and to see the team and my supervisor again soon.
(Photo: UNESCO Bangkok)