The preservation of Rangoon’s iconic Shwedagon Pagoda will be the subject of a 17 May forum organised by the Association of Myanmar Architects (AMA).
Maw Linn, deputy-chairperson of the AMA, said experts from various fields will assemble at the conference to discuss long-term planning to reduce the risks posed by development projects in the pagoda’s vicinity.
“We would like to promote an idea to adopt systematic plans for development projects around the pagoda,” he said. “The forum will be attended by architects, engineers and seismologists to provide insight from their relevant fields, such as potential threats to the pagoda from the excessive pumping of groundwater in the area, and so on.”
The group are organising the forum amid widespread criticism from the public concerning a proposed construction project adjacent to the pagoda.
Dagon City 1 is slated to include branded retail zones, international standard offices, a five-star hotel and luxury apartments. The US$300-million mega-project is being financed by Marga Landmark, a joint-venture of companies from Hong Kong, South Korea and the UK, and is situated on 22 acres of prime real estate – nestled between Shwedagon and Kandawgyi Lake.
The AMA organised the Save Yangon Forum in December, addressing an open letter to President Thein Sein with ideas for sustainable urban development plans. The group said they intend to do the same at the end of the Save Shwedagon Forum.
Shwedagon Pagoda is also known as the ‘Golden Pagoda’ and is far and away the most striking landmark on Rangoon’s skyline. Historians and archaeologists say the structure was built some time between the sixth and tenth centuries before falling into disrepair until the 14th century when it was rebuilt to a height of 59 feet.
The Shwedagon Pagoda Festival, which is the largest celebration of its kind in the country, begins during the new moon of the month of Tabaung [mostly in March] in the traditional Burmese calendar and continues until the full moon.