ARCHITECTURAL EVALUATION THROUGH STAKEHOLDERS’ PARTICIPATION ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF CONSERVATION CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK FOR PHRA THAT THA UTHEN TEMPLE SITE IN THE NORTHEAST OF THAILAND
Phra That Tha Uthen stupa is one of the most sacred religious monuments in both Thailand and Lao.PDR. In 1994, the site was registered as National Monument by the Fine Arts Department, Ministry of Culture. Since its location is in the upper north-eastern region of Thailand, it has been worshipped by both Thais and Laotians. In 2002, the Tourism Authority of Thailand promoted cultural tourism along with the provincial policy for supporting tourism along the Mekong River in 2008, the site has provoked interests among visitors as well as national and local participants towards the site. Currently, the site and its architecture encounter problems from the differences in understanding of architecture and value perceived by conservationists and stakeholders. Several sectors including the Fine Arts Department, local government agencies and related private organizations have increasingly intense difficulties managing the site because of the variety of interests and understanding of conservation concepts. Conflicts in conservation and organizing development plan for the site have been experienced. This paper thus aims to explore different viewpoints in the understanding and evaluation of architectural value of Phra That Tha Uthen Temple for the different stakeholders through a participatory process. Findings from the research can initiate possible solutions for creating the ground in terms of knowledge of architectural value from stakeholders’s participation. It is expected that this study is another way to create a process to stimulate and suggest an appropriate framework for architectural conservation.