A general survey of the site in 1995 revealed that Phra Racha Wang Derm was in a state of deterioration because of the ravages of time and lack of proper maintenance of the building, the Royal Thai Navy, under Admiral Prachet Siridej, then Commander-in-Chief, in collaboration with Dr. Khunying Nongnuj Siridej, President of the Navy Wives Association, initiated a restoration project for Phra Racha Wang Derm. They invited H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Siridhorn to preside as Chief Advisor, which Her Royal Highness graciously accepted. Experts in various fields both from the Royal Thai Navy and from external organizations were also invited to become project committee members. On 15 May 1995, Her Royal Highness presided over the opening ceremony and the propitiation rites for those who had once lived in Phra Racha Wang Derm.

Phases of Project

There were two phases in the project :

1. Fund Raising

Several fund-raising activities were organized to obtain funds for the restoration:
               1.1 An appeal for donations and a charity walk.
               1.2 A Gala Dinner with sound and light show titled "This Land has a History" over which occasion Her Majesty Queen Sirikit graciously presided.
               1.3 The minting of King Taksin the Great coins. (illustration 1)

2. Restoration

               2.1 The hiring of a consultant company to conduct research into the history and original design of the building, and to create a plan for its restoration.
               2.2 The requesting of permission from the Fine Arts Department to restore and renovate the historical site according to the Antiquities and National Museums Act.
               2.3 The hiring of companies registered with the Fine Arts Department as official restorers of ancient buildings, to restore the buildings.
               2.4 The actual restoration process (The various steps are described below).


Restoration Process


Restoration Process

There were two phases in the restoration process :

1. Phase 1 (Stabilization)

The buildings were repaired and physically restored to good condition. For example, damp-proofing, roof, and foundation repairing. Foundation repairs were carried out to stop subsidence.

2. Phase 2 (Rehabilitation)

The buildings were restored architecturally in accordance with original plans, but suitable for present day use. For example, interior decoration, painting, etc. In phase 2, there were many adjustments and redesigns, because the building had changed architecturally through the years.

The final design had to be based on the original style, but to be of use as a comtemporary buildings for presentations and present day usage, importantly, it was to harmonize with the setting and historical background. Therefore, the new design presented to the committee as a final plan included comparative studies with possible choices and terms of architectural perspective.

In both phases, extensive historical research was conducted from annals, memoirs, and old photographs. Conditions prior to commencement of restoration were surveyed with on-site measurements, foundation assessment, decorations, and use of color. Problems were pin-pointed through records, notes, photos, and in coordination with diggings and layering of the soil, gave a general overview of the problems . The information was used for decision--making in the final stage of design, approach and conclusion of the restoration. Within the ancient palace, the buildings and structures which were restored are as follows :

1. The Throne Hall
2. The King Pinklao's Residence
3. The Larger Chinese Style Residence
4. The Smaller Chinese Style Residence
5. King Taksin's Shrine
6. Whale Head Shrine
7. The Green House
8. Wichaiprasit Fort

The main restorations of each building comprised repair of the roofs, ceilings, walls, pillars, floors, stairs, doors and windows as well as the infrastructure of the building.

The Phra Racha Wang Derm Restoration Foundation
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