Above: Repurposed colonial building in Yangon

Some Asian cities have chosen to preserve the buildings erected during their colonial periods. These are viewed as remnants of a long-vanished era, aspects of history that can now be appreciated for their architectural quality or utility. Elsewhere there is little or no reverence for the past, and Victorian structures are routinely torn down to make way for undistinguished concrete towers. Yangon now has this choice to make. The city was planned by the British in 1852, and its colonial core is virtually as it was at independence in 1948, with an array of grand brick buildings, some relatively well-preserved, some in fairly advanced stages of decay.

Join Andrew Harper today to continue reading our exclusive content.