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Winter School: Ecological Regeneration and Building Crafts

posted Jan 19, 2010, 3:22 PM by Claus Zapffe   [ updated Dec 9, 2010, 10:18 AM ]
23 Febuary - 6 March 2010 

Location: Cluj & Bontida, Romania 
Organizing partners: Transylvania Trust, Planwerk and University of Cluj  
Funding framework: EDUAC 

The workshop has been covered in several newspaper articles:

In February and March 2010 ESUA held the Ecological Regeneration and Building Crafts Winter School in Cluj and Bontida, Romania, linking urban planning with restoration crafts.

The two week winter school focused on the riverfront of Cluj, making proposals for the development and regeneration of the public realm along the historic riverfront. 

The key challenge was to facilitate urban conservation / regeneration strategies that include ecological restoration. To this goal the integration of crafts skills into urban regeneration were seen as an important dimension. 

Practical challenges that were discussed during the winter school were technical issues of river and flood management, urban design and regeneration in a complex environment, as well as the challenge of achieving effective collaboration with engineers, technical experts, and government officials.

The textures of the plot sizes and historical settlement patterns were related to historic building crafts, including live demonstrations of restoration crafts at the Bontida Castle outside of Cluj. The students gained an understanding of urban design as an integreated discipline covering all aspects from town planning to architecture down to the practical skills of the building craftsmen. 

The urban design component of the winter school was provided by Planwerk, the most progressive and successful urban planning office in Romania. Planwerk has developed the concepts for and has implemented the urban regeneration of many of Romania’s most treasured historical town centres, such as Sibiu (European Cultural Capital of 2007) and of course Cluj. 

The Transylvania Trust provided the live crafts demonstrations at their castle in Bontida outside of Cluj, as well as numerous lectures on aspects such as conservation policies aqqnd the challenges encountered in historical building restoration. The Transylvania Trust is one of the most active and most highly recognized private NGO dealing with the preservation and restoration of historical buildings. Their restoration project of the castle of Bontida has attracted much international attention for the scope and quality of the work carried out. The Transylvania Trust also provided the technical facilities for the winter school.

The University of Cluj was an affiliated partner for the winter school, and provided 22 student participants for the courses.

The winter school was finalized with a public presentation of the student works and recommendations at the town hall of Cluj to politicians and decision-makers, followed by a public debate on the future of the riverfront of Cluj (see top picture). The event attracted local and national media attention, with articles in several Romanian newspapers (some of them are linked on the top of this report).