Restoration Camp “Restoration of buildings of cultural-historical importance”
Girocastra, Albania; 9-26 September 2008
ORGANISER: CHWB, Sweden
PARTICIPANTS: Representatives of: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina (Adi Ćorović, associate for monuments of the architectural heritage), Serbia, Macedonia, Kosovo, Bulgaria, Sweden and Norway
The basic activities carried out at the Restoration Camp, which was organized by the Swedish organization CHWB in Girocastra (Albania), were conducting of an analysis, making of a survey and providing of guidelines for the restoration project for the following three selected residential buildings located in the historical centre of Girocastra:
1. The house of the Shehu family
2. The house of the Babameto family (1)
3. The house of the Babameto family (2)
In addition, a group of participants was charged with conducting of an analysis of the wider urban area, the central part of the historical centre of the city.
Representatives of the Western Balkan countries and Scandinavia took part in analysing, measuring, surveying and drawing of the mentioned buildings, i.e. areas.
Practical activities on the ground were planned during the stay, as well as theoretical activities, including lectures by Professor Emin Rizo about the cultural heritage of Girocastra and the typology of traditional residential buildings in Albania. Andreas Heymowsky and Dick Sandberg gave a lecture on measurement and survey methods, Andreas Heymowsky gave a lecture on the methods, theory and practice of restoration in Sweden, and Amra Hadzimuhamedovic gave a lecture on post-war reconstruction in the Western Balkans.
The Camp participants had modern measurement and survey technical devices at their disposal; however, no computers were available, so that final drawings and accompanying documents were mainly produced by hand. In addition, meetings and interviews with past owners of the buildings, their users and neighbours were planned. Scarce documentation collected in archives or museums was also made available.
On the basis of the practical and theoretical information, analysis and survey of previously selected historical buildings in Girocastra were organised, whose historical centre, built during the Ottoman era, has been placed under UNESCO protection.
The end result of these activities is a detailed analysis and survey of the buildings, i.e. areas, designer guidelines included. These materials will serve the Scandinavian students of a post-graduate course, organised at the „Royal University College of Fine Art, Dep. of Architectural Conservation“ in Stockholm, as a basis for the development of the final restoration project.
The activities of all groups were presented during the final presentation held in Girocastra. Prior to that an inter-presentation was given, in which working materials were presented and additional instructions for the completion of activities provided.
The professors from Sweden expressed great interest in the activities and analysis concerning the house of the Shehu family (I personally took part in this project and gave a certain professional contribution). This, nowadays, dilapidated house was built in late 18th century. Later, however, it underwent a number of complicated transformations, which have been illuminated, documented and described by the activities undertaken by the group. It is possible, based on these materials, to understand the genesis of the building’s development and metamorphosis and to develop a quality restoration project.
The Swedish organisers gave credit to the participants from the Western Balkan countries for their contribution to the successful operation of the Camp. They will be awarded certificates of participation in this practical part of the Swedish post-graduate course.
The Camp activities were covered by the local TV outlet. The Mayor of Girocastra gave a reception for all Camp participants and thanked them for their help in the reconstruction of the city that has lately shown negative development tendency and in which insufficient attention has been paid to the protection of its historical centre.
Among other activities, visits were planned to the Butrint archaeological site, the Ionian Sea, southern Albania, and to the historical town of Berat, central Albania.
A number of accompanying lectures, close to the topic and goals of the Camp, were held, and professional, as well as other kinds of experiences were exchanged between representatives of the Western Balkan countries and Scandinavia. Workplace atmosphere prevailed during the Camp activities, and especially cordial and friendly relations were created between the participants, which was additional quality of this Camp.