ANNUAL REPORTS

Annual Report

2017

 

Transylvania Trust is a registered charity founded in 1996 by conservation professionals and volunteers. The foundation’s principal aim is to promote the protection and conservation of Transylvanian built heritage. In order to achieve its principal aim, the foundation engages in activities that stimulate the protection of built heritage in general and of the values related to heritage in particular, being active in the fields of data recording, inventory, survey, building restoration, maintenance, training, and also scientific research, encouraging at the same time society to be more receptive towards the built environment.

Ever since its inception, the Transylvania Trust has been concerned with the fate of Bánffy Castle, Bonþida, a grade A listed historic building, and has been present in the village’s life for more than 15 years. Since 2001, when it started to organise and develop several cultural and educational programmes and events, many of which are now organised annually, the Trust has collaborated with the local authorities and institutions, as well as with the locals, who constitute the primary target group of most of its programmes. Below you may find out more about the nature of these programmes and events.

The Foundation has had the pleasure to collaborate with the Bonþida Local Council in several projects, with the common goal of creating a healthy community, of contributing to the village’s economic growth and cultural life, as well as of preserving local traditions through social, intercultural, and interethnic cohesion in the region.

Through its presence, the Foundation intends to use the built heritage entrusted to it as a catalyst for community life in the area, developing interethnic, intercultural, and intergenerational dialogue, as well as increasing the number of people specialised in traditional crafts, which means better chances of employment for disadvantaged groups.

 

1. The revitalisation of Bánffy Castle, Bonþida

Bánffy Castle, Bonþida, is one of the most significant castle ensembles in Transylvania. Formerly known as the Versailles of Transylvania, the ensemble reached an extremely precarious condition by the end of the nineties. In 2003 Transylvania Trust signed a concession agreement for 49 years, therefore the castle’s restoration and maintenance is the responsibility of the foundation, which, by organising and overseeing the activities of the Built Heritage Conservation Training Centre hosted in the castle, is able to ensure the high-quality rehabilitation and long-term protection of the ensemble. At the same time, through various cultural and educational programmes and events, the Trust aims to bring back the castle back to life by inviting the local, regional, as well as international community to discover the heritage site and its values.

1.1. International Built Heritage Conservation Training Centre (BHCT)

The purpose of the Centre is to promote excellence in the conservation of the historic environment and specifically to teach traditional building craft skills, which can be used in the repair and maintenance of historic buildings. It promotes a policy of minimal intervention, compatibility of techniques and materials, and the use of local resources in historic building repair.

The first training course was organised in 1999, and the Built Heritage Conservation Training Centre has been based at Bánffy Castle, Bonțida since 2001. The programme provides teaching modules, each of two weeks duration, which offer a theoretical and practical understanding of the care of the historic environment, through presentations delivered by lecturers from British and Romanian universities and other specialists, provided through simultaneous translation in Romanian, English, and Hungarian, and through practical workshops in rendering, masonry consolidation, joinery, and stonemasonry led by Romanian craftsmen, where students learn through practical restoration projects directly on the castle buildings.

The two-week training was held between 30 July and 13 August 2017, with a workshop for structural interventions (complemented by mural decoration techniques) and one for traditional joinery and furniture restoration.

The programme’s first day was dedicated to theoretical training in the form of a series of lectures and presentations held by representatives of universities from the country and from Great Britain, as well as by other renowned specialists in the field of architecture, art history, and cultural management. The lectures were translated into Romanian, Hungarian and English. Following the theoretical training, the participants had a specialised training on the norms and legislation in force related to work safety and protection on the site, respectively on fire prevention and extinguishing.

The practical specialisation took place in the workshops for the use of lime, masonry and rendering (masonry consolidation and building of a vault, finishing works), paintings and decorative mural techniques (fresco, secco, marble, stucco), and traditional joinery led by Romanian craftsmen, members of the Centre, having extensive experience in the field. Throughout the specialisation, the students participated directly in the research and rehabilitation works of the castle.

At the end of the practical training, the participants held an exam consisting of both a written and a practical test. Those who passed the exam successfully received a diploma.

At the end of the first week, a study field trip was scheduled to present certain important architectural monuments and rehabilitation works in Transylvania. When presenting the history and architectural style of the building, the students were accompanied by a guide.

The workshop was attended by 30 students arriving from Romania, Hungary, and Grece, but also from the United States of America. Until today over 2500 participants from 27 countries have attended the course.

The results of the two events were: structural interventions: masonry consolidation and repair in the oldest part of the main, residential building – the cellar, in which archaeological research was conducted in 2016 and rebuilding a vault in the same building, between the cellar and the ground floor, in order to ensure the safety in this area; the restoration of old furniture pieces.

 

1.2. Bánffy worshop

The Bánffy workshop addressed mainly university students and young professionals in three fields: art history, archaeology, and literary translation, in order to help them acquire practical knowledge and experience in building archaeology and archaeology research, as well as in translating literary works. Accordingly, several workshops were organised in August and September:

  • two research workshops between 14 and 20 August, respectively between 25 September and 1 October, for students learning history, art history, and archaeology (from Romania and abroad), under the supervision of specialists in the mentioned fields. The workshop consisted of a day of presentations held by specialists and researchers in the field of art history and archaeology, and on-site practical sessions, i.e. the building archaeology and archaeology research of the castle buildings, complemented by demonstrations of specialised technologies used in these fields. The workshop was ended by a study field trip presenting several important historic monuments of the region.

a translation workshop between 11 and 16 September for students learning literature, but also professional translators (a thorough knowledge of the Hungarian and Romanian languages was a mandatory requirement, due to the works selected), under the supervision of acknowledged literary translators. The aim of the workshop was to acquire practical knowledge and experience in translating literary works, as well as to popularise the literary works of Count Miklós Bánffy in Romanian, as it is barely known among the Romanian population due to the language barrier. Thus, the participants selected short stories written (in Hungarian) by the Count, and translated them into Romanian, under the supervision of more experienced and acknowledges translators. Parts of the translations were read during the events organised on 24 September, the European Heritage Days (see 1.3.b).

 

1.3. Cultural and educational events

1.3.a. Open Days

Proposed by ICOMOS and adopted by the UNESCO General Conference in 1983, the International Day of Monuments and Sites is celebrated annually on 18 April.

On this occasion the Transylvania Trust, considering it important to attract the public interest towards both the protection of built heritage as well as the cultural values of monuments, has organised an Open Day at Bánffy Castle, Bonþida on 30 April. This event offered the possibility to have a press conference and to present to the public the events hosted in 2017 by the Arts and Crafts Centre (created in 2016). The programme of the day included an exhibition entitled 21 and free guided tours of the Castle in Romanian and Hungarian languages. The exhibition focused on the history of art and creation. It was composed from a series of 21 works exhibited in the stone frames of the 21 windows of the Castle’s Main Building, either answering directly or dialoguing in a metaphorical manner with the 21 centuries of human history. It was an out-of the art-museum, a museum turned upside down. Inside becomes outside and the past becomes, through reinterpretation, present – a perfect metaphor of the Arts and Crafts Centre. The works were created by the students of the Photograph and Video Processing Department of the University of Art and Design from Cluj-Napoca, one of the associated partners of the project. The students were coordinated by their professor, Angéla Kalló, PhD.

In addition to the Open Day celebrated on the occasion of the International Day of Monuments and Sites, the Trust joined the European Days of Arts and Crafts / Journées Européennes des Métiers d’Art organised by Institut National des Métiers d’Art, Paris, France, with an open workshop at Bánffy Castle, Bonțida, organised between 31 March and 2 April, with crafts skills demonstrations and presentations related to used materials, made by professionals.

 

1.3.b. European Heritage Day – Bánffy Day

To celebrate European Heritage Day, Transylvania Trust organised, on 24 September 2017, at Bánffy Castle, Bonțida, a cultural event focusing on the legacy of Count Miklós Bánffy. The one-day large-scale event was dedicated to the literary oeuvre of the Count, the last owner of the Castle, including guided tours, presentations related to the short stories of the writer, and a round table discussion on the Romanian translation of the short stories, with the participation of literary historians and translators, respectively three exhibition openings, completed by a theatre performance (for more information see the section about the international cooperation, Castellarte).

 

1.3.c. Heritage Days for Schoolchildren

In 2017, the extra-curricular activities involving schools from the region were organised five times:

  • 13 May, involving 22 children and 7 teachers from a vocational school in Cluj-Napoca, Cluj County;
  • 28 September, involving 24 children and 2 teachers from the School of Montessori in Cluj-Napoca, Cluj County;
  • 5 October, involving 32 children and 2 teachers from the Montessori School in Cluj-Napoca, Cluj County;
  • 24 October, involving 28 children and 3 teachers from the Technical School “Vladeasa” in Huedin, Cluj County;
  • 26 October, involving 23 children and 2 teachers from the School of Rãscruci, Cluj County.

The aim of the programme was to help the children understand the cultural importance of the historic environment through interactive role-play that highlighted daily life in the running of the Castle during the 19th century, the importance of the Castle and of the family in the social development of Bonțida Village, and a tour of the site, explaining its history. The children also engaged in historical dancing, preparing and presenting creative drawings, and writing about the experience of their day, developing, at the same time, the cooperative sense and creativity of the participants.

 

2. Rimetea Heritage Conservation Programme

Over the last thirteen years, the Rimetea Heritage Conservation Project has encouraged the pro-active conservation of the area’s architectural heritage. This project was initiated by heritage professionals to stop the unsympathetic adaptation of Rimetea’s most valuable but greatly threatened historic buildings. Following a recommendation by Dr. András Román (former ICOMOS vice president) in 1996, the City Council of Budapest’s 5th District decided to financially support the architectural heritage of two Transylvanian villages. These villages were Rimetea and Inlaceni. The principal tool of this conservation programme is the grant system co-ordinated by Transylvania Trust.

Since 1996 a conservation grant (Grant A) has been offered annually to 120-140 of Rimetea’s historic building owners. All the parties involved in the conservation agreement sign the three conditions attached to the grant: the historic building owners assure that good conservation practice will be carried out on the property. The owners also agree not to change any of the valuable architectural features on the plot. Finally, in cases where changes and/or new developments are proposed, the owner will take the professional advice of the Transylvania Trust. A restoration grant (Grant B) for larger works can also be obtained through an application.

The Rimetea Heritage Conservation Programme is based upon a successful partnership between the local authorities and historic buildings’ owners. The programme’s strategy was established to protect the settlement’s features. There is no strong desire to restore the buildings to former periods or to rigidly preserve them. The programme’s principal objective is to promote sustainable heritage conservation and demonstrate how this has an important role in the community’s socio-economic development. This approach means that solutions differ from case to case, normally based on compromise.

At the beginning, the programme’s main objective was to stop unsympathetic changes (alterations to different parts of the settlement suggested a negative trend that could have severely harmed the architectural heritage’s integrity, likewise to the neighbouring Colțești). In many cases the conservation grant helped avoid this threat. Furthermore, proposed conservation and maintenance works helped secure buildings. More importantly, the attitude of the building owners changed. Today, Rimetea’s inhabitants are no longer ashamed to live in historic buildings but actively work towards their preservation.

The first ten years of this grant scheme have produced promising results. The conditions of the conservation agreements were met in the case of 96% of the grant aided properties, i.e. the appropriate maintenance works were carried out and the valuable architectural and street features were conserved. Generally, sums 100-150% greater than the grant were spent on maintenance and repairs. More than 70 buildings obtained restoration grants following a successful application process. The scientific foundation of the programme is a database containing architectural and structural information on 160 buildings. This information is continually being updated with new research and survey work. An architectural survey of Rimetea’s buildings was carried out between 1996 and 1998. This survey work served as an important educational tool by familiarising 41 students who participated in the surveys not only with surveying techniques but also with the general principles on vernacular architecture and historic building conservation.

 

The conservation work provided employment for local craftsmen and the possibility to learn traditional skills necessary for historic building conservation.

Since the beginning of the conservation programme, the Trust has used the long-term goal of the development of rural tourism, which uses historic buildings as its infrastructure, along with the short-term financial benefits of the grant scheme. Visitor numbers in Rimetea have increased as a result of the conservation programme. In addition, more than 40 owners aided by the programme and with professional help and support from the Trust obtained licenses required for rural tourism. Tourism is now the market leading activity in Rimetea.

The increase of rural tourism generates an increasing demand for development, consisting of modifications to the existing buildings and the construction of new houses. The Trust answered this challenge by partially grant-aiding new design and establishing a legal framework for protecting the area.

The Rimetea Heritage Conservation Programme was awarded with the Europa Nostra Medal in 1999, the highest European award at that time. This accolade acknowledges that the Rimetea programme offers an example of viable conservation change based on partnership between local communities and NGOs. This occurred in a region where heritage is threatened by rapid socio-economic development.

Presentation materials regarding the Rimetea Heritage Protection Project have been exposed by project director Furu Árpád on many events, of which we only name the most important ones: the visit of László Sólyom in Rimetea, the ACCR conference, and the course of conferences organised in Turda by the City Council.

 

3. Postgraduate Studies in Historic Building Conservation

Initiated and co-organised by the Transylvania Trust, the Postgraduate Course in Historic Building Conservation was launched in October 1998, within the Faculty of History and Philosophy of the Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj, on the basis of the Decree no. 4223/1998 of the Ministry for Education. The curriculum approved by the Ministry for Education has been developed by staff members of the Trust, taking into consideration recommendations of specialists from the country and from abroad, as well as those of the ICOMOS International Training Committee (Guidelines on Education and Training in the Conservation of Monuments, Ensembles and Sites – Fifth Revised Draft, May 11, 1992.)

The main objective of the course is the training of specialists with university degrees in historic building conservation, considering the richness and present state of the Transylvanian built heritage. The training is located in the Built Heritage Research and Training Centre in the Breaza Street, Cluj-Napoca, established with the support of the Apáczai Foundation. The building offers classrooms, catering facilities, and accommodation.

The course’s duration is two years, meaning four semesters. The training consists of 600 classes (480 theoretical and 120 practical lessons). It is organised in Romanian and Hungarian for architects, structural engineers, art historians, archaeologists, and other experts with a university degree (Catholic and Calvinist priests, as well as geologists have also participated in the course). The curriculum of the course contains joint subjects on general issues and particular courses corresponding to the professional training background of the students.

In order to assimilate speciality terms in Romanian and English, 5% of the courses for the Romanian and Hungarian group are held in English, while 15% of the Hungarian group’s courses are lectured in Romanian.

The practical classes consist of visiting local restoration sites and participating in field-trips to Romania and abroad.

Graduating students are awarded with a certificate on historic building conservation, after sustaining their thesis. This certificate is acknowledged by the Ministry of Culture under Law no. 422/2001. Since the project’s launch, a total of 460  students have attended the course and a total of 242 students have obtained their degree in this field.

 

3.1. Open Courses – four events

In autumn, Transylvania Trust launched a new educational programme with the name of Open Courses that is complementary to the postgraduate programme for Continuing Professional Training and Development in the Field of Historic Building Conservation that operates within the Babeº-Bolyai University’s Faculty of History and Philosophy. The Open Courses address both postgraduate students and the general public, but also owners of historic buildings, specialists, students from other faculties interested in the rehabilitation, functional (re)conversion, and enhancement of historic buildings. The programme contained four events, each with a different topic and with different lecturers. The presentations and discussions were recorded and are available online at: http://www.transylvaniatrust.ro/index.php/en/multimedia/videogallery/.

The four events were held at Impact Hub in Liberty Tehnology Park Cluj, a reconverted industrial site:

  • 26 October 2017; topic: Metropolitan Area – Reinventing Villages, Vernacular Heritage; guests: Árpád Furu, engineer, and Mónika Péter, deputy mayor of Sâncraiu;
  • 27 October 2017; topic: Industrial Heritage; guest: Irina Iamandescu, architect, „Ion Mincu” University of Architecture and Urban Planning, Bucharest;
  • 2 November 2017; topic: The Revitalisation and Functional Reconversion of Historic Buildings; guests: architects Silviu Aldea and Vlad Sebastian Rusu; moderator: architect Dan Clinci
  • 24 November 2017; topic: The Energy Efficiency of Buildings in Romania; guests: Andrei Ceclan, engineer, Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, Electrotechnical Department; Dorin Beu, PhD, engineer, president of the Romanian Green Building Council; and Eugen Pãnescu, architect, Planwerk and the Architects’ Council of Europe.

4. Vernacular architecture Research and Protection

Vernacular buildings represent a characteristic and valuable segment of the Transylvanian built heritage. They are witness to days of old, which can be found rarely in developed countries, since the lifestyle that created and maintained them has disappeared due to economic development and modern construction practices.

The same is likely to happen with the remaining Transylvanian vernacular architecture, as most owners, influenced by the changed lifestyle and the heightened comfort requirements, reject traditional materials and forms, which leads to the destruction of a much larger number of buildings than the technical decay of materials and structures would imply.

The primary aim of the project is the inventory and research of the vernacular built heritage and the on site preservation of the 100-150 most important vernacular buildings.

The first stage of the project consists of an inventory of the vernacular built heritage, the compilation of a database covering about 1000 settlements, and the creation of a register of Transylvanian vernacular built heritage. This database creates the grounds for the subsequent preservation activities.

Between 1999 and 2002, in 65 villages of the Cãlata, Câmpia Transilvaniei, and Odorheiu Secuiesc regions, datasheets were filled out for 1750 vernacular buildings. The collected data is the basis of a computerised database. The database is available for researchers in the archives of Transylvania Trust.

The co-organiser of the survey of Transylvanian vernacular built heritage is the Open-Air Ethnographic Museum at Szentendre, Hungary. The project is supported by the Hungarian Ministry for National Cultural Heritage, in the framework of the Romanian-Hungarian Cultural Co-operation Agreement.

 

5. International Cooperation

ARTEC – Arts, Rediscovery, Traditions, Eclectic, Contemporary (2015-2017)

Blogs related to the project:

https://projectartec.wordpress.com/

https://transylvaniatrust.wixsite.com/artec

At the end of 2017, the ARTEC project started in November 2015 and co-funded by the European Union through the Creative Europe Programme, Culture Sub-programme was successfully finished. The international project’s coordinator was Transylvania Trust, its partners being Association des Centres Culturels de Rencontre – ACCR, Paris, France; Câmpulung Municipal Museum, Câmpulung Muscel, Romania; Art Union of Hungarian Engravers and Lithographers – AUHEL, Budapest, Hungary; and Diputación Provincial de Teruel, Teruel, Spain. The project was organised in order to promote built heritage as part of the identity of a diverse Europe through creative methods of interpretation and valorisation, to rediscover traditional themes and ways of artistic expression as an inspirational drive for young artists and creators in a multicultural context, and to employ new technologies in the design of heritage areas, with an emphasis towards placing the traditions in a modern cultural European-relevant context (especially through the establishment and running of the Art and Crafts Centre – ACC in an important heritage building, Bánffy Castle, Bonțida).

Many of the events organised at the castle (such as the Open Days, Heritage Days for Schoolchildren, etc.) took place as part of the ARTEC project, respectively parallel events have taken place in the partner countries. The following paragraphs detail some of the events organised by the Trust during the programme, as well as its results.

Artists and Craftsmen in Residence, international artistic residencies

Following the setup and opening of the Arts and Crafts Centre in 2016, during the summer of 2017 the Centre started its activity by launching a new programme, housing two artistic residencies with the purpose of ensuring the temporal and spatial conditions for learning and creation in an exceptional historical setting for artists, craftsmen, artisans, and creators preoccupied by the reinterpretation of historical values through contemporary methods. The activities were organised in collaboration with Angéla Kalló, lecturer at the University of Art and Design Cluj-Napoca, who was also the mentor of the residencies.

The topic of the first residency was OR – Organic Reality (21 August – 3 September 2017) with 28 participants, the materials proposed for use were wood, stone, and water, while the second residency’s topic was IF – Industrial Fantasy (11-24 September 2017) with 25 participants, and the materials proposed for use were metal, glass, and wood. The two workshops we structured similarly: their programme included one day of presentations (of the ARTEC project, of the historical site, of workshops, and best practices), three days of brainstorming, developing project ideas and procuring materials, respectively eight days of work and cooperation between artists, designers, and craftsmen for carrying out the project ideas. The programme included a field study trip to the Salt Mine of Turda (a manufacture of salt exploitation) and Rimetea (vernacular architecture, handmade wrought iron). The last day of the camp included the exhibition of the works and presentation of the realised concepts and projects, reflecting also to the process of creation. The artworks created during the first residency are as follows: Skeleton of the griffin, Sun swings, Latent pORtrait, Over there, The man of light, Steps, Garments, Cloud VapOR, The music tree, and GRRRINDA, while the ones during the second residency are: Sequential time, What if, Effect, Noble eyes, 1.9.4.4.

The last day of the second residency was completed with an Arts Fair, and possibility for networking (see the next activity, Castellarte). The participants of the creative camp led by the artistic director exhibited their artworks and presented them to the large public together with concepts and project ideas, reflecting also on the process of creation. As these works were conceived of and created specifically for and inspired by the history of the castle, they became part of the Centre’s permanent exhibition. They were included in a catalogue produced specifically for the residency programme and are featured on a mobile application that presents the castle’s history and some of its current projects (the app can be found at: https://banffycastleapp.goodbarber.com).

Castellarte. Closing event, workshop, and final conference

Starting from 2017, Transylvania Trust intends to add a permanent activity for the Arts and Crafts Centre at Bánffy Castle, Bonțida, the first event taking place on 23-24 September 2017. The Arts Fair will be organised on a yearly basis for young artists at the beginning of their careers, to provide them the opportunity to meet other artists, identify supporters, and sell their works. The Centre hosted in September 2017 various types of artists and craftsmen, involving: arts installations, travelling exhibitions, film presentations, and a theatre performance. Different cultural centres from Europe were invited, ensuring the opportunity for young artists to participate in a workshop to enhance their management skills in the framework of a final conference: Crafts in the World of Arts. The Conference was presented through simultaneous translation in five languages (English, French, Spanish, Romanian, and Hungarian). It incorporated an overview of the objects, terms, and achievements of the ARTEC project, plus individual presentations from each of the project partners regarding their role in its implementation. The conference programme also included case study presentations, as follows: Making of the Arts and Crafts Centre, Preview of the Artists and Craftsmen in Residence programme, Craftsmanship in La Bastide Clairence, and Contemporaneous interventions and the built heritage, Slow design: Kraftmade, held by professionals. In order to ensure a theoretical frame to the main subject of the ARTEC project, the reconnection of arts and crafts through the reinterpretation of cultural heritage, the programme referred also to the Know-how and artistic creation in the past and nowadays at a round-table with the participation of delegates from important institutions from this field of interest. The Conference was attended by a wide international audience which included representatives from each Partner within the project, the Order of Architects in Romania, International Heritage Centres and Organisations, Romanian Universities, Consulates, Romanian Museums, Design Companies, Art galleries, participants from the Artists and Craftsmen in Residence programmes, professionals from within the art and design industry, and members of the public. During the second day of the conference guided tours, a round-table discussion, and lectures related to Count Miklós Bánffy’s short stories, respectively 3 exhibition openings were held, completed by a theatre performance (this part of the event was open to the general public as well, for celebrating European Heritage Day).

The exhibitions presented the results of the OR / IF. Artists and Craftsmen in Residence – Bánffy Castle, Bonțida, Romania; the works resulted from Artists and Craftsmen in Residence – Musem of Câmpulung, Romania; and Graphic works on the cover pages of Tribuna – Cluj, Romania.

The purpose of the theatre performance was to create an event between a classical play and a performance about the complex personality of Count Miklós Bánffy, with live music and a special light installation. The performance involved the audience as well, the show walking through history and a tragic life, a show about politics, love, and opera music, about burning books, communists, and Nazis, about principles that saved a city but ruined a castle, and a destiny. Entitled HIS(S)TORY. His story is history! was a concept designed by the young director Sarvadi Paul, implemented with the involvement of the students form the Faculty of Theatre and Television, Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca.

Travelling exhibition

The travelling exhibition, created in 2016, was part of the dissemination strategy of the ARTEC project, with the intent of exhibiting it at Bánffy Castle as the permanent exhibition of the Arts and Crafts Centre. 13 exhibition panels were produced presenting the project and the creative workshop for setting up the Arts and Crafts Centre. The exhibition was presented and could be visited in several locations throughout Europe, with the following opening dates:

·         16 January 2017 in Madrid, Spain; organised in cooperation with the Provincial Government of Teruel (one of the project’s partners)and the Romanian Cultural Institute from Madrid

·         31 January 2017 in Brussels, Belgium; organised in cooperation with the European Parliament, Winkler Gyula MEP

·         15 February 2017 in Paris, France; organised in cooperation with the Romanian Cultural Institute from Paris

·         19 April 2017 in Budapest, Hungary; organised in cooperation with the Romanian Cultural Institute from Budapest

·         17 August 2017 in Berlin, Germany; in cooperation with the Romanian Cultural Institute of Berlin

·         18 September 2017 in London, UK; organised in cooperation with the Romanian Cultural Institute from London

·         30 October 2017 in Museum of Câmpulung, one of the project’s partners

 

Publishing activity

In collaboration with ACCR, Transylvania Trust, and the Provincial Government of Teruel, a publication (a series of articles putting into perspective issues related to heritage, innovation, and professional development in Europe) and a database of the artists, craftsmen, good practices, and cultural centres involved in the project was compiled and issued. It also includes the catalogue of the works created in the framework of the Artists and Craftsmen in Residence programmes of the project. The publication was printed in 300 issues, containing, thus, a brochure with articles and case studies related to heritage, and two catalogues in four languages (Spanish, Hungarian, Romanian, and English). The printed materials together with the database of the artists, craftsmen, good practices, and cultural centres involved in the project can be accessed online from the project blogs.

A further publication was issued in two languages (Hungarian and Romanian) addressing young audiences, inviting them to discover the past and present of Bánffy Castle through the stories told by an owl, in a playful manner. The title of the publication is Together with Little Owl at Bánffy Castle, being a publication specifically for Schoolchildren that can also be used as pedagogical support.

 

Transylvania Trust’s supporters in 2017

European Union – European Commission, Creative Europe Programme; Administration of the National Cultural Fund (AFCN), Romania; Belváros Lipótváros – Local Council of the 5th District in Budapest, Hungary; National Cultural Fund, Hungary; Bethlen Gábor Fund, Hungary; Bronto; Secpral Pro Instalaþii; Pro Restauratio; Local Council of Bonþida; Communitas Foundation.

 

 

 

 


Annual Report

2016

 

Transylvania Trust is a registered charity founded in 1996 by conservation professionals and volunteers. The foundation’s principal aim is to promote the protection and conservation of Transylvanian built heritage. In order to achieve its principal aim, the foundation engages in activities that stimulate the protection of built heritage in general and of the values related to heritage in particular, being active in the fields of data recording, inventory, survey, building restoration, maintenance, training, and also scientific research, encouraging at the same time society to be more receptive towards the built environment.

Ever since its inception, the Transylvania Trust has been concerned with the fate of Bánffy Castle, Bonþida, a grade A listed historic building, and has been present in the village’s life for more than 15 years. Since 2001, when it started to organise and develop several cultural and educational programmes and events, many of which are now organised annually, the Trust has collaborated with the local authorities and institutions, as well as with the locals, who constitute the primary target group of most of its programmes. Below you may find out more about the nature of these programmes and events.

The Foundation has had the pleasure to collaborate with the Bonþida Local Council in several projects, with the common goal of creating a healthy community, of contributing to the village’s economic growth and cultural life, as well as of preserving local traditions through social, intercultural, and interethnic cohesion in the region. The children’s educational programmes were developed in close cooperation with schools in Dej, Bonþida, and Rãscruci, with the intention of developing extra-curricular activities and providing an alternative and high-quality education to children in the region.

Through its presence, the Foundation intends to use the built heritage entrusted to it as a catalyst for community life in the area, developing interethnic, intercultural, and intergenerational dialogue, as well as increasing the number of people specialised in traditional crafts, which means better chances of employment for disadvantaged groups.

 

1. The revitalisation of Bánffy Castle, Bonþida, by establishing the Built Heritage Conservation Training Centre

Bánffy Castle, Bonþida, is one of the most significant castle ensembles in Transylvania. Formerly known as the Versailles of Transylvania, the ensemble reached an extremely precarious condition by the end of the nineties. In 2003 Transylvania Trust signed a concession agreement for 49 years, therefore the castle’s restoration and maintenance is the responsibility of the foundation, which, by organising and overseeing the activities of the Built Heritage Conservation Training Centre hosted in the castle, is able to ensure the high-quality rehabilitation and long-term protection of the ensemble.

1.1. Rehabilitation works in 2016

The year 2016 saw several activities aimed at the castle’s research, rehabilitation, and aesthetic improvement.

Rendering repairs and finishing works took place in May on the exterior façade of the cour d’honneur, resulting in a unitary, finished look of this façade.

Certain works were carried out with the aim of improving the aesthetic and historical aspect of the courtyard, along with some electrical works: the electric post in the castle courtyard, which had an unpleasant and disturbing appearance in the historical environment, was eliminated, opting to bury the power lines that supply current to the former kitchen building. In parallel with these works, which have unearthed the foundations of the Miklós building’s northern part, an archaeological survey was carried out, which documented the underground elements found in this area. These activities resulted in the partial renewal of the power lines and an improvement in the appearance of the castle’s courtyard.

Regarding the summer of 2016, a two-week built heritage conservation training workshop was organised at Bánffy Castle, Bonþida, complemented by archaeological and art history research, as well as a creative workshop in the main building (for details see below). During the first days students acquired theoretical knowledge from specialised lecturers, putting this knowledge into practice during the workshops, where they actively participated in the castle’s restoration. Thus, the participants worked, under the guidance of the Centre's craftsmen, on partially consolidating the main, residential building’s central wing, as well as on finishing the Miklós building. The finishing works were completed by the Centre's team of craftsmen in September, thus completing the rehabilitation of its northern and western façades.

In parallel with the workshop, the clearing and cleaning of the carriage rooms’ ruins (the space near the former riding school), belonging to the cour d’honneur, took place. Thus, the debris resulting from the collapse of the vaults, which had prevented the access to this area for decades, was removed, with the future intention of rehabilitating this area of the courtyard as well.

We should also mention the efforts made to ensure the safety of our visitors, thus the on-going landscaping and maintenance activities of the courtyard and around the castle to ensure easy and safe access for all visitors, regardless of their age or health. For similar reasons, access was limited to some less secure areas of the main building, by closing certain of the accesses with grates that have a neutral appearance, thus they do not disturb the historic character of the ensemble, they restrict access to those areas that are still unsafe, and they allow visitors to take a peek inside without endangering their safety and health.

1.2. International Built Heritage Conservation Training Centre (BHCT)

The purpose of the Centre is to promote excellence in the conservation of the historic environment and specifically to teach traditional building craft skills, which can be used in the repair and maintenance of historic buildings. It promotes a policy of minimal intervention, compatibility of techniques and materials, and the use of local resources in historic building repair.

The first training course was organised in 1999, and the Built Heritage Conservation Training Centre has been based at Bánffy Castle, Bonțida since 2001. The programme provides teaching modules, each of two weeks duration, which offer a theoretical and practical understanding of the care of the historic environment, through presentations delivered by lecturers from British and Romanian universities and other specialists, provided through simultaneous translation in Romanian, English, and Hungarian, and through practical workshops in rendering, masonry consolidation, joinery, and stonemasonry led by Romanian craftsmen, where students learn through practical restoration projects directly on the castle buildings.

Two workshops were organised in 2016, held between 25 July and 7 August, respectively 15 and 28 August. The first workshop was organised in order to prepare the space (in the main building) for the second, creative workshop, but other types of activities took place as well: specialisation in masonry consolidation and rendering, mural decorations, respectively joinery. During the same workshop two research activities were held: archaeology and art history.

The programme’s first day was dedicated to theoretical training in the form of a series of lectures and presentations held by representatives of universities from the country and from Great Britain, as well as by other renowned specialists in the field of architecture, art history, archaeology, and cultural management. The lectures were translated into Romanian, Hungarian and English. Following the theoretical training, the participants had a specialised training on the norms and legislation in force related to work safety and protection on the site, respectively on fire prevention and extinguishing. During the week, in some of the evenings, additional lectures and case studies on architectural and structural interventions were held, especially, but not exclusively for students (from the faculties of architecture and civil engineering). The aim was to provide a theoretical foundation for the practical activities to follow in the traditional crafts workshops.

The practical specialisation took place in the workshops for the use of lime, masonry and rendering (masonry consolidation and building of a vault, finishing works), paintings and decorative mural techniques (fresco, secco, marble, stucco), and traditional joinery led by Romanian craftsmen, members of the Centre, having extensive experience in the field. Alongside these, an archaeology and art history research was also organised, led by university staff specialised in the two fields. Throughout the specialisation, the students participated directly in the research and rehabilitation works of the castle.

 

At the end of the practical training, the participants held an exam consisting of both a written and a practical test. Those who passed the exam successfully received a diploma.

At the end of the first week, a study field trip was scheduled to present certain important architectural monuments and rehabilitation works in Transylvania. When presenting the history and architectural style of the building, the students were accompanied by a guide.

The workshop was attended by 37 students arriving from Romania, Great Britain, and Greece. Until today over 1700 from participants from 16 countries have attended the course.

The second workshop focused on creating the Arts and Crafts Centre housed in the castle’s main, residential building, being a cooperation between the project's designers, the centre’ craftsmen, and the participants of the workshop. The workshop had a similar structure to the previous one, with the theoretical lectures focusing on the various cultural projects of architectural and urban revitalisation. The creative activities were supervised by the Centre's masters, where various techniques related to working with wood and iron were handed over.

The results of the two events were: structural interventions: masonry consolidation and repair, rebuilding a vault – in the main, residential building of the castle; implementing the Arts and Crafts Centre; finishing works on the northern and western façades of the Miklós building; the restoration of old furniture pieces.

1.3. Cultural and educational events

1.3.a. BAROCK. Bánffy Castle Days – 15th edition

Within the Bánffy Castle Days several cultural programmes and activities are held during a weekend, the event being increasingly popular since its first edition of 2002. Although this event is usually held annually in the last days of August, this year June 11-12 was opted for, with various events organised in the castle courtyard and in the restored buildings, addressing all nationalities (Romanians, Hungarians and Roma) and ages. Thus, the programme included numerous workshops, theatre plays and special programmes for children, as well as exhibitions, screenings, wine tastings, and concerts for adults. The Bánffy Castle Days also offered an opportunity to popularise local craft products, and guided tours have given visitors the opportunity to get acquainted with the history of this impressive ensemble.

1.3.b. Open Days

Proposed by ICOMOS and adopted by the UNESCO General Conference in 1983, the International Day of Monuments and Sites is celebrated annually on 18 April.

On this occasion the Transylvania Trust, considering it important to attract the public interest towards both the protection of built heritage as well as the cultural values of monuments, has organised Open Day at Bánffy Castle, Bonþida on 17 April. The programme of the event consisted of guided tours in Romanian and Hungarian, presenting the history of the castle, complemented by an absolute novelty in the country: using virtual reality in order to visualise parts of the cour d’honneur, the former Renaissance tower, as well as a part of the main building, in particular the two different façades of the western wing, presented in 3D via a phone application. The event was unexpectedly successful, attracting a large audience to the castle that took the opportunity to learn about the history of the ensemble and to relax in this historical environment.

 

1.3.c. Heritage Days for Schoolchildren

The extra-curricular activities involving schools from the region were organised in 2016 three times, an event in March and two events in October, with 89 children (schoolchildren, grades 3 and 4 from Dej, Bonþida, and Rãscruci) at different interactive programmes, being accompanied by 6 teachers. The activities aimed at raising awareness regarding the place and significance of built heritage in a typical setting, helping familiarise children with the historical environment, and at the same time aiming at developing the cooperative sense of the participants, as well as creativity.

2. Rimetea Heritage Conservation Programme

Over the last thirteen years, the Rimetea Heritage Conservation Project has encouraged the pro-active conservation of the area’s architectural heritage. This project was initiated by heritage professionals to stop the unsympathetic adaptation of Rimetea’s most valuable but greatly threatened historic buildings. Following a recommendation by Dr. András Román (former ICOMOS vice president) in 1996, the City Council of Budapest’s 5th District decided to financially support the architectural heritage of two Transylvanian villages. These villages were Rimetea and Inlaceni. The principal tool of this conservation programme is the grant system co-ordinated by Transylvania Trust.

Since 1996 a conservation grant (Grant A) has been offered annually to 120-140 of Rimetea’s historic building owners. All the parties involved in the conservation agreement sign the three conditions attached to the grant: the historic building owners assure that good conservation practice will be carried out on the property. The owners also agree not to change any of the valuable architectural features on the plot. Finally, in cases where changes and/or new developments are proposed, the owner will take the professional advice of the Transylvania Trust. A restoration grant (Grant B) for larger works can also be obtained through an application.

The Rimetea Heritage Conservation Programme is based upon a successful partnership between the local authorities and historic buildings’ owners. The programme’s strategy was established to protect the settlement’s features. There is no strong desire to restore the buildings to former periods or to rigidly preserve them. The programme’s principal objective is to promote sustainable heritage conservation and demonstrate how this has an important role in the community’s socio-economic development. This approach means that solutions differ from case to case, normally based on compromise.

At the beginning, the programme’s main objective was to stop unsympathetic changes (alterations to different parts of the settlement suggested a negative trend that could have severely harmed the architectural heritage’s integrity, likewise to the neighbouring Colțești). In many cases the conservation grant helped avoid this threat. Furthermore, proposed conservation and maintenance works helped secure buildings. More importantly, the attitude of the building owners changed. Today, Rimetea’s inhabitants are no longer ashamed to live in historic buildings but actively work towards their preservation.

The first ten years of this grant scheme have produced promising results. The conditions of the conservation agreements were met in the case of 96% of the grant aided properties, i.e. the appropriate maintenance works were carried out and the valuable architectural and street features were conserved. Generally, sums 100-150% greater than the grant were spent on maintenance and repairs. More than 70 buildings obtained restoration grants following a successful application process. The scientific foundation of the programme is a database containing architectural and structural information on 160 buildings. This information is continually being updated with new research and survey work. An architectural survey of Rimetea’s buildings was carried out between 1996 and 1998. This survey work served as an important educational tool by familiarising 41 students who participated in the surveys not only with surveying techniques but also with the general principles on vernacular architecture and historic building conservation.

 

The conservation work provided employment for local craftsmen and the possibility to learn traditional skills necessary for historic building conservation.

Since the beginning of the conservation programme, the Trust has used the long-term goal of the development of rural tourism, which uses historic buildings as its infrastructure, along with the short-term financial benefits of the grant scheme. Visitor numbers in Rimetea have increased as a result of the conservation programme. In addition, more than 40 owners aided by the programme and with professional help and support from the Trust obtained licenses required for rural tourism. Tourism is now the market leading activity in Rimetea.

The increase of rural tourism generates an increasing demand for development, consisting of modifications to the existing buildings and the construction of new houses. The Trust answered this challenge by partially grant-aiding new design and establishing a legal framework for protecting the area.

The Rimetea Heritage Conservation Programme was awarded with the Europa Nostra Medal in 1999, the highest European award at that time. This accolade acknowledges that the Rimetea programme offers an example of viable conservation change based on partnership between local communities and NGOs. This occurred in a region where heritage is threatened by rapid socio-economic development.

Presentation materials regarding the Rimetea Heritage Protection Project have been exposed by project director Furu Árpád on many events, of which we only name the most important ones: the visit of László Sólyom in Rimetea, the ACCR conference, and the course of conferences organised in Turda by the City Council.

 

3. Postgraduate Studies in Historic Building Conservation

Initiated and co-organised by the Transylvania Trust, the Postgraduate Course in Historic Building Conservation was launched in October 1998, within the Faculty of History and Philosophy of the Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj, on the basis of the Decree no. 4223/1998 of the Ministry for Education. The curriculum approved by the Ministry for Education has been developed by staff members of the Trust, taking into consideration recommendations of specialists from the country and from abroad, as well as those of the ICOMOS International Training Committee (Guidelines on Education and Training in the Conservation of Monuments, Ensembles and Sites – Fifth Revised Draft, May 11, 1992.)

The main objective of the course is the training of specialists with university degrees in historic building conservation, considering the richness and present state of the Transylvanian built heritage. The training is located in the Built Heritage Research and Training Centre in the Breaza Street, Cluj-Napoca, established with the support of the Apáczai Foundation. The building offers classrooms, catering facilities, and accommodation.

The course’s duration is two years, meaning four semesters. The training consists of 600 classes (480 theoretical and 120 practical lessons). It is organised in Romanian and Hungarian for architects, structural engineers, art historians, archaeologists, and other experts with a university degree (Catholic and Calvinist priests, as well as geologists have also participated in the course). The curriculum of the course contains joint subjects on general issues and particular courses corresponding to the professional training background of the students.

In order to assimilate speciality terms in Romanian and English, 5% of the courses for the Romanian and Hungarian group are held in English, while 15% of the Hungarian group’s courses are lectured in Romanian.

The practical classes consist of visiting local restoration sites and participating in field-trips to Romania and abroad.

Graduating students are awarded with a certificate on historic building conservation, after sustaining their thesis. This certificate is acknowledged by the Ministry of Culture under Law no. 422/2001. Since the project’s launch, a total of 460 students have attended the course and a total of 242 students have obtained their degree in this field.

 

4. Vernacular architecture Research and Protection

Vernacular buildings represent a characteristic and valuable segment of the Transylvanian built heritage. They are witness to days of old, which can be found rarely in developed countries, since the lifestyle that created and maintained them has disappeared due to economic development and modern construction practices.

The same is likely to happen with the remaining Transylvanian vernacular architecture, as most owners, influenced by the changed lifestyle and the heightened comfort requirements, reject traditional materials and forms, which leads to the destruction of a much larger number of buildings than the technical decay of materials and structures would imply.

The primary aim of the project is the inventory and research of the vernacular built heritage and the on site preservation of the 100-150 most important vernacular buildings.

The first stage of the project consists of an inventory of the vernacular built heritage, the compilation of a database covering about 1000 settlements, and the creation of a register of Transylvanian vernacular built heritage. This database creates the grounds for the subsequent preservation activities.

Between 1999 and 2002, in 65 villages of the Cãlata, Câmpia Transilvaniei, and Odorheiu Secuiesc regions, datasheets were filled out for 1750 vernacular buildings. The collected data is the basis of a computerised database. The database is available for researchers in the archives of Transylvania Trust.

The co-organiser of the survey of Transylvanian vernacular built heritage is the Open-Air Ethnographic Museum at Szentendre, Hungary. The project is supported by the Hungarian Ministry for National Cultural Heritage, in the framework of the Romanian-Hungarian Cultural Co-operation Agreement.

 

5. International Cooperation

ARTEC – Arts, Rediscovery, Traditions, Eclectic, Contemporary

Starting with November 2015, Transylvania Trust has been coordinating an international project co-funded by the European Union through the Creative Europe Programme, Culture Sub-programme. The project is organised in order to promote built heritage as part of the identity of a diverse Europe through creative methods of interpretation and valorisation. An important element of the project was the creation of the Arts and Crafts Centre in Bánffy Castle, Bonþida, which through its activities supports artistic creation in a historical environment.

The partners of Transylvania Trust within this collaboration are Association des Centres Culturels de Rencontre – ACCR, Paris, France; Câmpulung Municipal Museum, Câmpulung Muscel, Romania; Art Union of Hungarian Engravers and Lithographers – AUHEL, Budapest, Hungary; and Diputación Provincial de Teruel, Teruel, Spain.

Many of the events organised at the castle (such as the Open Days, Heritage Days for Schoolchildren, etc.) took place as part of the ARTEC project, respectively parallel events have taken place in the partner countries.

Creating the Arts and Crafts Centre. The events of this activity took place throughout the year, starting with an international competition launched in April to reinterpret the space that would host the Arts and Crafts Centre. 13 projects were submitted, from which the jury selected two winner proposals: the one of Norma Group for the interior and the ideas of Blajin for the castle courtyard. The workshops organised during the summer (see 1.2 of the report) prepared the space and carried out the design proposals through the collaboration of the designers, the craftsmen of the Built Heritage Conservation Training Centre in Bonþida Castle, and the workshop’s participants.

Metamorphoses Bánffy. The inauguration of the Arts and Crafts Centre took place on 18 September, the European Heritage Day. The event was celebrated with guided tours, a discussion with members of the Bánffy family and with the translators of Miklós Bánffy’s literary work, respectively with an original theatre play by Váróterem Projekt, inspired by Ovid’s Metamorphoses, which was the inspirational basis for the baroque statue gallery once decorating the cour d’honneur of the castle. In the following years, the Arts and Crafts Centre will host events dedicated to artistic creation (workshops), as well as those related to promoting young artists.

 

 

Transylvania Trust’s supporters in 2016

European Union – European Commission; Administration of the National Cultural Fund (AFCN), Romania; Belváros Lipótváros – Local Council of the 5th District in Budapest, Hungary; Union of Architects in Romania (UAR); National Cultural Fund, Hungary; Bethlen Gábor Fund, Hungary; Bronto; Secpral Pro Instalaþii; Pro Restauratio; Local Council of Bonþida; Communitas Foundation; Local Council of Cluj-Napoca; Cluj County Council.