Transylvania Trust

Activities / Built heritage conservation traning

In 1998 the British Council and the Romanian Ministry of Culture, recognizing the need to develop a built heritage conservation strategy, invited the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC) and the Transylvania Trust to design and implement a project to promote historic building conservation in Romania. That is how the Built Heritage Conservation Training Project was created. The program was located in 1999 in the United Kingdom, in 2000 in the Bethlen Gábor College in Aiud, since 2001 in Bánffy Castle, Bonţida.

In 2005 the Built Heritage Conservation Training Centre was opened in Banffy Castle Bontida, and has been awarded in 2008 with the top prize for heritage preservation education, training and awareness raising of the European Union and Europa Nostra. “Highly valued for its double approach: training for conservation and conservation through training. It is an excellent example of cross border exchange of knowledge.”

The general 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 utilised in the repair and maintenance of historic buildings; whilst in parallel undertaking the restoration of an endangered major historic building.

The Centre promotes a policy of Minimal Intervention, compatibility of techniques and materials, and the use of local resources in historic building repair. It provides teaching modules, each of two weeks duration, which offer theoretical and practical understanding of the care of the historic environment, through lectures 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, Carpentry and Stonemasonry led jointly by Romanian and British craftsmen where students learn through practical restoration projects directly on the castle buildings.

Module time table
The training module was implemented between 07.04.2009 and 07.19.2009.

Participants: 34 students participated in this training module – 14 from Romania (3 from Bontida), 7 from Hungary, 10 from the UK and 3 from Slovakia. Among these, 10 students specialized in stonemasonry, 15 in rendering and 9 in carpentry.

Location: Built Heritage Conservation Training Centre – Bánffy Castle Bontida, Romania.

The trainers represented the leader organization – Transylvania Trust – as well as other experts from Romania and the UK. Their background was in legislation, sociology, conservation, cultural operators, and international experts in cultural heritage-sustainable development

The outcome: During this 2 week training module, the students under the attentive guidance and supervision of the craftsmen, contributed to:

  1. Restoring the roof structure of the NW tower of the Main Building
  2. Construction of the vaulted ceiling inside the former stables building
  3. Restoration of the Eastern façade of Miklós building

All 34 participants have successfully completed the training program and received a diploma.