Adventures in Preservation (AiP)

Adventures in Preservation (AiP) envisions a world where people use, understand, and appreciate historic buildings that are vital to economic and environmental sustainability and preserve cultural identity. AiP organizes international volunteer-based projects which provide educational training in preservation issues and technical skills, preserve and restore heritage sites essential to cultural identity, and support sustainable economic development through heritage tourism and job creation. Adventures in Preservation's mission: Connecting people and preservation through enriching experiential programs that safeguard heritage and foster community sustainability.
Oct 28, 2013

From Near Ruin to Vital Business

Babameto house before restoration
Babameto house before restoration

Can you believe it’s been only four years since work started to save the historic Babameto tower house in Gjirokastra? Portions of this massive stone house had collapsed, yet Cultural Heritage without Borders was able to design and complete a project bringing the house back to its original glory. And today, with assistance from AiP volunteers, the tower house is completely restored and serves as a travel hostel. The hostel provides comfortable, safe and inexpensive lodging for its guests as well as bringing new jobs to the community. Your efforts played a vital role in this amazing transformation, and more importantly, in enhancing not only the city’s beauty but the community's sustainable economy through increased tourism. We are infinitely grateful!

Adventures in Preservation is again joining Cultural Heritage without Borders (CHwB) in ramping up our efforts to restore the Skenduli tower house and three additional houses nearby. It is with great excitement that we will return to Gjirokastra for two, two-week sessions: April 25 - May 9 and September 12 - 26, 2014. We plan to repair wooden balcony features and decorative wood ceilings, document and restore decorative painting, continue plaster repair and much more.

We are diligently working to organize a productive, fulfilling and memorable journey and hope that you will consider joining us. All volunteers are welcome and experience is not required. Your participation or financial contribution will go a long way in revitalizing the Skenduli house and making its success story just as compelling as that of the Babameto house.

If you know of someone who might consider joining us in Gjirokastra, we’d be grateful if you would pass this information along. Likewise, if you have ideas for attracting wider project support, please let us know. We’d love to hear from you.

Again, thank you for your continued interest and generous support.

Restored house on day of opening ceremony
Restored house on day of opening ceremony
Re-plastering with lime plaster
Re-plastering with lime plaster
Guest room ready for travelers!
Guest room ready for travelers!

Links:

Aug 1, 2013

Skenduli Hands-On Learning Open to All

AiP volunteer from Australia learning plaster prep
AiP volunteer from Australia learning plaster prep

The Skenduli House repair and restoration project in Gjirokastra is moving forward thanks to your continuing support. In September, architecture and preservation students from around the Balkans will once again come for two weeks of learning and working at the site as preservation continues.

What you may not know is that ANYONE is welcome to join this hands-on learning experience.  If experiential travel is something you love, this opportunity will offer you a memorable way to be involved and help the community.

In 2014, two sessions are open, one in April and one in September. For each two-week session, we hope to have ten volunteers, also known as citizen preservationists, join students and professionals from around the world. Teams of 8 will work with a craftsperson, receiving a great deal of individual instruction to learn the historic arts of lime plastering, wood preservation, and other work that may be on tap during your session.

We would like everyone, regardless of your experience with historic preservation, to know you are welcome to come and learn new skills, enjoy excellent Albanian cuisine, and explore the culture all in the company of other dedicated volunteers. It's remarkable that such an amazing experience for you will at the same time greatly support efforts to move Gjirokastra toward a sustainable economy for its citizens.

Your donation can go even further in person, as you extend the impact by contributing to the actual preservation efforts at the Skenduli House!

Drawing class at Skenduli option for volunteers
Drawing class at Skenduli option for volunteers

Links:

May 8, 2013

Re-introducing Traditional Skills to Save Gjirokastra

Traditional method used to repair stone roof
Traditional method used to repair stone roof

As we’ve discussed before in our reports about rebuilding Gjirokastra, Albania, the community’s effort to develop a sustainable economy is dependent on their amazing built heritage. So what happens when local craftsmen and contractors no longer have the skills and knowledge needed to maintain the large stone tower houses?

This question is answered regularly with the collapse of another historic building. Each loss makes the move toward a sustainable economy, largely based on heritage tourism, harder to achieve.

Fortunately for the people of Gjirokastra, the knowledge of traditional building skills still remains with a few builders in the area and in other parts of the Balkans. Adventures in Preservation, together with Cultural Heritage without Borders, is taking advantage of this good fortune.

With the help of your donations, craftspeople from the Balkans are earning a salary teaching traditional building skills to students and professionals attending AiP and CHwB’s hands-on projects at the Skenduli house in Gjirokastra.

These budding architecture, city planning and preservation professionals will be able to share their expertise during productive careers.

They will become a new source of old knowledge, once again giving property owners the ability to regularly maintain their buildings and at the same time contribute to the economic growth of their community. Thanks for working with us to support this transition.

Roof repair made with plastic leads to collapse
Roof repair made with plastic leads to collapse

Links:

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