Architectural Guidelines are tools providing a heritage-friendly and sustainable approach for rehabilitation and construction of new buildings in rural areas.
Romanian rural areas are threatened of losing their traditional character, currently translated into a rich cultural, architectural, natural, social, culinary and economic heritage. The modernisation process meant to increase population’s life quality has changed the aspect of villages. Rural localities closer to urban areas or located in naturally beautiful surroundings are even under an increased pressure to enlarge and accommodate demographic developments. Existing traditional buildings, and new ones are vulnerable under this process and the efforts of preserving the vitality, authenticity and quality of the rural built environment should be assisted. The proposed guidelines define the region’s rural specificity in terms of buildings and architecture. Each part of a building is analised according to the local features and recommendations are formulated in order to emphasise the traditional construction “wisdom”, promote responsible use of local resources, introducing, at the same time, new techniques and materials, as well as renewable energy sourses. The guidelines are public and free-of-charge tools. The information provided is concrete, accessible, facilitating the adoption of sustainable solutions. The stakeholders are the Ministry of Culture, the Chamber of Architects and management authorities of rural development programmes. Beneficiaries include architects and engineers, local authorities, public and private investors, consultants and rural population.
The Romanian Chamber of Architects financed the elaboration of three guidelines under the Fund „Architecture Stamp” that covered 100% of the app. 12.600 euro costs for each area addressed. Four architects and one scientific advisor on history and popular art were part of the project team.
Evidence of success
The practice aiming at protecting the rural cultural and architectural heritage was elaborated by a highly recognised professional body – the Romanian Chamber of Architects and its team included architects and a scientific advisor. The guidelines proved to be useful not only for professionals involved in existing buildings rehabilitation and building of new ones, but also for the elaboration of urban planning-related documents. The practice is a tool available online, free-of-charge.
A raising awareness campaign on the availability of the Guidelines should be organised addressing stakeholders and potential beneficiaries. Printed version may contribute to a better promotion and increased dissemination. Its application should be enhanced by the stakeholders.
Potential for learning or transfer
The Guidelines have a very clear, practical and friendly manner of presenting the architectural solutions and recommendations, linking them to the rural specificity and allowing the users to have a coherent understanding of the rural architectural features. The recommendations are illustrated by relevant images underlining in the same time, the traditional practices that are still in compliance with the actual needs.
The guidelines represent supporting tools for local authorities and relevant professionals. Such architectural guidelines have been developed for numerous rural areas from Romania, as one of the main target of the Working Group for Rural Areas within The Romanian Chamber of Architects.
The good practice may be of direct interest for countries sharing similar typology of rural buildings, while its concept, methodology and end-results may be of interest for any region/country. Being an on-line tool, the good practice is easy to be transferred.
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