On 22 June 2022, a theoretical seminar and discussion took place at the Open Air museum of Lithuania, where experts of heritage, protected areas, universities, museums and representatives of the architectural community discussed topical issues on the survival and preservation of vernacular architecture. Below are the conclusions of the seminar and suggestions for relevant actions:
- prepare specialized training,
- prepare a methodology for the maintenance and management of wooden architecture,
- improve the legislative framework.
According to current laws, construction is not possible without architectural projects. This makes the natural continuity of vernacular architecture impossible, that is, the transmission of the living tradition from generation to generation. Therefore, it is important to actualize the knowledge and revitalization of the local architectural tradition, a proper understanding of their value, finding ways to preserve the remaining traditional spaces and buildings. Meanwhile, vernacular architectural heritage is not integrated into the curriculum in the formal education system. Architects are not given competence in this area, and without knowledge many mistakes are made that are difficult to correct.
The importance of the interaction between natural and architectural heritage and the need for an integrated management approach to it in order to ensure long-term sustainability is increasingly recognised worldwide. Objects of vernacular architecture are highly contextual in relation to their surrounding environment and respond to the principles of sustainability. Therefore, learning from traditional examples is extremely relevant. First of all, we suggest to prepare specialized training (summer courses, creative workshops, seminars in municipalities), latter on as qualification improvement programs or even integrated into study programs.
Vernacular architecture combines tangible and intangible heritage. Old technologies – the competence of the former master carpenter – are an essential element of authenticity that guarantee the continuity of the living tradition. Many of the traditional technologies are still relevant today, determining the quality of construction or restoration work, guaranteeing longevity and durability. Therefore, it is very important to provide heritage specialists with knowledge about old technologies and their application in heritage management works.
In order to continue and develop inter-institutional cooperation, we propose to organise joint meetings and discussions involving politicians, representatives of municipalities and owners of cultural heritage. On the basis of their conclusions, form applications for the improvement of the legislative framework and the development of operational strategies.
Author: Dr. Rasa Bertasiute (KTU)