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Short Courses and Summer Schools
Click on a title to read about the course...
Building sustainably by learning from traditional architecture 23-28 August 2010, Transylvania
Conservation workshops in Poland 19 September 2010, Rodaki, Poland
First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Times of Conflict 17 September - 29 October 2010, Rome
Conservation Internship in Acre, Israel 5 September 2010 for five months
Courses Archive

Building sustainably by learning from traditional architecture
2nd Meşendorf / Meschendorf Workshop, 2010
23 - 28 August 2010, Meşendorf, Transylvania

Mesendorf training course 2010 The second edition of the workshop "Building sustainably by learning from traditional architecture" will take place in Meşendorf, Brasov county, Transylvania, beetween 23rd – 28th of August 2010.

The event is open to everyone but is addressed in particular to architectural students and young people that show an interest in the traditional art of building and the rural way of life. The purpose of this workshop is to give the participants an understanding of traditional techniques and materials of construction, to give them an appreciation of the harmonious relationship that can be created between the built and the natural environment. The participants will be involved in all aspects of the repair, reconstruction and rehabilitation of the buildings that are part of the two farmsteads: sourcing the materials, masonry repairs, building new masonry and timber structures, applying traditional finishes, etc. All the work will be done under the supervision of local skilled craftsmen.

This year, the workshop will also host the first edition of the Meşendorf Fest- Garden Parties, a series of events which will involve the participation of "The Swiss Trapeze School" - a trapeze company from Barcelona (26th of August), musicians from the Brasov Philharmonic Orchestra and the Music High School from Brasov (27th of August) and other artists.

Mesendorf training course 2010: Wine press and bread oven at House 53


  • ProPatrimonio Foundation
  • Ratiu Family Foundation
  • Sturza Family Foundation
  • Institute of Architecture and Urbanism "Ion Mincu"- Bucharest
  • OAR Romanian Chamber of Architects
  • Inside Communication
  • Mikim Ltd
  • Frizart Ltd.

    Reports from previous students

    Mesendorf training course 2010: Participants eating together At the previous edition in 2009, there were 27 participants from Romania, Belgium, United Kingdom, Germany, Canada. Here are some of the impressions from some of the participants:

    “Hard return to reality... I just wanted to thank you : I really had a very good time in Meşendorf, and I got to learn some interesting things over there. When we first arrived there, you told us Meşendorf was the most beautiful Saxon village. It took me a little while to get used to the idea, but in the end, it really got to me and I had a really hard time leaving the place, the adventure, the people.[...]”
    - Christine Bortnowski, architect from Belgium

    "First I would like to thank you so very much for an outstanding experience. Wow! I never expected that to come my way and it was truly informative, memorable and an absolute joy to participate in."
    - Nicholas Mayne, student from Canada, Alberta

    "There have been a lot of useful lessons to be learnt. In general, the “hands on” experience is invaluable for understanding the materials, as the Japenese would say, for "hearing the breath of the material". We have been working with timber structures, stone masonry, preparing mortars etc. But also, I have been riding my bike, I have been singing, I have had pleasant and interesting conversations, I have been trecking through wonderful landscapes. The village and its surroundings were so beautiful. And I have felt like I have been amongst friends. All I can say is that I am very grateful for the experience"
    - Iulia Cucu, architectural student from Bucharest

    "[...] It has been an unforgetable experience, an event which has changed my perspective on architecture. The passion for heritage and natural building shown by the people I have been interacting with during that week, has been trully inspiring."
    - Rozina Dragomir, architectural student from Bucharest

    About the Meşendorf Project


    Meşendorf (German Meschendorf) is a village set up by German settlers (later known as Transylvanian Saxons) around the year of 1150. The village is dominated by the towers of the fortified church, now only a reminder of the strength and beliefs of a community that ceased to exist not long ago. As a consequence of the hardship that the Saxon communities had to endure during the communist era, a mass emigration process (to Germany) begun in the 1980s to the extent that at present there is less than 10% of the Saxon population left in Romania. In Meşendorf there are only three Saxons villagers left, one of them, Mr. Werner, will be celebrating his 100 birthday.

    The mass emigration phenomenon had dramatic consequences in the rural area. Hundreds of villages have been left deserted. Romanians and Gypsies moved in the Saxon houses but the predominant population is now of Gypsy origin. While the Saxon communities were "self sufficient" based on an agricultural economy and with a strong sense of cooperation within the communities and neighbourhoods, the Gypsies do not seem to have either a sense of community or the skills to create and maintain a local economy. Therefore, these villages are now overwhelmed by poverty and dereliction.

    Why Meşendorf?

    Meşendorf is considered to be one of the most beautiful amongst the Saxon villages due to its natural and architectural landscape. The whole main street (Strada Principala) is listed on the Historic Monuments List together with the church and its fortifications. There is a unique Tanz Platz - a Dancing Circle, the place where the most village celebrations would have taken place, built on a promontory at the end of the main street.

    Meşendorf is reachable on horse and cart from Viscri - an already internationally well known tourist destination. Mesendorf is on the path of numerous horse riding treks, therefore there seem to be an obvious need for hospitality facilities: an information point, guest houses, stables, catering and toilets.

    The economic and social situation of the village could be greatly improved by a coherent plan of architectural rehabilitation. It would create jobs and opportunities for training workshops. It would raise awareness about the importance of heritage conservation and sustainability, and it would hopefully rebuild a sense of local pride.

    There is a presence in the village of professionals which can contribute to the potential projects.

    Further information

    The participation fee is 500 lei ( equivalent of 120 Euros) and it includes meals and accomodation. For more information and registration, please contact:

    Arch. Silvia Demeter-Lowe
    Email: contextarchitecture @
    Mobile: +40 0727 204949

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    Conservation workshops in Poland
    19 September 2010, Rodaki, Poland


    Darren McLean, INTBAU Poland, Tutor for the Scottish Lime Centre Trust

    Darren McLean is a specialist in Building Conservation. As a conservation tradesman he is involved in a variety of works relating to the conservation and restoration of traditionally constructed buildings. His work largely focuses on conservation masonry (lime mortar/stone construction) carpentry such as window repairs and associated services requiring knowledge of traditional trade skills, such as lime washing (paint), lime render, lime plaster repairs etc.

    Darren also spends a considerable amount of time teaching homeowners as to the best ways to care for their traditionally built homes. This includes advising them as to the types of materials that are appropriate for historic buildings and just as importantly, those that are not. For example, dampness problems caused by cement mortars or modern plastic paints.


    Rodaki, Lesser Poland (40 km north of Krakow)

    The workshops take place during Open Farmhouses Festival 2010.

    During the festival, private historic farmhouses are opened to the public. There are also educational and cultural events prepared by local NGOs in cooperation with owners of the homes.

    WORKSHOP I: Lime

  • What is lime?
  • How to use it
  • The reasons to use it
  • Why it is still the best choice for traditional buildings

    WORKSHOP II: Wooden windows

  • Maintaining traditional windows
  • Reasons to keep them
  • Improving thermal performance


    Assessment of several historic buildings, discussion with the farmhouse owners.

    Further information

    Magdalena Prosińska
    Email: mprosinska @

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    First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Times of Conflict
    17 September - 29 October 2010, Rome, with study visits to other cities in Italy

    Application deadline: 14 May 2010

    With the cooperation of UNESCO, Blue Shield and specialized international and national agencies


    In the past decades, armed conflicts worldwide have involved deliberate or accidental damage to cultural heritage. Conflicts cause the weakening of governments and societies and endanger the core values that hold communities together. Cultural heritage thus plays a crucial role in recovering from such situations. In times of conflict, however, all operations can be delayed because access is often restricted by military, security, or law enforcement agencies. Consequently, it is essential for everyone working in these areas to understand how and when to intervene to protect endangered cultural heritage while humanitarian efforts are under way.


  • Understand the values associated with cultural heritage and the impact that conflict has on them;
  • Apply ethics and principles of conservation in extreme conditions;
  • Assess and manage risks to cultural heritage in conflict situations;
  • Take peacetime preparatory action to improve response in times of conflict;
  • Secure, salvage and stabilize a variety of cultural materials;
  • Understand international legal instruments protecting cultural heritage during conflicts;
  • Communicate successfully with the various actors involved, and work in teams.


    The course will comprise of interactive lectures, group activities, practical sessions, simulations, site visits and case studies. Participants will be asked to develop case studies drawing from their own experience and work context.


    The course is aimed at those who are actively involved in the protection of cultural heritage within a variety of institutions (libraries, museums, archives, sites, departments of antiquities or archaeology, religious and community centres, etc.). It is also aimed at professionals from humanitarian and cultural aid organizations, as well as military, civilian and civil defense personnel. Those with experience in conflict situations are particularly encouraged to apply.

    A maximum of 22 participants will be selected.

    Working language: English.

    Course fee: 900 € (Euro).

    Travel, accommodation and living expenses

    Participants are responsible for their round-trip travel costs to and from Rome, Italy, and for all living expenses. To cover the cost of living, participants should plan for a minimum allowance of 2,000 € (Euro) for the entire duration of the course. This sum is based on the cost of moderately priced accommodations. Candidates are strongly encouraged to seek financial support from sources such as governmental institutions, employers and funding agencies.

    Financial assistance

    Upon request, the organizers will offer financial support to a limited number of selected candidates who can demonstrate their inability to secure funding.


    Please use the ICCROM application form. In your submission, include a 700-word personal statement that summarizes your experience and highlights the relevance of the course to your current or future projects. Applications should be sent by regular mail to the following address or by e-mail to the address below.

    Further information

    First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Times of Conflict
    Collections Unit - ICCROM
    Via di San Michele, 13
    00153 ROME RM, ITALY
    Tel: +39 06 585531
    Fax: +39 06 58553349
    Email: aidinconflict @

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    Saving The Stones:
    Conservation Internship in Acre, Israel
    A unique opportunity to join conservation teams onsite!
    5 September 2010 for five months

    Saving the Stones internship 2010

    Saving the Stones is a five month internship in historical and archaeological conservation. It is run by the International Conservation Centre in Old Acre (ICC), and is a joint project of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), the Old Acre Development Company, the Acre Municipality and The Nero Bloomfield Wizo School of Design and Education. The centre is located in Old Acre, a veritable living laboratory for the study and practice of conserving historic sites and structures as well.

    We are now recruiting participants for the international conservation practical training internship in Akko. We are in the midst of the second program in which 9 people are currently participating: one architect graduate from Argentine; one conservation graduate from Mexico; one international studies graduate from Poland; one cultural studies graduate from the US; one interior design graduate from the USA; one conservation technician from Portugal; and three Israelis from Akko (2 Jewish and one Arab). It is fantastic opportunity for people interested in the field to acquire work contacts and practical experience. Graduates of the program will acquire a IAA certificate in practical conservation. One of the graduates from our last program was actually offered a job with the IAA!

    The upcoming program will open in September 2010 and continue for 5 months in Akko. We are interested in post college / university participants in any of the fields above and of course archaeology, art history and other related fields.

    Study ancient stone and building technologies, work alongside leading Israeli conservation specialists and archaeologists. Learn about the many renowned historical figures, nations, cultures and religious movements which have left their mark in Israel.

    Historic Old Acre is the pearl of the Galilee. In 2001, it was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Many visible remains reveal the stories of the Crusader and Ottoman quarters. The colourful bazaars of Acre, the city walls, the fisherman's wharf, and wonderful restaurants are all part of the special attractions of the city.

    Key details

  • Program length: One semester (5 months)
  • Program language: English
  • Tuition fees: $10,915
  • Dates: September 2010 for five months
  • Deadline for application is 1 month before the opening of the internship training program (if there are still places left).
  • Funding is available for the internship through MASA - Israel Journey and for first year participants there is a $1,000 reduction.


    The Israel National Commission for UNESCO
    ICOMOS Israel

    Practical work

    Saving the Stones internship 2009

  • Surveys and documentation in ongoing conservation projects
  • Study visits with leading conservation specialists
  • Development of Architectural Conservation Drawing, Photography and Computer Skills


  • Architecture in the Land of Israel
  • Heritage of Acre
  • Archaeology of Israel


  • Holiday hospitality in the communities of Acre
  • Modern Israeli history
  • Cultural events
  • Hebrew language courses
  • Meeting young Israelis

    Further information

    Shelley-Anne Peleg
    Old Acre Conservation Centre
    Weitzman 1, P.O. Box 1088
    Old Acre 24110
    Tel: +972-4-995-6726
    Fax: +972-4-991-9418
    Email: conservationcenter @ or shelleypel @

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