With the fourth edition of HANDS ON CONSERVATION in Apold, the organizers have turned a successful concept into a tradition! Ten participants from Romania and Germany built the second part of a wooden extension within the ring wall of the fortified church.

For the duration of two weeks, the fourth edition of the annual HANDS ON CONSERVATION summer school took place from 19 to 30 June 2023. The organizers are particularly pleased with the interesting mix that results from bringing together learners with different experiences, backgrounds, specializations, age groups and nationalities.  In addition to learning and practicing specific techniques of the traditional craft of woodworking, planning and surveying the future building, a wonderful community of people passionate about traditions, historic buildings, the landscape and, of course, fortified churches gathers year after year on the occasion of this summer school. This year, for the second time, the Apold fortified church was the venue for the summer school.

The organizing team consisted of project coordinator Andreea Mănăstirean (Fortified Churches Foundation), Sebastian Bethge (coordinator of the summer school and learning modules) and Ania Bethge (CasApold Association). CasApold is a local association that took over the fortified church on site over 15 years ago and has been working on the restoration and upgrading of the fortified complex ever since. The Sibiu architect team Modul28 prepared the submission of the documents for the necessary approval of the planned works.

The ten participants, eight of them from Romania and two from Germany, received a theoretical introduction to the techniques of monument conservation, to the traditional architecture of the Saxon villages in Transylvania and, last but not least, to traditional carpentry. The presentation of working tools and their correct handling, the execution of typical Transylvanian timber joints and the erection of a traditional roof with plain tiles attracted the participants in advance. This year’s edition benefited from the financial support of the Romanian Order of Architects through the Timbrul Monumentelor and the Prince of Wales Foundation Romania, as well as from the Department of Interethnic Relations.

“Through these summer schools, the village, where the original village community is no longer present, is experiencing a revitalization through a new community that evokes admiration every time with the dedication and energy with which they work towards a common goal,” describes project coordinator Andreea Mănăstirean and hopes for further growth of the HOC community in the coming year.