Volunteering, virtual community and wooden houses of cities 1

Ingrida Veliutė
www.kamane.lt, 2014-09-18
Authentic house of the sculptor J.Zikaras. Photo by foto I.Veliutė

In brief: “All heritage is dissonant”, this statement of one of the most famous heritage researchers of the latter decades Prof. Gregory Ashworth is widely discussed in his researches and was also repeated during the international conference “Heritage-2014” of this year. In his report, G. Ashworth analysed the problem of colonial wooden heritage, the possibilities and perspectives of its preservation and use.

The construction and maintenance technologies of wooden houses were forgotten or pushed aside during several decades of soviet occupation in Lithuania. Big construction plans, multi-storeyed houses and new materials that were considered more advanced influenced this situation. Today the situation of the majority of wooden houses is poor, the decision is frequently accepted to pull them down. And if one decides to repair them, various restrictions, lack of specialists and construction materials, big expenses await. However, this time the author wants to discuss how we can contribute to the preservation of wooden houses in cities.

Therefore, in the article the author refers to passive and active data bases where information about heritage is accumulated as well as mentions cases when new technologies help to rally volunteers eager to collect information and encourage the protection of cultural heritage in this way.

The State Register of Cultural Heritage functions in Lithuania for many years already. Data are accumulated by specialists of the Cultural Heritage Department under the Ministry of Culture of RL on the constant basis. However, only information about state-protected objects is accumulated here. Due to the limited functionality of this data base and the increased demand to systemise the gathered digital information, groups of scientists started creating thematic data bases on the ground of newest scientific research data. One of the first data bases of this kind was the Data Base of Manors created in 2002 – 2004: about 12 thousand manors have been registered in it. Another example is the data base of Lithuanian modern architecture www.modernizmas.lt.

At the moment two data bases are being developed intensively: the data base of architecture of various kinds and periods www.autc.lt and the data base on wooden architecture www.archimede.lt, in which first information on wooden houses in Kaunas was gathered, later it should be expanded by objects of wooden architecture in Birštonas and Druskininkai.

Authentic elements of interior of a wooden house in V.Putvinskio St., Kaunas, pulled down in 2013. Photo by P.T. Laurinaitis
A good example of restoration of a wooden house in Vilnius. Photo by I.Veliutė

The socio-cultural aspect is significant in both of the latter data bases. Volunteers, who are mostly students interested in architecture studies and cultural heritage protection, are rallied around these data bases. New technologies also enable to popularise various architectural heritage objects via virtual communities and contribute to the tidying up of such heritage.


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