Understanding How to Rehabilitate a Historical Building – Episode 3

Understanding How to Rehabilitate a Historical Building – Episode 3

How to Obtain a Building Permit

After all the studies we talked about earlier, the next step is to obtain the authorization to carry out the intervention works (a building permit). The procedure has several stages: a local planning certificate is requested from the local town hall, indicating what is permitted according to the local regulations and what other authorities must analyse in advance (mandatory bills) the project before issuing the permit. In the case of works on historic buildings (monuments) the views of the Directorate for County Culture and the State Inspectorate for Construction are mandatory.

The divisions responsible for culture evaluate (in theory) the way in which, through the project, the heritage value of the building is preserved and may request modifications of the solution so as to ensure a quality intervention in compliance with the principles of heritage protection. The culture divisions consult with the Regional Monuments Commission, composed of specialists in the field, for these approvals in order to issue relevant points of view. Unfortunately, in practice, more and more often, these opinions are conditioned by various interests, divergent from those of heritage conservation and enhancement. The project presented to the Directorate for Culture and implicitly to the Regional Commission contains the preliminary studies and the proposed architectural solution in which all the intervention works, repairs and possibly additions, modifications with the related justifications are made explicit.


Understanding How to Rehabilitate a Historical Building – Episode 2

Understanding How to Rehabilitate a Historical Building – Episode 2

Consulting ”the beneficiary”

After collecting information about the building – historical study – analysis of materials – geotechnical study – topographic survey – technical expertise – we can determine what we can do with it and how. It is natural for the architect to help establish the direction, but it is good to keep in mind that any building is used by people and therefore the establishment of the DESIGN THEME should be done while consulting its users, and the architect should be the conductor and moderator of the received ideas. The architect’s job is to harmonize the desires and needs of use with the constraints resulting from the first stage of analysis. Thus, the diagnosis shows where the problems that need to be remedied lie, what are the valuable elements that need to be preserved, what are the constraints related to materials and technique. In the case of the Neamțu Manor, for example, the Roman mosaic on the first floor is an extremely valuable element that must be preserved, so that any intervention on the floor of the rooms with mosaic on them must be avoided.

In order to reach a Design Theme dedicated to the Neamţu Manor from Olari, we consulted children who regularly participate in non-formal heritage education workshops. We considered them to be the main future users of the site and, consequently, their opinion very important. We have prepared a series of kit materials through which we conducted this investigation.

What the children want:

  • a place of memory,
  • a recreation area with a garden park that includes several activities including summer camps,
  • they want the architecture of the mansion to remain unchanged,
  • want to see the introduction of new technologies such as solar panels,
  • central heating (they know all too well how difficult it is to heat the rooms with a stove).

After the consultative phase, the role of the architect intervenes, who selects from these points of view what is possible and what is more difficult or not at all appropriate. In the case of the Neamțu mansion, solar panels are not an option because they alter the architecture – which all the “beneficiaries” (the children from the local community participating in the non-formal heritage education workshops) want to preserve.

Architect-client cooperation is essential for the end result to meet the needs of users. Even if some requirements seem fanciful and childish, the architect is the one who will know (should know) to translate them into concrete and realistic elements.

Understanding How to Rehabilitate a Historical Building – Episode 1

Understanding How to Rehabilitate a Historical Building – Episode 1

Building Diagnosis

Pro Patrimonio won a financing through the Historical Monuments Stamp Tax of the INP for the realization of the technical documentation for the authorization and execution of the conservation works for the Neamțu Manor in Olari. We use this opportunity to tell what such a journey, which seems very complicated, bureaucratic and accessible only to specialists, means We hope you’ll find it useful and become more confident in the support provided by professionals for this absolutely necessary step to intervene in an existing building, not just in the case of a historical monument.

The project consists of several stages. The first is the diagnosis – what are the problems of the house. Just like at the doctor’s office, we first evaluate the health condition and the causes of the visible degradations, but we also perform material analyses in order to be able to evaluate the house’s behaviour in more detail.

What the diagnosis stage consists of:


THE SURVEY is the complete drawing of the building (plans, sections, facades), made by the architect. You can measure in the classic way – with roulette and draw each piece separately, or you can opt for modern technology – 3D scanning. The survey is combined with photographs and direct observations to note the degradations that are observed: cracks, missing elements (windows, plasters, finishes, chimneys) or deformations and displacements of constituent elements. Direct observation can also bring information about the different stages of construction (if joints or differences in materials are observed).

The evolution of the building over time – changes, use, references and old images – is particularly important to understand the current state of the building.

THE HISTORICAL STUDY also analyses the cultural value of the various constituent elements, establishing, in the case of historical monuments, how to intervene (e.g. strict conservation, repairs with compatible materials, etc.). In the case of the Neamțu Manor, the Roman mosaic on the first floor is one of the most valuable elements that must be strictly preserved.

Other analyses necessary to establish the diagnosis are ANALYSIS OF MATERIALS (brick, mortar, plaster, wood) in order to determine their composition and their degree of resistance. If there are several types of materials, most of them should be tested. If there are areas with high humidity, humidity measurements in the depth of the walls or construction elements are also recommended. In the case of organic materials (wood), the biochemical analysis of the elements is also recommended, in order to establish if there are biological attacks and, if so, what kind.

The GEOTECHNICAL STUDY refers to the analysis of the soil and building foundations. It is done by surveying the foundations and analysing the soil layers to determine their resistance and the presence of moisture in the soil.

TOPOGRAPHIC SURVEY is necessary to analyse the position of the house on the ground and how rainwater drains at ground level. Often around the old houses the land has risen in time and the waters flow wrong, towards the house, being one of the main factors of degradation.

All information collected is analysed in terms of structural stability (geometric composition – survey, strength of materials and soil, etc.) and establishes a complete diagnosis of the building as well as recommendations and priorities for intervention.

Heritage Workshop for kids, Neamţu Manor, May 2018

Heritage Workshop for kids, Neamţu Manor, May 2018

Another tour of workshops for children held at the manors looked after by Pro Patrimonio – Perticari- Davila Manor in Izvoru village, Neamțu Manor in Olari village and Golescu villa in Câmpulung – has come to an end. This second tour was coordinated by our generous Andreea Machidon supported by dedicated and special volunteers. For the very first time, we would like to thank one of the mothers, Daniela Marchidan, who has worked with patience and care with the children as well as with her 10-year old son. They have helped not only in the organization, but also in the process of creating objects. We also give our warm thanks to the extremely creative and fun Isabella Madauna, architecture student.

The theme of this tour around the manors was getting close to and understanding nature and natural elements by means of observation and reinterpreted drawing. The teams of children from the three manors managed to paint botanical elements on lunch-box type pouches suitable for gatehring plants, leaves or nuts and which will soon be on sale. They also designed their own pencil-case type minipouches for school which they personalized using the stamp technique after having made their ow FIMO stamps.

They managed to create an adorable series of colourful agendas using a simple method of book binding. These are to be their private agendas with modules they can change by themselves once they run out of clean pages. A very useful instrument for their future creative development is the notion of font that they found out about and which they exercised on their new agendas. The work was done outside in Neamțu Manor and Golescu Villa, the children fully enjoying nature, while at Izvoru the workshop took place inside the canteen rebuilt during the former workshops.

Tour of the Manors is the second from the series this year and is part of a more ample Pro Patrimonio Foundation project, Education for Heritage undergo this year under the umbrella of the European Year of Cultural Heritage #EuropeForCulture, #EYCH2018

Mosaic Flooring Restoration Workshop at Neamțu Manor in Olt, 2017

Mosaic Flooring Restoration Workshop at Neamțu Manor in Olt, 2017

The first practical workshop of the series dedicated to the rejuvenation of the Neamţu Manor in Olari village (held between 4 and 9 July 2017) focused on the restoration of the Roman mosaic flooring and contributed to the preservation of the degraded mansion. At the manor’s upper-level, the loggia, the lobby and the bathroom have Roman mosaic flooring made of colored marble pieces with elegant drawings.

For a week, five English and two French volunteers coordinated by arch. Raluca Munteanu (Pro Patrimonio) and restoration specialist Liviu Epuraş (National University of Arts Bucharest), carried out repairs and conservation works: floor void filling, restoring ceramic bathroom walls, reproduction of mosaic patterns (dolphins and lions) on mobile panels.

Meanwhile, they also explored the cultural landscape of the area: the Brâncoveni Monastery and the Avincis vineyard of Drăgășani.

Alex Iacob came from Craiova and documented throughout the volunteers’ work:

We thank LEROY MERLIN România for their support with the materials and tools that are essential to such an action!


SoNoRo Charity Concert for Neamțu Manor

SoNoRo Charity Concert for Neamțu Manor

In September 2017, SoNoRo Conac (Manor) once again set music to the rescue of Romanian architectural heritage through a fundraising campaign for the rehabilitation of the roof of Neamţu Mansion in Olari, Olt County. The campaign consisted in organizing a charity concert at the mansion on September 21, and a donation system communicated in September.

The musical program included works by Jean Sibelius, Friedrich Händel – Johan Halvorsen, Eugène Ysaÿe and Franz Schubert and performed by artists Cristina Goice – Violin, Sabin Penea – Violin, Răzvan Popovici – Violoncello, Radu Nagy – Cello.

Details at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AV7VfqYXRmk

The mansion is managed by Pro Patrimonio Foundation which carries out conservation and gradual rehabilitation works, and at the same time tries to restore the link between the manor and the community through educational and cultural actions for young people and children.

Tablou activitati SoNoRo Charity Concert for Neamțu Manor

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