Pro Patrimonio’s History and Mission

„Primele discuții cu privire la înființarea unei fundații pentru salvarea patrimoniului natural și arhitectural în România au aut loc la Londra imediat după căderea lui Ceaușescu, cu Indrei și Nicolae Rațiu, fii lui Ion si Elisabeth Rațiu, care tocmai se pregăteau să se întoarcă în țară pentru a participa efectiv la viața politică și socială din România post-comunistă. Pro Patrimonio a fost ideea fraților Indrei și Nicolae. De la început am fost întrutotul de acord cu ideea, dezvoltînd Fundația Pro Patrimonio împreună. Eram de acord că societatea română după 45 de ani de comunism, trebuia să fie complet dezorientată. Comunismul este contra individului, contra spiritului de identitate pe care individul îl dezvoltă prin istoria sa și cultura neamului său. Prin urmare ni s-a părut foarte important să înființăm o asemenea fundație în România – privată, independentă și democratică – dar numai la momentul bun… care nu a venit decât după președinția lui Constantinescu, în anul 2000.”

(arch. Şerban Cantacuzino, founder of Pro Patrimonio, extract from the text written in honour of the Foundation’s 15th anniversary)

Pro Patrimonio Foundation is an international non-profit non-governmental organization with branches in Romania (Bucharest), Great Britain and France. The foundation dates from the year 2000 and has a series of on-going projects whose main mission is the conservation, rescue and reactivation of cultural heritage, especially in architecture. The actions focus on palpable projects meant to protect and rehabilitate heritage and on involving and raising awareness in communities regarding their own identity, memory and inherited cultural values.

Pro Patrimonio Foundation supports the idea that each citizen is responsible for heritage and that the latter represents an element that shapes social identity. In the view of the Foundation, tradition is not a set of inflexible values, it teaches us to learn about the identity and culture that has shaped us, still models us today and encourages critical thinking adapted in a balanced and practical way to contemporary life.

The Foundation has several programs of national and international importance: 60 de biserici de lemnsupported by Europa Nostra and World Monuments Fund; George Enescu House in Moldova; the foundation tries, among other things, to create a network of centers for crafts in the proximity of the monuments (the Traditional Crafts Center in Ţibăneşti, Iaşi County, developed in relation to P.P. Carp mansion), etc.

The tangible heritage in Romania is in a distressing state and its protection and preservation are imperative. At present, with the overwhelming help of more than 100 volunteers, especially young people, Pro Patrimonio runs a series of projects around several historic architectural monuments designed to save heritage, educate and raise awareness among citizens with respect to the importance of cultural heritage.

Pro Patrimonio Founder and former President

Șerban Cantacuzino (1928-2018), founder of Pro Patrimonio, architect, historian and critic of architecture, son of George Matei Cantacuzino (1899-1960, a great personality who left a strong mark on Romanian architectural modernism), member of the Royal Institute of British Architects, Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE, UK) (1988), executive editor of the reputed magazine Architectural Review specialist in heritage conservation, editor and author of valuable specialized books, awarded for his dedicated services at the European Prize for Cultural Heritage (2008). Learn more about his career and life here:

Members of Pro Patrimonio Directive Board, Romania

Șerban Sturdza vice-president of Pro Patrimonio Romania since 2010, well-known architect and restoration specialist, President of the Order of Romanian Architects (2002-2008), correspondent member of the Romanian Academy – Department for Art, Architecture and the Audiovisual (2010), promoter of learning through experimental workshops, interested in crafts, cultural routes, urban regeneration and public space rehabilitation. Over time, he has gathered around him interdisciplinary communities in the spirit of cultural landscape. An interview with Șerban Sturdza about the importance of heritage can be found here:

Nicolae Raţiu (born 1948), founder of Pro Patrimonio and Chairman of the directive board of Pro Patrimonio Romania, upper studies in Naval Transport and Economy, businessman, philanthropist and lover of Romania, son of former Peasant’s Party leader Ion Raţiu. President of the Ratiu Family Charitable Foundation, of the Ratiu Center for Democracy in Turda, of the Romanian Cultural Center in London, Member of the Order of the British Empire (2015).

Caroline d’Assay (born 1951), president of Pro Patrimonio France, member of Pro Patrimonio Romania directive board, painting restoration specialist, tireless ambassador of Romanian built heritage and craftwork.

Costin Borc (born 1965), member of Pro Patrimonio’s directive board, graduate of the Polytechnic University of Bucharest with a diploma in Energy Engineering (1989), MA and PhD at the University of Wiscounsin Madison (1997 and 2001). Since 2000, he has been working in the private business environment. He has occupied public positions, including Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy in the Romanian Government (2016).

Marina Sturdza (1944-2017), (1944-2017), membru al Consiliului Director Pro Patrimonio, distinsă cu Premiul Save The Children (România, 2010) pentru munca sa în domeniul protecției copilului, președinta Marina Sturdza Enterprises (MSE) și Summits International, câștigătoarea premiului UE European Women of Achievement Humanitarian Award (2005); printre altele, patronează organizația internațională de caritate Hope and Homes for Children.

Alexandru Tomescu Member of Pro Patrimonio’s directive board, outstanding Romanian violinist, winner of several national and international awards in festivals of classical music; involved in saving architectural heritage through concerts and music workshops.

Nicolas Triboi (born 1979), Member of the Pro Patrimonio directive board, urban landscape planner, was formed at the French School of Blois (École nationale supérieur de la nature et du paysage de Blois). Since 2001, he has been working in Romania in the field of landscaping on various projects, from cross-country landscape atlas and heritage / tourism studies to agricultural, historic or urban parks. He is well-acquaintance with the Romanian issues related to landscape.

Member of Pro Patrimonio Consulting Board

Alina Cristea

Graduate of the Technical University of Civil Engineering in Bucharest with an MBA in Small and Medium Enterprise Management and specialized in sustainable development management.

Pro Patrimonio Honorary Board Members

Each year, our Foundation chooses its honorary members from the people who act and have noteworthy results in the field of heritage protection, rescue and promoting.

Indrei Raţiu

Co-founder and Distinguished Honorary Member of Pro Patrimonio Foundation. With a diploma from Cambridge, having worked as journalist and presently management consultant, Indrei Rațiu, son of former Peasants’ Party leader Ion Rațiu, has constantly taken part in the elaboration of Pro Patrimonio’s strategy. He is member of The Rațiu Family Foundation and of the Rațiu Center for Democracy in Turda.

Raluca Știrbăț

Founder and president of George Enescu International Society in Viena, pianist Raluca Știrbăț is a tireless supporter successful in the classification, rescue and reactivation of George Enescu House in Mihăileni, Botoșani county.

Niculina Buturugă and Alexandru Buturugă

The Buturugă family have been actively involved in the classification procedure of the house on Schitu Măgureanu Street no. 9, Bucharest, built by architect Horia Creangă, as well as in actions that supported its consolidation and rehabilitation in a sustainable way and with respect for the values of heritage.

Radu Miclescu

Architect Radu Miclescu supported the restoration initiative of the wooden church in Cervicești and of traditional crafts.

Alexandru Tomescu

The violinist Alexandru Tomescu played a special part in the promotion and raising of funds for the restoration of the wooden church in Urşi, Vâlcea County, and of George Enescu House in Mihăileni, Botoşani County. For his merit and involvement, he was invited to become a member of the Pro Patrimonio Foundation’s Directive Board. G

Mariana Celac

Architect Mariana Celac (1936-2018) has been awarded this distinction for her dedication, determination and constant consulting services offered to Pro Patrimonio Foundation in the implementation of its projects. With remarkable editorial and professional practice, Mariana Celac has encouraged the exploration of innovative directions by involving rural and urban communities in the perceived architecture through living habits. 60 de biserici de lemn and the rescue and resettlement of the church in Pojogeni.