The Restoration center of Kuldiga is a contact point for residents of Kuldiga old town, owners of the houses, local entrepreneurs, builders, architects, and craftspersons about the questions which are related to maintenance, conservation, and renovation of historical buildings. The center is explaining the importance of the use of traditional building methods for the sustainability of the houses and promoting the use of traditional building materials within the organization of adult educational activities. Specialists of the center are implementing practical conservation works of wooden joinery building details with a particularly unique value which are serving as excellent examples at the old town environment, attract funding for the particular conservation works, and are consulting and giving recommendations for the craftsman during the process of conservation works. Acting locally and internationally center is an active promoter of the identity of the place for the people feeling belonging to the Kuldiga old town.
Aims of the Restoration center of Kuldiga:
To give a contribution to the preservation of the authenticity of the tangible cultural heritage of Kuldiga old town for next generations;
To ensure sustainability and continuity of traditional crafts and methods that are essential for preservation for historical buildings.
Tasks of the Restoration center of Kuldiga:
- To consult residents and owners of old town about questions related to preservation and restoration of the historical houses;
- To promote awareness of historical values for local residents;
- To promote values of Kuldiga to local people and foreigners;
- To implement practical conservation works of wooden joinery building details with unique value;
- To implement inspection of the technical condition of historical buildings;
- To identify urgent works that are essential to avoid irreparable damage of unique building details;
- To attract funding from local and international funds with a purpose to implement research and practical restoration works;
- To ensure cooperation between experts from Latvia and abroad;
To develop a collection of the materials for “spare details bank”.
Restoration of wooden joinery building details with unique value;
Consultation of the owners and residents of the old town in questions related to maintenance and preservation of buildings;
Inspection/survey and research of historical buildings;
Possibility to use workshop, tools, and equipment of the center for practical conservation works;
Help with the development of the application for financial support, if applicable.
Initially, the Restoration Centre of Kuldiga was established in 2010, with financial support from EEZ and Norway program. It consisted of wooden craft and restoration workshop and office. Soon the premises of the center became too small and in 2018, the center moved to new premises on Baznicas 30.
In 2018 restoration center was moved to the house on Baznicas 30 where residents have the possibility to get advice in the maintenance and restoration of historical houses, they can work practically and use equipment of the workshop.
The part of the premises of the center is created as a wooden craft workshop with relevant tools and technical equipment. At present, there is a well-arranged and equipped large workshop with 2 premises – one for mechanical works and one for painting. A well-equipped educational class gives the possibility to organize seminars and lectures for up to 25 persons. Info stands are arranged with the purpose to emphasize the importance of the use of the appropriate materials like traditional building materials for the restoration of old houses, there are exhibited samples of the tin works and furniture for joinery.
In 2020 there are 4 specialists working in the center – project manager, conservation consultant, wooden details conservation specialist, and tinsmith. The center has established good cooperation with joiners, carpenters, tinsmiths, and roofers working in the region.
Since 2008, Kuldiga Restoration Centre has implemented a program of awareness-raising with regard to the preservation of Kuldiga’s old town. Three main activities have resulted: cultural heritage labs, action for the regular maintenance of windows, and action Art Spawn.
Practical workshops are organized at the open-air tent, where local citizens can participate and ask questions. During these practical workshops there are good restoration samples created where traditional and disappearing crafts are used.
Since 2009, the center is organizing an international restoration camp or workshop. The program of the workshop consists of a theoretical part and practical activities. The result of the workshop is a particular wooden building restoration sample in the old town environment. The theme and content of the workshop for each year is different and selected with the purpose to give new skills and knowledge – roof details, windows, doors, facade.
The center also organizes cultural heritage labs with inspection of the buildings in the real environment. Themes of the labs are painting of facades; preservation of the wooden architectonic details; preservation of the red tile roofs; regular maintenance of the windows; saving energy in historical buildings; the importance of the use of traditional tools; the values of the historical layers from different time periods; typical problems for the maintenance of the red tile roofs.
Activities with the involvement of the local residents
Particular activity – Regular maintenance of the windows. Considering the limited financial possibilities of citizens and restrictions that it is not allowed to replace existing windows with PVC windows, the municipality covers the costs of materials for windows preservation and consultations of the specialists. Citizens have to invest their time and practical job.
Aim of the action for citizens of Kuldiga old town “Regular maintenance of the windows” is to ensure active participation of residents in the preservation of the old town offering to implement practical works. The main benefit is that citizens understand that practical works for the preservation of old buildings are quite simple, it is possible to handle the works themselves, and the process of preservation is really enjoyable. This activity in general gives a contribution to the development of the sense of belonging to Kuldiga old town. The activity has started in 2010. Each year close to 18-35 families are participating, each of them conserving 1-3 windows per year. Some of the families have participated for several years.
Implemented conservation works since 2008
The particularity of the historical wooden building details is represented by the number of diverse door sets. Doors are rich in ornaments, with carved pivots and handles, above the doors – glass windows for lanterns.
Starting from 2008, craftsman of Kuldiga have implemented PRESERVATION PROGRAM OF THE DOORS – conservation of the door sets on Alunāna 4; 1905. gada 12 and 14; Jelgavas 16, 27, 32, 33; Baznīcas 7, 14, 19, 23, 30, 36, Liepājas 12, 16, 25; Raiņa 7, Skrundas 10, 12, 14; Rumbas 13; Kalna 2, 13, 15; Ventspils 4, 27; Strautu 3, Upes 1. Totally up to 30 door sets until 2022.
Conservation of the parts of the central facades on Kalna 13 and 15, 1905. gada 12, Raiņa 4 and 6, 1905.gada 1, Baznīcas ielā 7, 17; Skrundas 10.
Conservation of the porches on Pētera iela 3; Raiņa 4, Mucenieku 8, Liepājas 38.
Conservation of the window shutters on 1905. gada 14, Baznīcas 10, 17, 19, 30; Kalna 13 and 15, Skrundas 10, Alunāna 4, Upes 1, Jelgavas 2, Mālu 21
Conservation of the windows of the gable on Skrundas 12, Raiņa 6, Tirgus 1, Baznīcas 14, Kalķu 3, Ventspils 9, Raiņa 7.
Conservation of the roof parts on Raiņa 5, Pils 6.
Conservation of the particular wooden joinery details, therefore windows of the gable on Paegles 9, Ventspils 14 and 23, Smilšu and Kaļķa street.
Head of the center