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Sustainable Management of Historic Rural Churches at the Baltic Sea Region (SMC)
Start date: Dec 31, 2011, End date: Dec 30, 2013 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Historic rural churches are common landmarks to all states around the Baltic Sea. Once busy centres of the communities historic churches have lost their focal position, especially in rural areas. Their use is decreased and some buildings are even neglected. Yet, most of these historic buildings are listed and considered to be valuable cultural assets with strong indirect economic potential as tourist attractions. Small congregations are having problems with managing those magnificent buildings, which have become too big for them. Present situation causes several problems with the physical preservation and microclimate of historic rural churches, which affect the valuable artefacts housed in them as well as safe and healthy use of these churches. The project addresses the issues of sustainable management of historic rural churches. It responds to the pressing need to find solutions for site management as well as cost-effective and sustainable maintenance and conservation of them. These two subjects must be handled together to obtain the maximum effect of sustainable management of these historic buildings. As the scope of building conservation and maintenance is wide, the project concentrates on the impact of indoor climate and hygrothermal performance of the walls to the state of conservation of the facades and interior of the churches. To achieve the goals set upon the project cross-border co-operation, in the form of joint research and exchange of knowledge, will be the best solution for an action as the described problems are the same in all areas of the project and even beyond it. The aim of the project is to raise an awareness of congregations and local communities on the subject of sustainable management of historic rural churches. Its main outcomes are the tools, which can be used by the owners of the buildings as well as building conservation specialists. The owners are encouraged to draft site management plans to their buildings and consider cost -effective and sustainable ways to maintain or conserve those churches. The specialists of building conservation as well as scientific research personnel can use results of the studies to improve state of conservation of historic rural churches as well as to continue the studies on this field. To support the studies innovative and comprehensive documentation solutions will be tested in the form of scanning and photographic three-dimensional (3D) documentation of church buildings (building itself, items and research results). Achievements: One main aim of the project was to raise the awareness of congregations and local communities about the need to improve the management of historical rural churches. This objective was reached by developing guidelines for drafting of long-term management plans. An extensive focus on research and documentation of historical churches (EE, SE) increased the knowledge about concrete conservation and management methods and supported the outreach activities of the project. The project arranged seminars and training for specialists, students and members of local communities. Research and analyses of best practices regarding the long-term management of historical buildings was carried out. Indoor climate conditions were analysed in ten churches in order to get an overview of the present situation and find solutions to conservation problems. Additionally, researchers carried out work both in situ and in the lab on different conservation methods. The project also tested different methods of 3D modelling for documentation purposes.
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  • 2007 - 2013 Central Baltic (FI-SE-EE-LA)
  • Project on KEEP Platform
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