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Centre of Rural Architecture is a department of Estonian Open Air Museum. At the beginning of 2007 an extensive national programme "Rural Architecture and Landscapes: Study and Maintenance" was launched. This programme endeavors to increase people’s consciousness, teach traditional building methods and find out how much of the old and valuable is actually preserved is Estonia.
We organize seminars and workshops for house owners and consult them individually. Our goal is to value vernacular buildings and landscapes that have not been noticed enough. One of the most important subject fields is research and mapping of Estonian barn-dwelling.
The aim is not to focus on the built environment only, but rather the traditional village landscape in its entirety, thereby following the processes which determine the changes occurring due to human activity or inactivity. We have researched villages in Kareda parish, on Vormsi Island, on Prangli Island, in Vihula parish and on the coast of Peipus.


Counselling network
We have initiated and established counselling network of specialists located all over Estonia.
People’s growing interest in the preservation of the historic appearance of the buildings they own requires a constantly operating and available counselling service. It is essential to popularize the manufacturing of traditional building materials and the use of historic working methods.
We are organizing trainings together with our network partners and making sure that the counselling service is always up to the house owners needs. Our goal is to communicate the knowledge, to teach traditional building methods and to make sure all of it is sustainable.


Central Baltic projects
2010-2013 we were the lead partners in the Central Baltic Interreg IV A project "Fungi and Beetles in Buildings on Islands of Baltic Sea" (acronym FaBBi), with Gotland University, Estonian Mycology Research Centre Foundation and Estonian University of Life Sciences. As a result Biodeterioration (fungal and beetle damage) in wooden buildings or wooden parts of buildings was examined and monitored; more than 300 buildings located in Estonia, Gotland, Åland and the Island of Kizhi were examined and inspection summaries published. Wood damaging beetles were monitored in the forests on the Islands of Ruhnu, Kihnu and Vormsi, finding relations between insects in buildings and in the forest, and between their count. The summaries were published in the magazine Keskkonnatehnika.
More information about the project fabbiproject.eu.

Since 2010 we participated in the Central Baltic Interreg IV A project "Healthy and Energy-efficient Living in Traditional Rural Houses" (acronym HELTH). The three year long HELTH project developed optimal solutions for how traditional rural houses could be renovated to achieve healthy and energy-efficient living conditions.
More information about the project helthproject.eu.


Europa Nostra
The winners of the European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards 2015 were celebrated on 11th of June during a high-profile event at Oslo City Hall. The European Heritage Awards Ceremony was co-hosted by Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, and Denis de Kergorlay, Executive President of Europa Nostra.
Our programme for owners of rural buildings won one of the seven Grand Prix prizes. Since the beginning of the programme, we have organized over 80 workshops and seminars for over 1700 participants.
The Jury were pleased to proclaim this initiative to help owners of traditional rural houses in Estonia with practical hands-on training as an example to the rest of Europe. It helps not only to preserve traditional building skills and use of traditional materials, but promotes the integration of modern technology to adapt houses for the 21st century. The fact that over the years so many homeowners have participated is proof of the programme’s practical success.
The 28 award winners, selected from 263 applications submitted by organisations and individuals from 29 countries, are honoured for outstanding achievements in four categories: 1) conservation, 2) research and digitization, 3) dedicated service to heritage, and 4) education, training and awareness-raising.
2015 EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards, considered Europe’s highest honour in the field.

Winners of 2015 EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards announced
Winners of the EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards 2015 honoured at high-profile ceremony at Oslo City Hall