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Wooden Architecture as a Phenomenon of National Culture

The Second International Workshop Conference Wooden Architecture as a Phenomenon of National Culture was held in Petrozavodsk. More than one hundred scientists including representatives of the Ministry of Culture and Public Relations of the Republic of Karelia, Russian Academy of Architecture and Construction Sciences, Research and Development Institute for Theoretical Problems of Folk Wooden Architecture, Petrozavodsk State University, historians of architecture, architects and restorers, engineers, directors and employees of museums, representatives of state authorities for protection of objects of cultural heritage from Moscow, St.-Petersburg, Veliky Novgorod, Pskov, Vologda, Tomsk, Murmansk, Arkhangelsk, Kirillov, as well as the leading experts, researchers and restorers from Finland, Sweden, Norway, Poland, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Japan, Canada, Great Britain have taken part in the conference.

Wooden architecture has always been and remains significant in national cultures, its preservation demands consolidated efforts of the international professional community and authorities of states participating in the convention for World Cultural Heritage Protection. It is no coincidence that the IInd International Workshop Conference as well as the previous one was held in Karelia rightfully considered a true reserve of traditional wooden architecture. It was similar to the forerun conference Forgotten Heritage. Ways to Rescue Wooden Architecture of Russia held in Petrozavodsk in 2006 within the scope of the All-Russian activities devoted to celebrating the centenary of academician Dmitry Likhachev. By this conference there has been published a collection of articles of great scientific interest.

The forum started with the report on the subject of The Wooden Heritage of the Republic of Karelia presented by Evgeny Shishkov, Deputy Minister of Culture and Public Relations of the Republic of Karelia. During the three-day onference the most interesting papres of experts from different regions of Russia and from abroad were presented: matters concerned essential problems, scientists shared experience for their solution and results of researches. Participants from Sweden have prepared a report with a musical program Cultural Identity of Tornio Valley: Architecture, Landscape, Music.

Participants from Japan have presented a report on research of objects of the world heritage within the scope of the issue of preservation, reconstruction and development of traditional rural wooden architecture. Romana Tsilatkovskaya, Professor of Gdansk Technical University (Poland), has told about the role of organizational actions in preservation and restoration of wooden architecture, she has been many times to Karelia and is well acquainted to its rich heritage. Papers of Norwegian experts were devoted to wooden mansions and fire-caused damages of medieval buildings. Turkey presented the issue of Healthy Architecture and Bioharmony.

International participants told of activities held in their countries: representatives of Italy and Finland closely cooperate with our scientists in the sphere of studying and preservation of monuments of wooden architecture. Experts from Italy have told of their researches held in the village of Bolshaya Selga, Finnish architects told about their trips to Karelia and interdependence in national architecture. Our republic also became a subject of report of the conference participants from Spain Karelia: Poetry of Place and Material. Matters also concerned climate, biological control, diseases of forest species, experience of timber reinforcement in monuments of architecture, etc. Representatives of different countries spoke about wooden architecture as a part of national identity, and, of course, mentioned imperfection of the legislation and the state's paramount task of wooden architecture preservation.

Currently there goes careful analysis of offers, and they were not several, and then the resolution of the conference will appear. A press conference which the initiative group intends to hold in Moscow in autumn will follow the forum.

The conference was organized by the Ministry of Culture and Public Relations of the Republic of Karelia, Petrozavodsk State University at the financial support of Nordic Culture Fund.

Within the framework of the forum at the National Theatre of the Republic of Karelia there opened two expositions on the given subject. Mr.Jerzy Bar, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Poland to the Russian Federation opened Romana Tsilatkovskaya's exhibition Wooden Architecture of Poland. The Ambassador has specially came to participate in the conference as the subject of wooden architecture preservation is very familiar to him. Thanks to the exhibition participants of the conference could gain more close acquaintance to wooden architecture of Poland, having pointed out high level of works presented and decoaration of the exposition.

The second exhibition presented works of English photographer Richard Davis. The exposition has an unusual history: having got acquainted with paintings of Russian artist Ivan Bilibin, Richard Davis has decided to take pictures of those wooden buildings that were depicted by the Russian artist hundred years ago. The professional photographer travelled much to implement his unusual idea and, of course, could not resist taking pictures of other monuments of wooden architecture in the North of Russia.

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Created: July 8, 2010. Last updated: July 8, 2010.
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