PROJECT COLLABORATION BETWEEN RestART Beirut AND THE ASSOCIATION FOR COMMUNITY AND ENVIRONMENT
The restoration of the windows and shutters,
and the creation of a new restoration workshop space.
The Sursock Palace without windows and shutters
The frames and shutters have been temporarily stored awaiting the restoration works.
The future workshop space will be located next to the Sursock Palace
What is the campaign about?
The explosion on 4 August 2020 severely damaged a huge number of buildings, including many traditional houses. Classical pieces, like wooden shutters and doors, window frames and wrought-iron components which have been handcrafted for almost a hundred years and are part of the Lebanese cultural and architectural heritage, have been wrecked.
Our campaign aims to raise funds to support a local NGO named Association for Community and Environment (ACE), whose goal it is to perpetuate the tradition of the specific craftsmanship needed for the restoration of such traditional pieces by setting up knowledge transfer programs in which experienced artisans train apprentices.
To reinforce the sustainability of the project, ACE will set up a workshop space in a building adjacent to the Sursock Palace, building that is put at ACE's disposal by the Sursock family for the next 2 years.
The repartition of the collected funds will be:
- 25% for the setting up of the infrastructure and atelier
- 75% for the restoration and team support
These funds will finance, through ACE, the restoration of the shutters, window frames and wrought-iron pieces of the Sursock Palace.
As a sustainable project, in this atelier, traditional pieces from other damaged traditional houses will also be restored.
Who are the partners?
The Association for Community and Environment (ACE) mission is to:
Identify communities and areas where we can make a difference in cleanliness and the valorization of the natural and cultural heritage.
Understand root causes to problems and work on addressing them through awareness raising, capacity building and hands-on project implementation.
Create initiatives, making sure that available/local human, natural and physical resources can be optimally utilized to ensure sustainable development.
Collaborate with community groups, civil organizations, and local and central authorities throughout.
ACE has been working already for several years with experienced craftsmen who give back life to damaged pieces though respecting the traditional character of these handcrafted works. In recent months, 10 heritage houses have been restored. Various works have been carried out, including carpentry, blacksmithing and painting, with appropriate treatment of the old wood.
How will the donations be used?
The campaign aims to collect 36400$.
Carpentry works are estimated at 7970$.
Painting works are estimated at 5095$.
Blacksmith works are estimated at 1610$.
Workshop space - Repair and setup costs are estimated at 5961$(one-time expense).
Equipment costs are estimated at 5080$. (one-time expenses)
Sand blasting works are estimated at 1428$.
Apprenticeship program at 3000$
Accommodation at 3000$
When will the project start and for how long?
The project will start as soon as 55% (20,020$) of the overall aimed amount have been collected. The fundraising activities for this restoration will of course go on in order to attain the set goal, but as winter and the rainy season arrive, the project needs to start as soon as possible to secure the workshop and the to-be-restored traditional pieces.
The first project of RestART Beirut’s partnership with the Association for Community and Environment (ACE) is planned to last 6 months.
Why is this project fitting into RestART Beirut’s objectives?
RestART Beirut intends to identify projects for the safeguard and preservation of Beirut's cultural heritage, to coordinate international fundraising actions, to supervise the successful completion of restoration and conservation projects of Beirut's heritage and collections and to foster the artistic ecosystem, bringing together traditional and modern approaches.
Support education with international and local academic exchanges in the field of conservation, art, and cultural heritage preservation. Fostering these international cooperations through lasting transnational partnerships that are needed to fulfill the projects between institutions, universities, private companies and individuals.
Support local artists in residencies, restoration workshops, organisation of concerts and exhibitions, etc. in connection with the promotion of education and culture in Lebanon and the dissemination of art expertise and conservation practices to other collections.
Create a long-term socio-economic impact with the establishment of new expertise and new employment necessary for the restoration and conservation of the collections. Further encourage the local economy with the revitalization of a network of Lebanese artisans and the creation of an economically viable employment scheme in this sector, between traditional Lebanese crafts and innovation in heritage restoration and conservation practices
The partnership with ACE covers two of the three above-mentioned major objectives and as such, are entirely in line with the goals of RestART Beirut.
How will the traditional wooden units be restored?
Depending on the condition of the elements assessed by the carpenters, three options will be considered:
A substantial part can be restored by using existing amassed wood fragments from the Palace’s, using traditional craft and tools.
A certain percentage can be restored using external (non-Palace related) similar types and aged wood.
Some units will need to be recreated through buying similar types and aged wood and reconstruct the units.
Experienced gained from the renovation of older homes in Beirut and the upcycling of several buildings that were destroyed by war activities are being made available for this project. Maasri, one of ACE’s founders, was himself involved in restoring various traditional houses involving upcycling of historical wood elements, including doors, windows, shutters, ceiling beams and buttresses. The challenge of working with old wood lies in it being very dry and hard in certain sections and degraded in other places. Additionally, it contains many hidden nails and metal pieces that damaged saw and router blades. Thus lie the importance of working with traditional tools and craftsmanship. Traditional artisans have the knowledge and experience to decide on the reuse of whole or parts or repair damage, mostly through carving damaged parts and implanting needed wood. Recycling and upcycling old wood is environmentally beneficial, but it also ensures the longevity of the form and allows for uniformity of characters and consistency in the painted end products.
The projects undertaken by RestART Beirut aim to contribute to the global renovation effort, following the 4th of August explosion, in the field of cultural heritage with an emphasis on art collections.
We promote Education: we aim to raise public awareness of the city’s unique heritage, to encourage the transmission of the know-how and promote Architectural and Artistic education.
We encourage the Local Economy: by supporting and encouraging the revival of ancient Lebanese crafts and the creation of an economically viable activity in this sector.
We foster International Cooperation via transnational partnerships and needed expertise in the field of art conservation to complete the projects (between institutions, universities, private companies or individuals from the diaspora and beyond).
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