This post is part of a blog series revealing the table of contents of upcoming Issue Fifteen. As is our custom, we’ll be discussing one article per weekday in order to give you a taste of what is to come.
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Dragoș Nuță – “Ambulance for Monuments”
Since emerging from a dark period of 50 years under communist dictatorship, many of Romania’s historic structures are in trouble. First rejected as not utilitarian or modern enough by the totalitarian government, they now meet apathy and disinterest in a nation that seeks to move on from the memories of those years. But Romania’s old monuments tell a valuable story of the beauty of that nation and its people. They deserve to be resuscitated.
In Issue Fifteen, author and preservationist Dragoș Nuță shares the history and mission of the “Ambulance for Monuments,” a volunteer-run organization of architects, students, historians, and carpenters who travel throughout the country to rescue endangered buildings. They coordinate with local towns and people to determine the most critical projects, and after careful planning, historical research, and sourcing of materials, the work begins. But the Ambulance for Monuments isn’t just a construction effort – it’s an educational effort. If local residents do not understand the importance of a structure, and the story it tells, it will likely languish again into disrepair. But if the town gets behind the work, the building receives a new lease on life.
Describing the ongoing rescue of an old ironworks complex in the town of Bocșa, Nuță details the difficulties and triumphs that each effort undergoes. From utilizing volunteer labor to overcoming deep-seated suspicions on the part of an older generation of Romanians who have had mistrust instilled by years of suffocating communist rule, the social aspect of the work is at least as critical as the actual cutting of joinery in massive timbers. But the task of saving these precious monuments to Romanian heritage is worth the effort.