In today’s interconnected world, the local identity and cultural heritage is the key aspect of the community confidence and social development. People may benefi t on daily basis from historic monuments and preserved traditional practices. The UNESCO itself claims that heritage constitutes a source of identity and cohesion for communities disrupted by bewildering change and economic instability. Creativity contributes to building open, inclusive and pluralistic societies. Both heritage and creativity lay the foundations for vibrant, innovative and prosperous knowledge societies.

The world is convinced that no development can be sustainable without a strong culture component. Indeed only a human-centered approach to development based on mutual respect and open dialogue among cultures can lead to lasting, inclusive and equitable  results. Yet until recently, culture has been missing from the development equation, the UNESCO admits as well.

The losses caused to heritage at times of crisis, can deprive a community of its memory, the physical testimony to its past, but also of a precious resource for social and economic wellbeing. UNESCO seeks to integrate the power of heritage as a positive and unifying force that can help prevent confl icts and facilitate peace-building, recovery and reconciliation.

The history of modern Ethiopia shows that for a long period the Tigray region suffered from the political crises in the territory – the current tension between Ethiopia and Eritrea followed after 30-year long Eritrean struggle for its independence and Red Terror of Derg, the violent political campaign. The political instability led into environmental
and economic deprivation. The culture and heritage was evidently displaced from the attention of suffering people.

Today, Tigray is one of the most strategic regions in the development scheme of the country – many companies have been founded here, the infrastructure has been improved and the public interest turned into the region. This attention is oriented to all features, the history and heritage included. The potential is rich. It is about to be employed.

The concerned intervention into sites might develop the accessibility and availability of the culture and promote the cultural background of the society. The sites declared as cultural heritage cause extensive discussions regarding “conservation” and “patrimony”. There is perpetuating European pattern of conservation, but is it the way how to preserve local Ethiopian sites that are so numerous in northern Tigray? Is the emphasizing the preservation of buildings without considering the social context the right way?

In proposed workshop “Conservation, Creativity and Communication”, already fourth experience of cooperation between Mekelle University and Jakub Cigler Architekti, a.s., we want to discuss the implications of all formal and informal ideas and stakeholders in a cultural intervention.

academic frame

The workshop is demand-driven project based on identifi cation of needs of the faculty. It is a complement of the course Arch 6103 – Restoration & Preservation in the Program B.Sc. in Architecture Course Objectives & Competences to be Acquired: The course aims to introduce students to the fi eld of historic preservation, specifically focusing upon the areas of preservation and restoration of historic buildings. Through  classroom instruction and laboratory experience, students gain relevant knowledge and skill in the use of theory, practice and applied learning to solve preservation issues and problems.

Course Description: conservation, sustainability, treatment of historic structures, historic documentation and research, history of building materials, discussion and case study development to explore political, social/historical, and economic and design/restoration issues of preservation and adaptive use of buildings. The workshop is an intensive and playful approach to explore the issue of the cultural heritage and contemporary interventions, to explore how architectural tools can be used to shape public interest.


2013_06______initial contact about research cooperation
2013_09______arrival to Ethiopia, 3-month long research in situ
2013_10-11______workshop “Think globally, act locally!” in Mekelle University
2014_02______booklet “SCHOOLdesignINNOVATIONS” , (in chapter Fresh Ideas)
2014_05______workshop “Find It and Use It” about public space in condominiums
2014_11______product design workshop “Condominium Street Fu(rni)ture” at the occasion of the International Conference “The Affordable and the Profitable” in Mekelle
2015_01-03______candidature for the grant of the Czech embassy in Addis Abeba to organise workshop build the condo fu(rni)ture – refused
2015_10______workshop “Conservation, Creativity and Communication” – postponed