Michal Hrčka: We are saving our cultural heritage and we intend to continue
The „Obnova“ company has received a “Good community partner” award in 2015. Their project spreads edification about the cultural heritage.
Obnova(Renewal) is a small established company providing a complex refurbishment and revitalization of historic buildings. Their motto is: “We do not forget about the monuments”. In this spirit the company tries to be suggestive of the fragile border between destroying the essence of the monument and its effective renewal. The company uses traditional technologies and local harmless materials, such as lime, stone, cork, straw, sheep wool, hemp, wood and others.
Since 2001 the company has been spreading edification about cultural heritage by means of an established portal Obnova.sk. The internet magazine had actually been the only source of online information within the scope of Slovakia and Czech Republic until the introduction of social networks. The existence of this portal has saved some dozens of monuments. Excluding the redaction team at least 1,000 unique visitors dives into the happenings on Obnova.sk every day.
Given that the number of applied researches in the field of renewal, conservation and maintenance of Slovak monuments is minimal, the company and its partners publish about this topic and organize various experiments and educational activities. In 2015 it also has received a Via Bona Slovakiaaward in the “Dobrý partner komunity” (Good community partner) category.
What this award means to the company and also what the new projects aimed at the monuments renewal are have we discussed with Michal Hrčko, the Obnova Ltd. company manager.
What does it mean for you to have received a Via Bona Slovakia award in the “Dobrý partner komunity” (Good community partner) category in 2015?
It was a really nice reward for our work and it has been met with very positive reviews. On the other hand it also means commitment for us to do things for saving our building heritage even better.
What is your progress within the last year?
We are working on new projects. We have also started a distribution of products ready to use for the monuments renewal, but also for a sustainable construction of buildings. For example flax colors with an exceptional richness and basically unlimited durability that diminishes the amount of packaging material that must be recycled. They are only composed of non-organic pigments and pure flax oil that is completely drinkable. The areas covered with such colors are absolutely harmless and they mature in beauty.
In which sustainable or responsible activities are you currently involved?
We are continuing with the construction of the “Centrum stavebného dedičtva” (Building Heritage Center) in Banská Štiavnica. We are planning to build a factory where we will not only renew our heritage, but also organize courses. It is also going to contain an incubator for workers, conference hall and a museum of historic building elements.
With the help of our generous sponsor and the Pontis Foundation two of our colleagues were able to take part in the Summer School Prince’s Foundation course in London and Scotland. Thanks to this experience we have acquired more knowledge about organizing similar courses that we provide at the Building Heritage Center “Centrálka”.
For example, such workers have taken these courses, who wanted to learn the basics of lime processing technologies. We have also had students from secondary schools and universities studying in neighboring fields of conservation and craft refurbishment of buildings taking part in our annual Summer School again. This year we have introduced clay to them as a traditional material. During the run of the course there was a demonstration of laying straw covering taking place at the very spot.
What is your biggest future priority and what projects are awaiting us?
Together with the National Trust Slovakia, Evangelic Church Bratislava and other partners we are preparing a project called Center of help for owners of historic buildings and areas (HERITAGE HUB), that should be located in the birth house of Florian Francis Romero (one of the founders of modern Hungarian archeology, author’s remark) at the Zámočnícka street in Bratislava.
The international conference „Komu patria pamiatky?“ (Who owns the monuments?) of November 9 2016 also met this purpose. Various effective models of monument maintenance cooperation from Slovakia and from other countries as well were presented here. We also introduced a worldwide model “Navždy pre každého” (Forever for everyone) with its roots in National Trust for England, Wales and Northern Ireland. This Trust came to existence in 1895 and serves as a source of inspiration for the birth of new non-governmental organizations engaging in protection and meaningful use of monuments to this day.
More information can be found at: www.obnova.eu