Here I am again, this time telling you a much personal story. Who would have thought that an article that I wrote here would become a force which fights for Hercules’s Baths heritage? Amazing, right?!
Even though I thought my voice was too small to be heard, I told you a story about Hercules’s Baths and one piece of it’s amazing heritage. I thought that was my way of fighting for my country’s heritage and of showing respect for what was once a fascinating place. And I was heard and I was amazed by the many messages and encouragements that I received, so … What happened actually? A few days after I posted that piece of writing, I wasn’t alone anymore. “I” became “we”, Oana, Patricia, Adrian, Daniel, Cristina, Razvan, Paul and Alexandru.
Me and my close friends, also architecture students, formed a team and started making real steps towards saving Herculane’s heritage… 8 young people, full of energy, enthusiasm and an unstoppable desire to help make a real change there. But HerculaneProject isn’t about 8 people anymore, it’s about community, culture, heritage and it’s about all of those who help us, work with us and most importantly continue to encourage us.
Ok, ok… By now you’re probably wondering what have we done as a team in four months? Well, we acted! We did a documentation to do an emergency intervention to preserve the Neptun Baths building, the one with the stunning interiors. We received a license just a few days ago and now are working on a technical project, which will be the basis of the intervention, which we hope will be done before winter comes. We collaborated with the local authorities, the community, lots of teachers from our school, which guided us through this complex process.
At the same time, we started working on a relationship with the community, an aspect which was very important for us from the beginning. We decided to do an event for them, which was done with the help of an association from Herculane and through which we hoped to gain the community’s support. “Neptun Baths towards where?” was a turning point for our project, because we managed to bring together not only the community, but also specialists, architects, artists, activists and people who believe in change and are ready to fight along us for it. The event incorporated a round table with the local authorities and specialists, discussions with the community, workshops for kids, architecture tours, a light installation, movie projections and an surprise: a sculpture done by two amazing artists: Orlando Heghedus and Lorin Blaj.
We went from door to door, from household to household, from one man to many. And we were heard and this event reminded people of their power. For us, it was a very hard work to do, but also a very emotional one because we saw how many people identified with our little story. Many of them cried when we light up the building for the first time in fifteen years, they shared personal stories with us and they became basically our second family. And after spending so much time there, making memories and sharing a common belief with it’s residents, Herculane became our second home, the special place which united us.
Now, we are working on a project for Neptun Baths, studying the building and our final goal is to reactivate the whole historical center and give it back where it belongs, to the people. It’s not easy, but looking back and seeing how much we’ve accomplished in just four months give us strength to continue.
And this is our story.
For me and my team all of this still seems unreal. Heritage screamed for help and we heard it. I hope that after reading this, if you ever thought of helping… not necessary us, but maybe something that’s close to you, a friend, an initiative, a project, a building, a community… you start doing it! You start to raise your voice and fight for something that’s dear to you through any tool you can use.
And hey, I have a small piece of advice: Don’t question your intention too much, don’t wonder, transform your questions in actions.
Special thanks to our collaborators: Asociatia Tinerilor din Herculane, Primaria Baile Herculane, Platforma Romania100, Make Better, Idei la Gram, The Light Design ( which made the light installation possible), Five’s International, SGM, AtelierPrint, Orlando Heghedus, Lorin Blaj.
PhotoCredits: Danu Alex, Oana Chirila, Flavius Neamciuc.
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