Call for Application – “Adaptive Reuse” workshop


The Adaptive Reuse Workshop aims to gather professionals, students and the community to analyse the challenges of adaptive reuse in the local context. In the Kulla of Isuf Mazrekaj, in Drenoc, for 12 days, during 25 September – 7 October 2017 this group will work on the functionalization of this structure as a guesthouse in the context of cultural tourism. The group will focus on: interventions for improving the environmental performance of the Kulla, including the adaptation of the interior and the yard of the Kulla, food preparation according to the slowfood concept and storytelling.

We invite professionals and students from the fields of architecture/civil engineering, multimedia, film/video directing, design, history, tourism, gastronomy, ecology, agronomy etc., to be part of this workshop, the first of this kind in Kosovo.


Workshop “Adaptive Reuse” – Concept & mentorship


Adaptive reuse of historical buildings is one of the main challenges in conservation of cultural heritage. Social, economic and technological differences have caused for many of these buildings to lose their initial intended function, even though they represent high values for the society and remain to this day important for the community. Often, after it’s restoration a building will remain empty and abandoned while being subject to degradation.

“The Adaptive Reuse” Workshop aims to gather professionals, students and the community to analyse the challenges of adaptive reuse in the local context. In the Kulla of Isuf Mazrekaj, in Drenoc, for 12 days, during 25 September – 7 October 2017 this group will work on the functionalization of this structure as a guesthouse in the context of cultural tourism. The group will focus on:

  1.  Interventions for improving the environmental performance of the Kulla,
  2.  The adaptation of the interior and the yard of the Kulla,
  3. Food preparation according to the slowfood concept and
  4.  Interpretation/ Storytelling.

We invite professionals and students from the fields of architecture/civil engineering, multimedia, film/video directing, design, history, tourism, gastronomy, ecology, agronomy etc., to be part of this workshop, the first of this kind in Kosovo.

1. "Improving the environmental performance of the Kulla" - Adea Mekuli

Adea Mekuli

I am Adea Mekuli, 28 years old. I have completed my Bachelor degree in Architecture and Spatial Planning in Prishtina and my Master’s degree in Architectural Engineering: Environmental Design at the University of Bath in the United Kingdom. So far, I have been more involved in the environmental performance of the public buildings of the socialist era in Kosovo. I am very enthusiastic for the opportunity to jointly with you study the environmental performance of Kula’s and to review the positive and negative attributes of these fortifications. Together, we will look at the best options to further strengthen the positive traits and minimise the negative ones through the interventions that improve the environmental performance of this structure and its auxiliary facilities and the yard.

The legacy of Kula’s as fortified residential buildings that no longer serve their initial purpose present a convenient case for adaptive reuse. As it has been proven in prior cases, these structures can be adapted for tourist accommodation due to their compatible intended functions.  Furthermore, they provide a unique travel experience, in accordance with the rapid development of cultural tourism, resulting from the increased interest in the arts, culture and history, which can be explained by demographic, economic, social and cultural changes.

Evaluation of the environmental performance and the interventions will be conducted in accordance with the guidelines of the European Union for improving the environmental performance of touristic buildings and promotion of sustainable tourist behavior. Interventions will aim to achieve a sustainable management of the Kulla, preservation of natural and cultural resources, limiting negative impacts at tourist destinations, including the use of natural resources and waste production, reduction of energy use and environmental education for the guests.

2. "Adaptation of the interior of the Kulla and its yard" - Faton Hasani

“Let’s make Kulla Cool”

Faton Hasani

I am Faton Hasani. I am a film director, and a large portion of my life I spent working as a Motion Graphic Designer and in video montaging. But as a result of my lifelong passion for handcrafts, I’ve been ‘experimenting’ on producing elements for interior design and also remodeling indoor spaces. During my work not only did I give life to old objects, but there were cases were I would change the whole function of them e.g. once I turned a ancient wood stove into a sink. 😊

Now, I am going to be part of very important CHwB project. In here, I am going to be part of a group whose aim is to convert the Mazrekajs Kulla into a hostel. According to CHwB, the group of ‘ustallarëve’ (n. craftsmen) should keep the cultural heritage value of the building. So everything that we are going to change should respect the restauration and revitalization laws on cultural heritage buildings. But sure, other than that we’re free to dare through are innovative methods, methods that would make Kulla – Cool.

There’re going to be two weeks in Drenoc; they will be filled with a lot of work, fun and laughter, even though those three don’t usually go together; but what can you do – we ‘ustahs’ are bakes this way.

Interventions for the adaptation of the interior of the Kulla, it’s auxiliary facilities and the yard will be implemented with full social and environmental responsibility according to the concepts of adaptive reuse. Reduction, Reuse and Recycle will be the means used to realise the interventions that will increase the level of comfort and attractiveness of the Kulla as a touristic destination while improving the overall environmental performance of the structure. The interventions will be carried out with natural materials that are found in the enclosed yard, hence, the final product will depend on our joint creativity.

                   3. Slow Food - Vlera Serhati

 “Bread and salt, all from the heart”

Vlera Serhati1

I am Vlera Serhati. I am an architect, currently enrolled in a Master’s programme at the University of Prishtina. I am the winner of the second edition in ‘Heritage Space’, in the ‘Adaptive reuse’ section under Nol Binkaj’s mentorship. My idea was to give life to a cultural building. The aim of this project was to give the building the full function, the particular one that it had in the past, but through innovative methods as much as the traditional ones. Since the project was divided in three fields in order to reach its goal, you will find me now as the mentor of ‘SlowFood’ workshop. Through this workshop, our target is to get back to our roots, roots of our food, building techniques, social life as much as our naturalist views, that in the past were easily found among the people and the craftsmen of the Kulla’s. So, come and join us to plant the seeds of our culture, for once the others planted and we ate, now we are planting for others to eat.

In the past, Kullas where places where life had been held without a problem. Food, life, socializing, nature and the family economy came together and worked as a whole. “The adaptive Reuse” workshop is an experimental project trying to achieve the same full circle in our time. To achieve this aim, the project is divided in three sections: environmental performance of the Kulla including adaptation of the interior of the Kulla and the yard, Slow Food and Story Telling workshops.

SlowFood is a movement that was found on Italy, as the opposite of Fast Food. The tendency of this movement is to turn our eyes toward ‘bahçe’ (n. garden) and ‘sofra’ (n. traditional dining table). Besides this SlowFood comes as a wakeup call toward the globalism food policies. SlowFood stands as an extension of urban farming trend, it is the embodiment of urban trends and the traditional ways of cultivation and cousine. In here everybody can be a farmer, herder and a degustator. Here, food is no more only a process, it goes further in another dimension, that of a spiritual ritual where every plate tells a story, gives an emotion, tickles a sense, and where the nature and us become one again. Through SlowFood we are going to create an ensemble of the old yard (history), a resting place (comfort), a vegetable garden (economy), a picturesque view (aesthetical), a place to meet for different events (social/ cultural/ informative) and a space used reasonably so it can fit the Mazrekaj’s family needs that live near the Kulla, on their family business where their economy is based.

           4. Interpetation / Storytelling - Johan Josefsson


Photo, Johan Josefsson

My name is Johan Josefsson and I come from southern Sweden. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Comparative Indo-European Linguistics and a Master’s degree in Museum and Cultural Heritage Studies, both from Uppsala University in Sweden. I also do some occasional research within the heritage field, where my focus is on the intangible aspect and interpretation of heritage. My relation to Kosovo is that I have participated in two restoration camps organized by CHwB, one in Mitrovica and one in Prishtina. I have also done an internship at the National History Museum in Tirana. To this, I also have a lot of Albanian friends in both Kosovo, Albania and Sweden.

Different phenomena, whether they are designated heritage or not, cultural or something else, have different meanings for different people depending on individual mentality, life experience and conception/perspective of life. But through a creative mind, intellectual activity and curiosity, you could put yourself into another, possibly unknown, context and see where this leads you and what values this may bring you.  The Story Telling workshop aims to be an interpretative activity around the stories behind things, places, time and space using all the senses, in order to create a spiritual, emotional and physical value to people who come in contact with them. Emphasis is placed on communication and promotion of the values of heritage in general and of the Kulla of Mazrekaj family and its surroundings in particular, built on interactive and participatory methods.

A story is not a separate entity, it is a part of interrelated events and a broader narrative, where every single story may provide values to someone else or trigger thoughts, memories and emotions. Hence, personal stories of the participants can contribute to the narrative of the Kulla. The Kulla should be further involved into a wider tourism network regarding rural and sustainable values that includes whole Dranoc, the nearby villages of Junik and Isniq and cities of Gjakova and Peja and even whole Kosovo with a potential promotion center in Prishtina for cultural and creative tourism, as well as outdoor and artistic activities.

The first representation of Kosovo in ICOMOS

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CHwB Kosovo has successfully submitted the work for the next (19th) meeting of the General Assembly & Scientific Symposium at ICOMOS (International Council on Monument and Sites). Among the 600 applicants, the paper “Forming discursions and practices of heritage regeneration in a post-conflict region” by authors Sali Shoshi & Dukagjin Bakija has been selected and will be presented in Delhi (India).


This representation of Kosovo in ICOMOS represents one of the key steps for the affirmation and development of the cultural heritage sector in the international sphere.

Mentors of the second edition of Heritage Space

Five mentors offer their expertise in the second edition of Heritage Space. Find out more about their expectations from this call!

1. Adaption of historic buildings

Nol Binakaj – Architect and cultural heritage expert

Every day we are more and more agreeing that conservation of historic buildings, is the main element with economic, social and cultural impact in the community. Preservation of any significant building requires a coordination of the principles of conservation and sustainable design.

Reuse of buildings is a best alternative towards demolition, taking into account saving the resources and creating minimal waste to be treated.

The participants of the platform Heritage Space are expected to have creative ideas for reuse of historic buildings, use of space through attractive scenarios through the use of durable materials, with focus on meeting the needs of the community.

2. Video making

Veton Nurkollari – Curator and artistic director of documentary film festival “DokuFest”

What do I expect from you?

A basic knowledge of cultural heritage as well as for video media is a prerequisite to developing creative ideas, so invest a little time in them before applying.

Do not limit your ideas only to buildings or objects, cultural heritage is much more than that. Feel free to ask, maybe a relative of yours can tell you some interesting story about the neighborhood threatened by construction, the former cinema where your parents have spent beautiful moments, the fountain, mill or the favorite food which your grandmother made once, which your father misses so much today.

Also, do not worry much about how these ideas will be transformed into a movie or short video, I will gladly guide you through this journey. You will consult with me, we will look at films together and I will try to provide solutions to any problem that may occur in the meantime, both aesthetic and narrative but also technical ones.

What I expect from you is to be open-minded, motivated and willing to invest your time and energy into the project. Others are not so important.

3. Interpretation (Storytelling)

Jeton Jagxhiu – Graphic designer

“Talk by fingers”

Tell me an experience you had with a friend. Tell a story related to your roots.

Narrate about your beginnings of your love, your origin of fear, greed, place you live, escapes and turnback’s, genetic heritage, the place you live, earliest memory, most beautiful dream, money you have in your pocket, shame, the revenge you plan to take, the moment you discovered the gender, your invention, flies, first step to moon, your hidden button, shakes, sin and other things that for one reason of another you never had a chance to talk about.

Don’t be scared, my friend. Start from your house or the city, tell us from yesterday of anyhow. You can narrate orally or by writing. You may take pictures, or illustrate in strips, draw in a napkin, you might even sing. If you don’t know any way, that talk by fingers.

But please, don’t lie too much.

I will be your mentor for the conception of drool and I expect to learn something from you. Other details of the Project can be found in the web page of CHwB.

4. Information technology

Milot Shala – Software engineer

We are living in one of the most beautiful and historical countries, with rich cultural heritage. Although time has changed and we are living in a digital age with everything being digitalized and content is now available throughout digital hubs such as YouTube, in an app or as a VR experience. Our cultural heritage is very precious to us with CHwB’s Heritage Space is one way to help us get recognized and provide something that will both impress visitors from around the world, but at the same time, also impress ourselves.

We want to provide something for our country and our cultural heritage that is interactive, cool and useful. Today we have access to various APIs and SDKs that we can develop a lot of things based on different technologies such as Google Maps and Daydream VR, we have SDKs available for different platforms targeting millions of devices and users.

If you want to be part of something big and learn new things from both experts in the software industry and interact with other creative folks like you, join Heritage Space and be amazed by what you can create.

5. Fashion design

Flutura Dedinja – Fashion designer

Clothes have lost their values! Let’s return those values .

Once loom never stopped. The imagination of knitting has progressed much more … The technology of fabrics has advanced a lot … And now we are following trends, somehow same as all the world!

It is good to go back and see our tradition and culture, that are full of creativity. I don’t know whether you’ve noticed that we have a nostalgia for our parents’ clothes. Our pulse changes when we see something beautiful, made by our grandmother. Even more, if we see something much older than our grandmother and ancestors…

We can’t invent hot water! Still, there is room for something new, something we will bequeath to our daughter or son’s wife. They, will give it to their nephews. Heritage is wealth. You show your roots not only with buildings but also with clothes.

Let’s create something beautiful and worthy – bequeath something to somebody. Let’s make cultural heritage even wealthier. Because this work does not stop.

Along with me, be part of this project of CHwB Kosova.

“Heritage Space is an inspiration…”


In July last year, was launched the first experimental platform Heritage Space. In the first edition, the young creators had the opportunity to contribute to cultural heritage through the creative industry. The Platform aims to break some barriers and restrictions in the involvement of people in cultural heritage. Traditionally, cultural heritage is seen as the exclusive work of experts, but today it is perceived beyond its dimension ‘for old buildings’. It represents the way of life and must be closely related to our daily habits. Six beneficiaries of the platform researched, tested and developed their ideas by having the opportunity to implement them.Screen Shot 2017-03-30 at 10.00.45 AM

Anyla Berisha is the first beneficiary of this platform – the author of the project “Haptic Space”. Anyla, along with the well-known musician Visar Kuci managed to interpret not only the history but also the spatial content of the Ethnological Museum of Prishtina, using sound as a primary medium. At the request of the director of the museum, this installation is part of the Ethnological Museum of Prishtina. Beyond historical texts and narrative storytelling of the guide, since November last year, visitors have the opportunity to experience the building and its history through sounds, voices, traditional music, etc.

After the launch of “Haptic Space” project, seeing that the experience of the Ethnological Museum on 360-degree view would be an added value to this installation, Petrit Ibrahimi was another beneficiary of Heritage Space. Petrit has applied with the idea of virtual reality or 360-degree view of historic buildings. Besides 360 ° views, during the virtual reality, will be provided information about the museum’s chambers function, exhibits and other information, all these followed by the sound of “Haptic Space”. Very soon the product will be delivered to the Museum and will be accessible to the public.

Mendim Avdyli has applied with the idea to create an online platform where citizens have the opportunity to report on historic buildings at risk. In parallel, Kosovo Foundation Cultural Heritage without Borders (CHwB Kosovo) in cooperation with the organization EC Ma Ndryshe, analyzed the physical condition of 870 cultural heritage assets in Kosovo. As a result of this research was created the digital platform, which contains the list of cultural heritage assets at risk – Lista e Trashëgimise në Rrezik.

Barış Karamuço seeing that many stories in his hometown – Prizren, only remain in the memory of the elderly, and when they are no longer, the memories will be vanished, decided to apply to Heritage Space with the project “Memory Bank”.

The aim of the “Memory Bank” project is to collect and record  the collective memory of Prizren city. In order to understand which was the first coffee shop, first DJ and first Disco in this city, please follow these two videos.

Arben Llapashtica has applied in Heritage Space with the idea to design a cultural heritage catalog. This idea, according to him, is one of the attempts to turn the attention of public and highlight the potential of some cultural and natural heritage sites through photos. This catalog will soon be available for the public.

The call for the next edition of the Heritage Space Platform will be soon announced.

Cultural Heritage is vanishing everyday


Today was demolished another old house in the historic center of Prizren, at the road “Pushkataret”. CHwB has warned about the risk of cultural heritage for the last time in December 2016, when the organization launched the Heritage at Risk platform.


During research, CHwB noted that about 140 buildings are at risk of being lost. The warning, unfortunately was evidenced by the demolition of the house in the Historic Center of Prizren. The loss of this house today, means the loss of a part of Kosovo’s identity and the loss of potential for economic development in the country.

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CHwB Kosovo supports the recommendation of “EC Ma Ndryshe” for a decision on moratorium in this area, which means the prohibition of any activity (except emergency ones) since the Management and Conservation Plan of the Historic Centre Prizren is being drafted. Therefore, we call the relevant institutions to urgently take measures to prevent the destruction of cultural heritage in the country.

Cultural Heritage part of teaching curriculum


From 13/03/17 Cultural Heritage become part of teaching curricula of the learning center “Fidan Lahu” in Fushe Kosova. CHwB Kosovo and Balkan Sunflowers have worked developed the PACE program (Planned Activities for Cohesive Education) by integrating Cultural Heritage, as a practical part of learning through activities, and by extending its importance in the field of education.


On 06/03/2016 CHwB Kosovo has trained 25 tutors-teachers of Fidan Lahu center. The center operates along with four other centers in Gracanica, Shtime, Plemetin and is managed by the BSFK Organization, which has more than 10 years’ experience in the field of education.

In this training was lectured about the interpretation methods of Cultural Heritage to the children of the fourth, fifth and sixth grade. In addition to that, was revealed the importance and role of heritage between communities and how they can use it as a value among the youth. Kaltrina Thaçi, Alban Morina and Orgesa Arifi from CHwB Kosovo, trained the teachers to use the curriculum for one year, where also were discussions and comments about the activities and presentations provided by the curriculum. In addition to these topics that will be addressed throughout the year, the curriculum provides activities and visits to cultural heritage sites. This is to arouse curiosity and emotionally connect young people with the lifestyle and values of the past.


This pilot project has started in the educational center in Fushë Kosova and will continue for a year, while in 2018, is expected to continue in four other learning centers.

CHwB closing the year with membership in two international networks


Kosovo Foundation Cultural Heritage without Borders (CHwB Kosovo) is ending year 2016 with membership in two international-level networks, the Europa Nostra in the European level and SEE Heritage in the regional one. This year our organization has also joined four local networks of NGOs in the country.

Europa Nostra represents a rapidly growing citizens’ movement for the safeguarding of Europe’s cultural and natural heritage. This pan-European network is composed of 250 member organisations (heritage associations and foundations with a combined membership of more than 5 million people), 150 associated organisations (governmental bodies, local authorities and corporations) and also 1500 individual members who directly support the mission of the network by: 1. Forming an important lobby for cultural heritage in Europe; 2. Celebrating excellence through the European Heritage Awards organised by Europa Nostra in partnership with the European Union; and 3. Campaign to save Europe’s endangered historic monuments, sites and cultural landscapes.

South East European (SEE) Heritage Network is a network of non-governmental organizations from South East Europe. The SEE Heritage network gathers all those willing to contribute to protecting and promoting the heritage and has a vision of a region where people cooperate, understand and respect each other on the basis of their cultural differences, believing that cultural, ethnic and religious diversity is a valuable resource. The initiative of establishing a network of NGOs working on cultural heritage was started in 2006 by the Swedish Foundation CHwB (Cultural Heritage without Borders). Twelve NGOs from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia together with representatives of CHwB, signed a commitment statement to develop and strengthen the NGO Regional Network. Today the network has expanded in more countries of the region and counts more than 25 NGO representatives.

Kosovo now has the list of heritage at risk

A forgotten building in poor condition, as the Boxing Club in Prishtina, on 12th of December hosted the launch of “Heritage at risk list”. This register, published for the first time in Kosovo contains monuments part of the “List of Cultural Heritage under temporary protection” of MCYS and at risk of losing heritage values, but also a risk for people living in or near them.


Cultural Heritage without Borders (CHwB Kosovo) in cooperation with EC Ma and financed by Sweden, in 2016 analyzed the physical condition of 870 cultural heritage assets in Kosovo. As a result of this work was created the platform, which is a summary of assets that are at risk. The digital platform is also a new opportunity to inform the public, relevant institutions and stakeholders on the condition of these assets in danger and also intends to include them in its evaluation and preservation through direct proposal of assets they consider that are at risk, regardless of whether they have protection status or not.


The director of CHwB Kosovo, Sali Shoshi, at the beginning of the launch said “In 2016, we have conducted research throughout Kosovo, where around 870 buildings were visited by six teams and vital information was gotten and we plan to show it in stages. We analyses their physical condition, we looked for potential ones for economic development, we analyzed the information from the owners, and also talked to them about their responsibility with responsible institutions, and this information will be shown on the next steps. ” He stressed that this list is a commitment and contribution of both civil society organizations and counts of 139 buildings spread throughout Kosovo.

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Alban Morina and Erinë Mulolli, project coordinators, provided detailed information about the methodology used in the research and findings from the field, while Nol Binakaj, deputy director of CHwB Kosovo, spoke about the next steps of this initiative and listed a number of recommendations emerging from this research directed to relevant institutions and community and owners. The full research can be found in our publication “Trashëgimia në rrezik”.


The event was followed by a photographic exhibition of Arben Llapashtica and short documentaries produced by CHwB Kosovo that will remain open to the public in the Boxing Club up to December 5th at the following hours: 11:00-14: 00 and 16:00 -18: 00.