The initiative is developed by ID20 Institute (NGO subsidiary of Idrija 2020 Association) that unites young professionals from Idrija and have implemented several award-winning projects for young people on the topic of cultural heritage (business incubator HeritageLab - winner of European Social Innovation Competition 2018, hackathon HeritageHack - awarded European Heritage Days Stories 2019). The team connects the spheres of architecture, cultural heritage and social innovation.
Typical for the former mercury mining and semi-peripheral town of Idrija in Slovenia, the Idrija Miners’ house is a unique housing architecture of the late 18th and 19th Century, characterised by multi-storey wooden structure, steep roofs, and symmetrically organised small windows. Today, 102 of such houses still stand, half are empty. As they have been heavily modified, only 18 have retained more than five traditional characteristics.
In a time when Idrija, Slovenia and Europe in general are facing a dire lack of affordable and quality housing, and when the space for construction should be allocated with care, 102 old, partially abandoned and forgotten houses is not just a public image challenge, but an immense opportunity – an opportunity for a novel approach that bridges cultural heritage preservation, sustainable and affordable housing, re-newed construction skills of the past, and a strengthened identity of this UNESCO site.
The proposed “102 Initiative”, developed by an interdisciplinary team of ID20 Institute (urban studies & architecture, cultural heritage, social innovation, entrepreneurship), envisions a comprehensive green revitalisation of traditional Idrija Miners’ Houses through a public-private-people partnership(s). The initiative answers to the market demand, cultural heritage conservation aims, municipal strategic development plan, and public participation in all aspects of the project planning, implementation and use (more at www.rudarske-hise.si/102-initiative).
Contrary to conventional revitalisation projects, the initiative plans to:
- revitalise already before renovation (through non-profit programme of ID20 Institute);
- renovate through a combination of workshops, construction traineeships, guest traditional builders and contracted construction works;
- develop a diverse range of business proposals, from “Design – Build – Finance – Maintain – Operate (DBMFO)” models to fully private investments and crowd-funding and -sourcing.