There are five work packages (WP) in this project:
WP 1 – Project management and coordination
WP 2 – Site management
WP 3 – Research
WP 4 – Documentation
WP 5 – Communication
Historic rural churches are common landmarks to all states around the Baltic Sea. The secularization and urbanization processes of the societies around the Baltic Sea have revealed sudden problem all the states in this region must handle in coming years – the decreased use and sometimes neglect of numerous historic rural church buildings. Most of these buildings are listed as monuments and have very high cultural value. For centuries churches have been the central pillars of the communities around them, congregations’ manifestations of pride and wealth. In these days the status of a church building has undergone considerable change. The congregations, especially in the countryside, are small and can not maintain their property in a way it has traditionally been. Yet people consider these buildings to be an important social and cultural asset. Indirectly, through tourism, there is a considerable economic value associated with the historic churches.
The present situation generates numerous problems with the physical structure and the microclimate of these buildings. Microclimate is an essential factor for the use and long term physical preservation of the buildings and the valuable artefacts housed in them. Some of these buildings might be in a need of a new function. Several historic churches, that are attractive to cultural tourism, have reached critical point where the safe and healthy use of them is under a question. In addition to the present problems, global climate change may result in new threats to these buildings. Therefore innovative management strategies as well as cost-effective and sustainable conservation and maintenance methods should be worked out for economical and sustainable use of them.
The aim of the project is to raise an awareness of congregations and local communities on the issues of sustainable management and maintenance of historic rural churches. It responds to the pressing need to find solutions for site management as well as cost-effective and sustainable maintenance and conservation of them. These two subjects must be handled together to obtain the maximum effect of sustainable management of these historic buildings. As the scope of building conservation and maintenance is wide, the project concentrates on the impact of indoor climate and hygrothermal performance of the walls to the state of conservation of the facades and interior of the churches.