LEARNING ABOUT HERITAGE THROUGH ON SITE WORKSHOPS: THIRTEEN YEARS OF EXPERIENCES AT THE RINCON DE ADEMUZ

C. Mileto, F. Vegas Lopez-Manzanares

Universidad Polit├ęcnica de Valencia (SPAIN)
Since thirteen years, the authors of this text and professors at the School of Architecture at the Universidad Politecnica of Valencia organize on site research workshops around the traditional architectural heritage for undergraduate and postgraduate students, mainly architectural ones. These workshops take place periodically, once in a year, at the Valencian region of Rincon de Ademuz, a place whose traditional architectural and landscape heritage still remains mainly untouched to a large extent. These workshops are conceived as an approach to this magnificient vernacular heritage for the participants and, therefore, as a time for the sensibilization of future professionals towards a sector of cultural heritage, still to be appreciated and considered in the curricula of the schools of architecture. But these workshops are also thought as an important experience for a whole education of the students, thanks to the good collaboration that appears within the small group of participants, who lives together day and night during two intense weeks.

Usually the participants form a small group of 15 to 20 students, generally very diversified in age (from the first course in the university to Master and PhD students), nationality (we have been having students from more than 20 countries) and speciality (besides architectural students, there have been too another students learning for quantity surveyors, archaeology, geography, economy, agricultural engineering, anthropology, geology, etc.). The studied topics have also been very different according to the possibilities of every workshop: the constructive techniques, the pre-industrial productive buildings, the hermitages, the anthropic landscape, the houses, or the influence of the very recent buildings on the region architectural heritage. These workshops on the traditional architecture of Rincon de Ademuz, already a yearly event and an institution within the School of Architecture of Valencia, represent an interesting hands-on learning experience, but also an opportunity to develop the human abilities of the students (collaboration and team work, tolerance, understanding of other cultures, etc.), besides an opportunity to awake the interest of the local inhabitants towards their own traditional built heritage that, very often, becomes valuable from the very moment when a foreign student, maybe Colombian, Polish or Japanese, comes nearer to it and shows his/her interest.