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Award category
Preserved and transformed cultural heritage
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NEW EUROPEAN BAUHAUS RISING STARS : concepts or ideas submitted by young talents (aged 30 or less)
Project title
Full concept/idea title
HeritageBox - Innovative Sustainable Revival of forgotten architectural heritage in Peripheral areas
HeritageBox is a modular and mobile wooden unit being inserted within the endangered heritage buildings. Units offer simplified architectural and sustainable answers and possible solutions for housing issues and the lack of vibrant and creative industries in peripheral areas. HeritageBoxes can serve as flats, residences for artists or tourists, co-working places, workshops ...  United with its digital platform, the solution offers an uncomplicated response to a complex problem.
Where is your concept/idea being developed or intended to be implemented in the EU?
Upper Carniola
Spodnji trg 41
Škofja Loka
Please provide a summary of your concept/ idea
A big share of European young people lives with their parents as there are no housing and lifestyle opportunities for them in local environments. Therefore they are forced to search for better lives in the larger surrounding urban cities. Population moves out of towns, and heritage sites (industrial buildings, abandoned farms) remain empty, while the local population is getting older.  Our idea is based on digital research, asking young people what would make them stay. Combining the results with architectural and urban potentials and considering environmental, social and economic parameters of sustainability we propose the solution - HeritageBox. HeritageBox is a modular, mobile and easy-to-assemble wooden unit that could be used for living or various other community activities related to heritage. It is a unit for resuscitation that is inserted into an old heritage building. The design itself addresses specific societal and spatial issues. HeritageBox is made of local, sustainable wood. Design and all other dimensions are adapted to be accessible to the disabled. Simple design and easy assemblage make the unit financially affordable to everyone. HeritageBox gives a new opportunity to the abandoned heritage sites, revitalises spaces on a smaller and bigger scale, and most importantly - offers new possibilities of quality life for architecture and people. The carefully thought out concept is based on a concluded sustainable cycle. For instance, the local environments offer knowledge, space, a peaceful environment, and the new intervention returns education, jobs, housing units, revitalisation and modernisation of crafts.
Please give information about the key objectives of your concept/idea in terms of sustainability and how these would be met
HeritageBox addresses all three aspects of sustainability - starting from the environmental manner. The primary aim is to recycle and reuse the existing abandoned places and buildings by simply adding the smallest pieces (i.e. wooden boxes) into the building and by doing so, making it suitable for new, contemporary ways of living. The HeritageBox units are made of sustainable materials (local wood from sustainable sources with low or zero footprint). The concept of flexible modularity allows for different programmes to be stacked together, decreasing the need for errand migrations on a scale of building-to-building. While the provision of new opportunities and urban-vibrancy reduces the need for migration on a scale of town-to-city of young people seeking creative urban lifestyles and experiences. Social sustainability is addressed by the core idea of HeritageBox, offering empowerment for a young individual (in terms of one's identity) at the beginning of their independent career and living path. When joined with new opportunities and community activities, the latter is a base that serves as a driver for healthy and improved local communities. The local community and local craftsmen are included in the programme and workshops of HeritageBoxes add to the soft-revitalisation aspect.  While the design and all the dimensions are adapted to be accessible to the disabled, simple design and easy assemblage make the HeritageBox financially affordable to everyone. HeritageBoxes provide new opportunities, bring creative industries, jobs and education, and thus fulfill the sustainable economic criterion. As per a single unit of HeritageBox, the costs of production are as low as 3000€/unit; the return of investment is viable and has enormous future potential.
Please give information about the key objectives of your concept/idea in terms of aesthetics and quality of experience beyond functionality and how these would be met
The aesthetics of HeritageBox (and the solution on a broader scale) derives from a paradigm of "form follows function" in which shape, design and experience evolve around the intention focusing on human, perception and feelings. HeritageBox's primary material is wood that introduces the language of warmth, familiarity and home. The technical aspect suggests the continuity of traditional wood processing techniques and new challenges for contemporary innovative approaches. Sustainably sourced wood assures dwellers to inhabit HeritageBoxes without any moral discomfort.  Visually the HeritageBox units present a minimalist design within architectural language that promotes simplicity. The design is not arrogant so that it tells users it is for everyone and anyone. The latter design message does not only apply to the social aspect; it also has a message in a spatial manner, where HeritageBox allows a heritage building to shine in all its glory yet gives it a contemporary touch. The dialogue between the new modular units and massive frame walls of an existing building speak about the rich historical past inherently correlated to a bright future and new life.
Please give information about the key objectives of your concept/idea in terms of inclusion and how these would be been met
The authors of the HeritageBox idea ourselves come from deprived backgrounds and socially marginalised groups, hence, we were able to address the inclusion of the marginalised with additional empathy, deeper understanding and enormous motivation. The idea of inclusive intention in our solution is an embodied connection between design and spatial requirements versus societal concerns. The design and simplicity of assemblage are reduced to maximum, consequently reducing costs and making HeritageBoxes available to everyone no matter their societal and economic background. On a technical level, the design dimensions follow the accessibility standards for the disabled, striving for undisturbed usability to prevent spatial discrimination.  On a symbolic level, diversity and inclusion (LGBTQ, race…) are assured by following various criteria on the application level and also by the programmes within HeritageBoxes. As the exchange of knowledge and tradition initiates the link between different local groups and HeritageBox dwellers, the decrease of socially excluded elderly and the reduction of loneliness is guaranteed. New opportunities and inclusion do not end with people. Our idea is inclusive on the level of buildings as it revitalizes the buildings that are marginalised, forgotten and at first glance without any potential.  The process of planning the HeritageBox is made ultimately accessible to the broadest range of potential users through the user-friendly digital platform MyHeritageBox! app.
Please explain the innovative character of your concept/ idea
HeritageBox offers a simple solution for a complex problem. Whereas interventions into architectural cultural heritage have major limitations, we provide a subtle appliance with no demolition included, preserving skylines and historical surfaces, yet manage to bring a new life to the abandoned sites. HeritageBoxes follow the most contemporary architectural and urban practices of modular units and adapt the innovative intention that connects them to architectural heritage as it has not been done before. HeritageBox reservations and order details are made via a digital platform that presents a new approach in architecture and construction branches. It is not only a simplified alteration; the app also reduces the imprint of additional numeral costs while being accessible to foreigners, tourists, visiting artists regardless of their geographical location.  Our innovative thought does not start and end at this point. Our group, The student Spatial section was formed through the principles of the bottom-up paradigm, yet we advocate for expertise, each in our field. We are an established multidisciplinary team of young people working on a national level. We operate within the local student club, the unique approach of our work framework makes us the first group of such format in Slovenia.
Please detail the plans you have for the further development, promotion and/or implementation of your concept/idea, with a particular attention to the initiatives to be taken before May 2022
Our HeritageBox solution won the 1st prize at HeritageHack national competition in May 2021. In virtue of such an innovative idea, we have been invited and are now taking part in an incubation programme Heritage Lab that offers us full support and mentorship together with former European Social Innovation Award winners. The programme will guide us on further steps of promotion and funding. Additionally, we collaborate with Technology Park Ljubljana to successfully implement the project. The Student club and local Youth Center provide ultimate support in developing the pilot HeritageBox and cooperation with the local woodworking school is soon to be established. We plan to have the first HeritageBox units built by December 2021. In addition, we intend to promote the revitalisation model with HeritageBoxes in all peripheral areas, first on a national, and later on a global scale. We plan to achieve it by open-source knowledge hub to share know-how, offering support via handbook (stored in Slovenian open-source data archive ADP which would ensure that the project will not be lost in the long term and accessible to everyone) and develop an interactive webpage.
By ticking this box, you declare that all the information provided in this form is factually correct, that the proposed concept/idea has not been proposed for the New European Bauhaus Rising Stars Awards more than once in the same category.


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