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  November 2010

An Adventure in Albania

crumbing tower house in Gjirokastra, AlbaniaIn September AiP volunteers from Australia, Denmark, Canada and the US spent a rewarding week in Gjirokastra, Albania, working at the Category I Babameto house. Gjirokastra, known as the city of stone, has lost almost a third of its historic tower houses! Most have been lost due to a lack of maintenance over the years and the now-daunting amount of work required to make them habitable.

Our purpose was to demonstrate that strong non-profit / community partnerships can help save these houses and bring them back to life. Our work focused on the interior of the house, specifically on a staircase in the west wing and interior plaster in two rooms – the kitchen on the ground floor and a sitting room on the floor above.

uncovering original paint scheme, Gjirokastra, AlbaniaIn just one week, volunteers, working side-by-side with experts from our partner organization Cultural Heritage without Borders, removed loose plaster that couldn’t be repaired, laid a rough coat of plaster in the sitting room, and uncovered the original paint scheme in the kitchen. Meanwhile, others documented the staircase before it was dismantled for cleaning and restoration and began carving a replacement support beam for it.

Gjirokastra was listed on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2005. Listing has brought international attention to both the significance and the plight of the city's buildings, and AiP volunteers are contributing significantly to the success of restoration efforts.

Gjirokastra’s Tower Houses are Crumbling, But You Can Help

 AiP volunteers do more than restore buildings. They support community revitalization efforts that substantially benefit the lives of their citizens. In Gjjirokastra, Albania, restoring the kulle houses not only improves living conditions, but also provides job training opportunities in one of Europe’s poorest countries. You can support this initiative by Donating Now! to AiP.

Giving Thanks

Preservation Vounteers Adventures in PreservationSeveral years ago AiP was highlighted in a USA Today article about ways to put the “Thanks” in Thanksgiving. As this most American of holidays approaches, AiP would like to say “Thank You” to all our supporters and to the volunteers who joined us this year in helping communities preserve their architectural heritage and build a sustainable future.

Our volunteer vacations remain a great way to give back. Learn more about taking an active role in preserving both history and communities by volunteering at one of our projects.

Conference Calendar

Sustainable Preservation: Process and Practice - December 8, 2010 - Seattle, Washington USA
A seminar that will discuss the process and practice of using sustainable preservation strategies for historic structures and how the environmental goal of “reduce, reuse, recycle” can enhance the capital cost competitiveness of preservation projects. There will also be a review the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards used to assess building performance with focus on preservation challenges relating to energy efficiency, windows, lighting, indoor air quality, HVAC, and local and national codes and regulations. For information, see

45 Years of Preservation Law: New York City and the Nation, the Past and the Future - February 5, 2011 - New York, New York USA
Hosted by the Columbia University Historic Preservation Program, the Fitch Forum 2011 will be a significant event at which the standing of historic preservation law in both New York City and across the United States will be critically examined. Participants will evaluate the effectiveness of landmarks laws and identify challenges ahead. For information, see

Why Does the Past Matter? Changing Visions, Media, and Rationales in the 21st Century - May 4-7, 2011 - Amherst, Massachusetts USA
The goal of this conference is to bring together a wide range of academics, public officials, heritage professionals, and community leaders to examine the practical value of the past—by means of a serious humanities and social science reexamination through four distinct thematic lenses. The aim of each is to assess the contemporary social impacts of the study and communication of heritage. For information, see

  On Our Blog

The Great Balkan Road Trip

The Great Wall of China

Keeping Tower Houses from Tumbling