The roofing of Rathewalde Youth Accommodation Houses is by now fifty years old and has been renewed. Under the professional guidance of a carpenter the participants of the Building Week will finish the reparation of the roof construction. Although the roofing is not a traditional one, the works will be very interesting because the combination of the different roof constructions of the different parts of the house dating back to different times will generate the need to find intelligent detail solutions.
Because it will be sometimes not possible that the whole group will work on the roof at the same time the other volunteers will in these times carry out renovation works at the house.
shared rooms with 4 – 6 beds, limited warm shower and toilets
The meals will be prepared together as they are part of the community life, what means that every participant will be responsible for the meal at least once during its stay. So it would be very nice if the participants could bring typical recipes from home in order to introduce each other to the preparation of food from all over the world.
Rathewalde Youth Accommodation House is situated at the traditional health resort Rathewalde in Saxony. The building is located at the end of the village, directly at the border of the National Park Sächsische Schweiz (Saxon Switzerland). The mountains are famous for their typical formations of sandstone with lots of small caves and overwhelming views from the tops of the mountains. The National Park offers various possibilities of hiking and climbing tours of different levels. The house was originally built around 1880, in the following decades it had been extended step by step. When Open Houses overtook the responsibility for the house it was partly in a really bad condition; during the past years countless volunteers restored and renovated the building. The house is surrounded by a beautiful garden with old rhododendrons. From the garden there is a fascinating view into the neighbouring valley and on rock formations.
The camp places are mostly situated in small villages in rural areas, so the participants should not expect busy places and normal city activities for the leisure time during the working days. Small trips in walking distance are possible in the afternoon. On the weekends it is possible to organise an excursion to nearby cities or to have other leisure activities.
The history of Open Houses Network dates back to the mid-1980s, when a group of young people started to restore village churches in East Germany in voluntary work to protect them from decay. The engagement for these buildings united people who enjoyed the freedom these activities provided and who filled these rooms with life again in ways which by far exceed the craftsmen’s work done – through exhibitions, concerts, making music together or just sitting by the camp fire.
Meanwhile, rooms free of political and ideological pressure are no longer urgently required; however, places have become rare where people can meet without commercial pressure, free of bureaucracy and institutionalism, free of nepotism and the exclusion which it produces. What should be easy – to go somewhere in order to meet people and to work together – has become difficult. The tightrope walk between, on the one hand, public activities in a monetary and functional sense, and the retreat into private life on the other, is very difficult, and it requires a lot of power and permanent efforts to tackle red tape and financial restrictions.
Free spaces are less and less understood as common property, and are permanently being cut back. The idea of public property seems to have gone out of fashion, and places of common responsible work have become rare.
Open Houses Network tries to create and protect such spaces. In this process, we do not want to be the do-ers, but be people who have a vision, who want to initiate something, but who also are aware of depending on the co-operation of others. We understand our projects and events as offers – as offers to create space for commitment, for changes, for meetings.
–Motivation letter related to the project
-CV + photo