In February I visited Germany - the city of Leipzig and its surroundings. It was a study visit granted by the Lifelong Learning Programme Grundtvig with the purpose to visit the reuse centre of historical building materials and to visit different companies dealing with ecological building and restoring near Leipzig.

Reuse centre of historical building materials and training centre of traditional building techinques

The centre I visited (which name in German is Föderderverein für Handwerk und Denkmalpflege e.V. - Rittergut Trebsen) is founded in 1992. In the reuse centre they collect the materials near Leipzig that are worth of reuse or have an historic value. The collection of the scrap materials is divided into two parts - the warehouses for reuse materials and the archiving rooms for the materials and details with historical value that are exhibited. In the warehouses of the reuse materials there were about 5000 doors, thousands of windows and window frames, restored fittings, dozens of ovens, construction logs, roof tiles, details of stairs, etc. All this material is centuries-old and often very decorated.

In the training centre there are taught several topics: techniques for building different arch constructions; making plasters and plastering techniques with a laboratory where are studied the components of old plasters; finishing and restoring techniques (painting, marbling, stucco, rosettes, cornices, restoring ceiling and wall paintings). In the yard there have been built several example buildings like timber framed house with different clay techniques, some arch constructions and plastering examples. There are carried out courses with the length from one day to three years, the last one gives also the qualification of restorer. The courses used to be very popular, but last years the financing has been reduced, the competition has increased and there are not that many participants anymore.

The organisations and companies I visited

During the visit I was introduced with different organisations and companies. I got to know a fund that supports restoring and releases the yearbooks of heritage conservation. I met also the heritage conservation specialist of Leipzig who introduced me the structure of the heritage conservation in Saxony and different protected houses in Leipzig.

Very interesting was visiting the only shop (Bau + Farben Kontor Leipzig) in Leipzig that sells natural building materials. It was a nice big shop and to my surprise they produce more and more materials themselves (plasters, paint, tadelakt), preferring them to the big producers of ecological materials (Kreidezeit, Claytec, etc.). The reason for that is the quality of the product and the price.

I met with the local clay building master Christian Hansel (, whose home and office are in an old clay building in a small village near Leipzig. Christian is a clay building teacher in Trebsen training centre and as a private entrepriser he deals with restoring old clay buildings and with plastering.

In the second part of the study visit I took part of the workshop of building and restoring historical staircases and I got to know the company Restaurierungen Jungk GmbH ( who mainly deals with restoring old staircases. With the director of the company we visited the objects they have restored nearby.

I was satisfied with the visit and I got several ideas how to go on with the reuse materials in my company.

The study visit took place thanks to the Lifelong Learning Programme Grundtvig.

Look at the photos in GALLERY!



Säästvad Ehituslahendused OÜ chief executive

Kermo Jürmann

The content of this article does not reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Responsibility for the information and views expressed in the article lies entirely with the author.