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Casa Batlló joins the UNESCO World Heritage Volunteer Program

Casa Batlló is the first site in Spain to be accepted on UNESCO's World Heritage Volunteers Programme, with the project “The Restoration of Casa Batlló, from inside to beyond its walls”. The project will take place from 12 to 23 November 2019, in partnership with the German NGO, European Heritage Volunteers and the collaboration of different entities, among which will be the UNESCO Chair on Sustainability at the UPC, which will support the realization of the workshops.

Casa Batlló is a monument created by Gaudí, which welcomes and promotes cultural, artistic and sensory experiences with the aim of surprising, amazing and inspiring visitors through Gaudí’s work. In 2018, Casa Batlló ranked sixth in the Travellers' Choice awards, among "the 10 best tourists sights: Spain", awarded by Tripadvisor.

Casa Batlló has become a legend within the field of art, architecture and the universal design of all times, with over one million visits every year.

The general visit to Casa Batlló includes the SmartGuide, enabling visitors to live an authentic 20th Century adventure thanks to an immersive experience of augmented reality. Furthermore, Gaudí’s gem was recognised as a National Historic Monument in 1969; an Asset of Cultural Interest by the Regional Government of Catalonia in 1987; it was awarded the Europa Nostra Prize for heritage conservation in 2000; named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005 and received an IBOCC Prize by the International Bureau of Cultural Capitals in 2008.

The project “The Restoration of Casa Batlló, from inside to beyond its walls” has been included in the 2019 campaign of UNESCO's World Heritage Volunteers Programme, the first time in history that a site in Spain has been accepted in the initiative. This programme, which commenced in 2008, promotes the participation of young people in different tasks related to the conservation, dissemination, management and awareness of the Outstanding Universal Value of World Heritage sites.

Each year, UNESCO accepts just over 50 projects globally out of over one thousand sites that are able to present projects, either because they are listed as World Heritage sites or because they appear on the so-called Tentative List of sites that aspire to be so in the future. Proposals have been evaluated through a rigorous selection process that seeks to represent all parts of the world and includes both natural, cultural and mixed properties.

Of the 48 sites inscribed in the World Heritage List in Spain, never before has one been included in this prestigious programme. Casa Batlló, a site inscribed in 2005 within the Works of Antoni Gaudí, is therefore the first to achieve this distinction. This strengthens its commitment to preserve this World Heritage site and to contribute to raising awareness among the new generations and in the education of young people who, through this project, will learn and take part in the surprising restoration that commenced in 2018.

Ten young people of different nationalities will participate in the project accepted by UNESCO, discovering and implementing the restoration and documentation techniques that are being carried out at Casa Batlló.

The activities that will take place between 12 and 23 November 2019 include Casa Batlló documentation tasks, a trencadís restoration workshop, a specialised visit to Casa Batlló and a workshop on its private management model. There will also be visits to the workshops of the craftsmen who participated in the restoration, to learn directly about the experiences of these experts, the way in which they gained their knowledge and the challenges they face when passing this knowledge on to the next generation. They will also be shown the latest technologies employed, including the three-dimensional images of different architectural elements of Casa Batlló and the millimetric explorations of the house's walls to ascertain their chemical and physical composition.

This project is supported by several collaborators, including the Spanish Ministry of Education and Culture, the Spanish National Commission for cooperation with UNESCO and the Department of Culture of the Regional Government of Catalonia, all of which have helped to provide widespread dissemination of the initiative. The collaboration of the NGO European Heritage Volunteers has been invaluable in the planning and implementation of the project. Their vast experience in this type of actions has made it possible to join efforts and turn this project into a reality, enabling capacity building among the new generations and raising awareness of how important it is for young people to participate in the conservation of World Heritage and the transmission of the Outstanding Universal Value of this Workd of Antoni Gaudí.

We would also like to highlight the participation of the UNESCO Chair of Sustainability and the Gaudí Chair of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, the GRACMON Research Group of the University of Barcelona and the Amatller Institute of Hispanic Art, who will collaborate in workshops and educational and documentation activities.

Those who are interested in participating can contact the Responsible of World Heritage at Casa Batlló and project coordinator through the email, who will provide details of the candidate selection process. This email address can also be used by the press to obtain further information on the project, carry out interviews or to provide further information to contribute to the widespread international dissemination of this exceptional initiative.

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