In a narrow sense, this project deals with the transformation of the parcel and the school building itself in the Paklestica village, which shares the same destiny like many other Serbian schools, which stayed empty due to migrations and aging of the local population and stopped working in 1983. It is expected that number of schools, i.e., objects in public property, which don't serve its initial purpose, will increase in the following years. That means that problem of this school and this village is not isolated - it can be considered as a typical problem of many rural areas in Serbia.

The school in Paklestica village has modest materialistic and use value, but on the other side, a big value as a pillar of identity and spiritual value of the local community. School building (143 m2) and the parcel around it (1997 m2, CP 3567, CM Paklestica) are public property owned by the city of Pirot, but important for the project is also a fact that the school was built around 100 years ago, by grand-grandfathers of locals who triggered the renewal initiative. School building and the yard in front of it haven't been maintained for decades and it was estimated that they will become completely ruined if something isn't done about it.

Another key problem addressed by this project is the absence of any space suitable for common activities. Paklestica is a typical Stara Planina village with around 30 people with an average age of 60. There's no general store in the village, no taverns and no categorized accommodation objects. Study stay center "Paklestica" should represent the "new generation" of this object's initial purpose. The school is adapted to be able to provide space and conditions for the group stays (scholars, students, eco-ethno tourists, researchers, etc.), but also a space for different cultural-educational, science-research and artistic events, like workshops, projections, seminars, trainings and similar. New purpose suits the actual development context, but still follows the school's fundamental purpose: spiritual and social development of local population and visitors. Forming such space for work, socializing and stay of the groups of visitors interested in village, natural and cultural values in its surrounding, contributes to the effort already made in order to renew individual villages, empower the village network, improve life quality and protect the Nature Park Stara Planina. This idea of several enthusiasts has been received very well by most of the locals, but also by big number of their descendants living across Serbia and fans of natural and cultural values of Stara Planina, so we think it will help strengthening social capital of the village.

Source: Belgrade University, Faculty of Architecture

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