What is this project all about?
“După Gard” aims to reconvert and renovate a
traditional barn (60 years old and 75 square meter
footprint). The architectural elements that give this barn its
local charm will be respected down to the last detail: the local
work with wood, the interior design style etc. To describe the now
existing barn: it is split in two halves, one for people, the other
one for animals and each with a separate entrance. In the attic
(which is situated on the half meant for people) people used to
store the dried hay which, during winters, would be carried down on
a ladder and fed to the cows through a small wooden window cut in
the wall that separates the two halves.
The space once designated to people will be reconverted into an immense bedroom (the attic) and the space on the ground into a shared room in which we will have a fully equipped kitchenette and a relaxation corner romantically equipped with a fire place. This shared space will be used mostly during bad weather and / or during evenings.
(As funny as it might sound) the Space formerly dedicated to cattle will be transformed into an intimate bedroom.
Both spaces (halves) will open up into a traditional wooden verandah; the project also aims to use as minimalistic as possible the furniture and interior design elements which are, most of them, saved from a ‘safe death’ and reconditioned. The emphasis will be put on light and lighting plus on how these two put together can capture the best of Nature.
“După Gard” will ONLY use renewable energy and biologic agriculture, and will accommodate no more than 10 Guests simultaneously—who can partially live from what is cultivated in the own Garden.
Last but not least, “După Gard” will not operate with any sockets, light-switches or Internet (as a logical conclusion to what is written above). The guests are kindly encouraged to check-in for AT LEAST 3 nights so that they can get into sink with nature’s rhythm and manage to detox themselves from the big city’s routine and virtual communication addiction. Whoever wants to make new friends or communicate with the ones already existing is asked to climb down the path from “După Gard” until they reach either the ABC-shop or the picturesque bar ‘equipped’ with sockets, internet and locals willing to help any second now!
About the location: the community of Poşaga is located deep in the rough, but astoundingly beautiful Western Carpathians of Transylvania. The Strengths of the Community resume to two main Elements: on one hand, the guest can discover here nature in its purest form – or, in other words, endless landscape untouched by human aggression. On the other hand, the community has to offer a relatively high number (when compared to similar Transylvanian villages) of traditional | authentic | archaic everyday activities that take place of course also accordingly and in harmony with each season. For those with strong hearts, it should be known that the mountains around the community host, apart from the usual deer, foxes & wild-boars, also wolves and part of Europe’s last surviving Brown Bear population.
What is the project goal and who is the project for?
The Aim of the Renovation and Reconversion is that the Barn will become a Retreat based on 100% renewable energy + biologic agriculture and will accommodate no more than 10 guests simultaneously so that they, also through digital sabbatical & a minimum 3 nights stay, become one with nature and authentic rural life .
>> renewable Energy
Lighting day / night: done with photovoltaic (cells) which will be placed strategically in the house and through the garden so one can orientate themselves easily
Dry animal (cow) dung fuel will be used not only as primitive (original) technique of isolating the barn’s exterior walls, but also (and along with wood) to produce fire
Warm water: the shower will be annexed to the house – so will be not in the interior. It will be supplied with spring and (partially) collected rain water. The heating system will be done with a solar panel
>> Biological / organic agriculture
Attached to the barn in question there will be a garden in which will be used ONLY local seeds, classical methods of fertilization and protection against external aggression. “După Gard” wishes to have a garden big enough so it can supply for (simultaneously and maximum) 10 guests. The supplies in question are: fruits, vegetable, condiments, and healing plants – to which we must include the already existing 5 old apple-trees (about 80 years old) from which we intend to produce cider using a local (and obviously secret) recipe
Apart from the barn and the garden, an important role will be played both by a gazebo (meant to offer the guests the chance to eat out, enjoying nature) and a so-called relaxation corner—populated with benches & hammocks (during the day) and hay-filled mattresses (during the night) from which the guests can watch a bonfire, a movie projection or simply an amazing summer sky. Moreover, on demand, the guests can enjoy a massage, or a yoga session (inside the property) or hike / bike to the breath-taking surroundings—one of them being the Natural Reservation , discover the last traditional carpenter of the community or how people still attend to their animals (mostly cattle) on the high mountain pastures.
About the target-group(s): the experience I (Ioana Joca) gathered during my 3 years of cultural tourism (2013-2015) in Poşaga taught me that the guests who are mostly interested in such alternative tourism are made up of (what is culturally agreed to be) hipsters but also, not surprisingly, of students from the agriculture, architecture, environment studies etc. who prefer this kind of location in order to make their practical part of studies. Also parents that want to educate their kids in terms of biological living and cuisine (e.g. willing to drink freshly milked cow-milk or to learn what the difference is between a cow and a buffalo!) belong to the ideal guest category. Last, but not least, and as strange as it might sound, we expect to have - also as guests - middle management from corporations that feel the imperative need to < shut down > the system and be as far as possible from the torment of big cities and the nerve-breaking daily work routine.
Why would you support this project?
Apart from the 5 (sense) perks (see right side bar), our core philosophy for this project is that we want to preserve and promote a sustainable way of living which has long disappeared from the Western World. Unfortunately, as the most recent studies prove it, same phenomenon is happening nowadays in Romania, too—as many from the people aged 20-40 prefer to immigrate. Therefore, leaving aside our personal and professional ambitions, we want to become a living example that things are looking good in Romania for the bio & rural tourism. Alternatively, the international guests should (re)discover that life is more than work and being attached to the everyday city temptations. The simple pleasures nature offers can strengthen one’s spirit and charmed their soul so that afterwards the body can cope with stress and routine better and longer (we call this process in Romania “to charge one’s batteries”).
How will we use the money if the project is successfully funded?
- Building the fence to protect the property. It will be exclusively made from natural elements— i.e. dried pieces of wood that will allow other natural elements (such as raspberries & blackberries bushes or shrubs) to grow through them
- Planting new trees, bushes and flowers
- Putting together the biological garden (fruits, vegetables, condiments and healing plants)
- Building a solid pathway to and through the property
- Buying and installing photovoltaic
- Renovating the old barn: the walls, the floor, the foundation, the roof etc. Also, for the inside, we want to put together a fire place and cover the floor (in the living room) with natural stone
- For both sides: construct the verandah
- Buying a ecological toilet
- Building the external Shower and all its necessary components
Who are the people behind the project?
The mother of this project is Ioana Joca: trained journalist and experienced filmmaker, Ioana is - since spring 2016 - also the mother of our little Dhalia. Between 2012 and 2015 Ioana organized passionately cultural and educational events in order to show and educate the participants about the traditional rural life in Transylvania (namely in the community of Poşaga). When it comes to films and Poşaga, it should be mentioned that Ioana’s first film (the documentary “the grandparents”) won 2 BAFTA nominations (the perk called SEE). Perhaps we should also mention that Ioana spent her 5 years as child there- so Poşaga is for her an irreplaceable and inexhaustible spiritual oasis.
I, a.k.a. Andreas Pohl, am Dhalia’s father and Ioana’s fiancé. Please consider me as charmed as Ioana is when it comes to Posaga and its surroundings. This village-community, with its virgin forests and people living in an honest harmony with the pure nature, melted my heart the moment I got in contact with it. In between, Posaga became a place of perpetual return and my little piece of heaven. Nowadays, my purpose and Ioana’s is to preserve– as much as it is realistically possible – what is left authentic of the community. This can, however, happen only with external support- in other words, with your help and the help of the future guests who will decide to honor us with their presence at “după Gard” Bio Retreat.
Our daughter Dhalia is not only the project’s tiny mascot, but – most importantly- the guarding angel and the core motivation for everything. Time turns everybody and everything into dust; the important thing is that, as long as we are alive, we create a legacy that the generations to come can use and enjoy in a positive way. Our legacy and, simultaneously, the gift we have for Dhalia, is the project “După Gard” and all its incentives, perks, advantages and thrills it brings with it. We warmly wish the ones who decide to step into this life’s adventure to rediscover, better understand, improve and (for some) transcend themselves.