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Reactivation of the Neptune Baths

The reactivation of the Neptune Baths historical monument building involves an extensive restoration and reconversion project, developed through a cross-cutting multidisciplinary approach between various specialisms such as architecture, restoration, structure design, tourism, culture and art, as well as spa tourism. The project is built taking into account both the needs of the Herculane Baths resort town and its local community, as well as the temporary community, namely the tourists. The project supports and promotes the concept of participatory governance. The reactivation of Neptune Baths takes into consideration two types of approaches: a bottom-up one by involving the general public and volunteers in the project development, and a top-down approach, by involving specialists from various integrated specialisms. The innovative nature of the project is defined by the integration of the principle of participatory governance alongside the European values ​​of sustainable heritage development, under the tutelage of a group of young architects.

Reactivation of the Neptune Baths

The reactivation of the Neptune Baths historical monument building involves an extensive restoration and reconversion project, developed through a cross-cutting multidisciplinary approach between various specialisms such as architecture, restoration, structure design, tourism, culture and art, as well as spa tourism. The project is built taking into account both the needs of the Herculane Baths resort town and its local community, as well as the temporary community, namely the tourists. The project supports and promotes the concept of participatory governance. The reactivation of Neptune Baths takes into consideration two types of approaches: a bottom-up one by involving the general public and volunteers in the project development, and a top-down approach, by involving specialists from various integrated specialisms. The innovative nature of the project is defined by the integration of the principle of participatory governance alongside the European values ​​of sustainable heritage development, under the tutelage of a group of young architects.

Project stages

The project is segmented into a series of stages, strategically defined taking into account the legal situation of the building, as well as the European concepts of sustainable development of cultural heritage. The first stage of the project to reactivate the Neptune Baths Architectural Ensemble is the urgent intervention, which aims to stop the degradation and remove the public danger label of the building ensemble.

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The urgent intervention aimed at securing the historic Neptune Baths monument building:

  • Support works to the elements in a stage of collapse
  • Roofing work – replacement of the punctured metal sheet or
  • Replacement of gutters and downspouts
  • Support works to the vaults and ceilings
  • Works at the roof framing level – replacement of degraded elements and support works for critical areas
  • Protection of the ornamental elements – statues and majolica fountain
  • Sanitation of the building
  • Perimeter closures to stop access

We want to highlight the fact that all the works are reversible and do not affect the historical character of the building. The cost of the works for ensuring the ensemble is safe is €100,000.

The project was developed between November 2017 and April 2018, and was aimed at removing the public danger label, which the building currently has due to its major structural degradation.

We also want to highlight the fact that the technical project and the economic estimate were developed approximately a year before the collapse of a sector of the building. As such the up to date required interventions taking into consideration the current state of the building are expected to be greater.

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Strategy

In order for the Neptune Baths building to be functional once more, a series of complex phases are required to be performed:

  • Urgent intervention for ensuring the safety of the building.
  • In collaboration with various stakeholders, creating an integrated strategy for the reactivation of the building alongside a business plan, that will include the economic development of the historical centre.
  • Securing the legal status of the building.
  • Development of a public-private partnership between the Association and the Romanian Government to reactivate the historical monument.
  • Development of a feasibility study regarding the future function/functional mix that will result after the restoration process.
  • Development of a specification document aimed at a function.
  • Attracting sponsors and partners to implement the strategy.
  • Organising a national architecture competition in partnership with the Romanian Order of Architects.
  • Training and contracting a team of specialists and specialised companies required to implement the building reactivation project.

The cost of restoring the building will amount to several million euros and will be determined based on a project and a tailored specification book. According to preliminary studies developed by the Association, the cost of restoring the building to become a treatment bath amounts to 12 million euros, with the specification that this cost involves all the costs of equipping and bringing the building to European standards. The process of reactivating the building will take about 10 years, including the resolution of all legal issues.

Before & after:

Information & timeline

The technical project was developed by a team of specialists and volunteers on behalf of the Locus Association and based on a Collaboration Protocol with Herculane Baths City Hall. Collaboration Protocol with registration number 8779 of 04.04.2018 between U.A.T. HERCULANE BATHS CITY and the LOCUS ASSOCIATION, concluded based on HCL no. 24 / 27.03.2018, in accordance with the legal provisions of art. 36, paragraph 7, letter A of Law 215/2001, which has as object the security, rehabilitation and enhancement of the building – Neptune Baths – property of the Territorial Administrative Unit (U.A.T.), included in CF 30374 Herculane Baths, under no. Top 49 / B and cad number 30374-C1.

The technical project was sent by the local administration for approval to the Caras-Severin County Directorate for Culture, which supports the steps we are taking to save the building, and which have issued a favourable notice of the project.

On 08.11.2019, the Locus Association signed the Additional Act No. 1, Annex to HCL No. 68 / 08.11.2019. The object of the additional act is the sponsorship of the U.A.T. CITY OF HERCULANE BATHS by the Association. The estimated value of the works in the first stage is 58,000€.

Information & timeline

The technical project was developed by a team of specialists and volunteers on behalf of the Locus Association and based on a Collaboration Protocol with Herculane Baths City Hall. Collaboration Protocol with registration number 8779 of 04.04.2018 between U.A.T. HERCULANE BATHS CITY and the LOCUS ASSOCIATION, concluded based on HCL no. 24 / 27.03.2018, in accordance with the legal provisions of art. 36, paragraph 7, letter A of Law 215/2001, which has as object the security, rehabilitation and enhancement of the building – Neptune Baths – property of the Territorial Administrative Unit (U.A.T.), included in CF 30374 Herculane Baths, under no. Top 49 / B and cad number 30374-C1.

The technical project was sent by the local administration for approval to the Caras-Severin County Directorate for Culture, which supports the steps we are taking to save the building, and which have issued a favourable notice of the project.

On 08.11.2019, the Locus Association signed the Additional Act No. 1, Annex to HCL No. 68 / 08.11.2019. The object of the additional act is the sponsorship of the U.A.T. CITY OF HERCULANE BATHS by the Association. The estimated value of the works in the first stage is 58,000€.

The Neptune Baths property contains an area of ​​2,900 m³ of land listed in the land book no. 30374 Herculane Baths, cadastre no. 30374, and the historical monument with a built area of ​​2,75 m³ with cadastre no. 30374-C1.

The real estate was purchased by the couple Verbițchi Valeriu and Verbițchi Alexandrina in 2009 from the company Hercules S.A. Subsequently, only the building was transferred to Herculane Baths City (the owner erroneously mentioned in the CF being the Local Council, while the real owner being the U.A.T.) based on the exchange contract no. 2754/2012.

Several legal sequesters regarding the property are noted in the land book.

Two of the sequesters, those of a criminal nature, concern only the land. The other two seizures, which * appear to have been instituted in a forced execution, concern both the land and the building. The establishment of civil sequesters on the building is most likely an error, these being subsequent to the moment of the transfer of the building to the municipality. We have not obtained any other information regarding the civil sequesters.

Regarding the legal sequesters:

– The first one is related to a dispute that has been resolved in the penal trial, while the civil trial is in the appeal phase and it is still ongoing, having the next deadline 14 May 2020.
– The second one concerns a trial that is still in the prosecution phase, so we estimate that it will take a longer time until it is completed.

*We do not have access to all documents regarding the legal status of the property.

The property private owners have not given their consent for the Neptune Baths to be put in use, and the sequesters prevent us from applying for a European/national financing programme, thus the only type of work we can do at the moment is to secure and remove the public danger label.
We aim to secure the building from a legal point of view, in order to be able to develop an integrated long-term strategy regarding the refurbishment of the house.

The execution of the safety works has been done under the technical project No. 17068/2017, and was split into two stages, dependent on the donations and sponsorships collected by the Association.

The first stage was executed in November 2019 and was successfully completed.

What have we achieved so far? During the first stage of securing the building we intervened in 12 areas at the roof level, we sanitised the building – 220 m³ of debris and garbage were removed from the inside (over 70 trucks), we protected the majolica fountain, we blocked the access to the building, we supported two roof framings and four floors , we cleaned the outdoor terraces, the roof, the pipes and gutters, from moss and rubble. All the constructive and ornamental elements on the verge of collapse, representing a public danger, were stored inside the building, and all elements already collapsed were palletised and stored inside. All these works are reversible and temporary, and aim to stop the degradation produced by infiltrations of meteoric water, by collapses of unstable elements and unfortunately, and by those made by human hands – theft, breaking of ornamental elements.

Locus Association

contact@herculaneproject.ro
300043 Timişoara, ISHO Complex (building A)
Bd. Take Ionescu 47 B

Cont RON: RO87BTRLRONCRT0421032702
Cont EUR: RO64BTRLEURCRT0421032701

Asociația Locus

contact@herculaneproject.ro/en
300043 Timişoara, Complex ISHO (clădirea A)
Bd. Take Ionescu 47 B

Bank account (RON): RO87BTRLRONCRT0421032702
Bank account (EUR): RO64BTRLEURCRT0421032701