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The Dilemma of rural architecture

Under construction!

Part I - Introduction/general:

Village architecture was strictly traditional like all forms of life on the small community level. Much older than urban architecture, but now totally dominated by that. Urbanized people now design rural “traditional” buildings pseudo and suburban rather than rural in their genuine communal context.

Cf. three more articles/examples: New Guinea (Melanesia) - part II; Greece - part III and Bavaria - part IV

Valid legislation and convention do not match the specific aspects/requirements of preservation on the village level. They rather extend urban concepts into the countryside ( as in nature conservation as well!). And in focus is not the high quality wellness in traditional village housing, but rather the formal design, a somehow rustic appearance - no matter what is behind the fassades and what materials are used in construction.

Architectural conservation has to consider to a much greater extent the inner qualities of tradional buildings. Like in nature conservation, where entire ecosystems now are the main concern: "Ganzheitliches Konzept"! Firstly, also conservationists in architectural heritage got to understand what “traditional”actually means. And accordingsly, as a consequence of this evaluation and awareness of the internal values, architectural design rather has to widen the criteria, the objectives of preservation and return to, rather activate or include those valuable features and actually promote what is not protected by any law yet. Architects should become forerunners of re-discovering these qualities (cf. listing below) and in such way can influence the public directly. The EU should focus on support of such approaches. Research of the principles dominating traditions in housing have to run alongside. Not for instance ” The Rural Taste of Europa” should be promoted and financed but rather the the underlying values, the deep inside essence. Otherwise the Rural Taste will remain an empty phrase. That makes rich a few but does not achieve any substantial goats; its a waste of taxpayers money!

Zement –Stahlbetonbauweise kann/darf niemals akzeptiert werden, selbst wenn eine Fassade “traditionell“ausseht. Weil andere Wohnqualitäten! Ist nicht nur pseudo vom Aussehen sondern in innerer Qualität des Wohnkomforts, des Wohlbefindens, ja der seelisch-körperlichen Gesundheit! No adequate and truly imperative attention is being directed towards a maintenance of the „eco“ aspects of old rural architecture: natural materials, no chemistry whatsoever, aimals (?) and generally nature close and integrated. Insulation from natural materials and simple structural devices (wind owners in Arabia): Clay is a perfect example: experience here, but equally the cool room climate. No aircon necessary. aircon and climatic installations run by electricity cause discomfort and health hazards. They consume much energy and require ugly installations, also they produce noise. Wood is another: old selected wood does not rot that easily as new wood (a different quality alrogethet!). No wood preseratives are necessary. Beispiel Xylamon Massing. Doppelt unsinnig.

Pseudo aspects include cement: a grey amorphic substance that has no other qualities rather than in the process of building (re-enforcement, easy application: ist „dead“ gray colour hurts the eye. Human eyes are attracted by the ugly vision first: so even single ugly buildings in an otherwise traditional setting spoil all the ensemble’s appearance. The dead gray colour of cement is some times blended by application of colours. Even 1.000 years of these monasteries have been ruined in their outer wall that way, by ignorant architects irresponsible in giving the job any Albanian workman without supervision (example the oldest large monastery on Mt. Athos I.M Megisti Lavra!). Much money has been swallowed that could have been used very effectively.

Day light in rooms used to be guided (directed), not just large fronts of glass ( no “cosiness, no true inside aspects; an undefined mixture of in and outside.

Rural guest houses are forerunners in giving villages (again) a “traditional” appearance. In all three regions. Here again, the focus is on patters rather than substance; an almost Disney Land instant style architecture (Wagenrad universal symbol even in Indonesia, not Papua because they had no such thing).

The concept of rustic or countryside “traditional" guest-houses has to be widened by the dimenions of living quality as it is ONLY available in traditional=old buildings and not at all in those fake rustic guest-houses. Name them. The annual vacation is the most valuable period in which maximum recreation=regenerations and regaining of physic balance should happen. ONLY those old buildings that also have preserved inside the character and the insignia of tradition, traces of the generations that lived there before, the room arrangement, niches for every individual, the cosiness of natural illumination not overexposure by (too) much brightness of light, the beams the solidness and long lasting gediegene construction, the simple aesthetics and admirable craftsmanship of how the wood of the visible heavy beams was shaped by the axe. Nisches Also for belongings, the holy shrine with the icons and the candles or oil lamps. The huge open fire place as a focus of warmth ebven when not in use. But functional. Nothing just decoration. Nothing only to create artificially a country side atmosphere that is not supported by still revolving traditional meaning and function.

In our project on Thassos we intend to integrate all accessible and retainable qualities of old buildings and their rural environment. Catalogue…. So that the guests will feel these traditions as recreational values, health giving and inneres Erlebnis – with lasting effects.

Weitere Stoffsammlung:

Tradition has the inbuilt working mechanisms (deeply rooted in the biological dispositions of mankind:”communalisation”) to adopt over generations selectively the most suitable patterns. And to forward these to the next generation, as a progressive dynamic process. THAT IS WHY IT HAS CONTNUNG UNIVERAL QUALITIES. It is the essence of the experiences and knowlegde of uncounted generation in adaptation to both the human requirements and the local physical conditions as shaped in a specific historical framework. See also reference in SIEGEL. That is the most important part of defining “tradition”.

Der Erbhof, to patrikò, Generationsfolge, Gebundenheit an das Land mit dem Wohnhaus als Zentrum (Nest bei Petaurus).

Auch in der traditionellen städtischen Umwelt, dem Quartier, nicht nur Nachbarschaften, sondern Dimension Zeit dazu. Der Vorfahren die hier lebten. Altbauten erhalten Verbundenheit auch Geborgenheit: damit wirken sie gegen Aggressionen die aus der Exoniertheit rühren. Anonyme Housing Estates fördern crime und besonders Gewalt. So auch Hochhäuser. In alten Häusern lebt eine Atmosphäre der Verbundenheit mit den früher hier Lebenden, deren Freunden, deren Schicksal: Leid, Geburt und Tod. Häuser mit Vergangenheit fördern Solidarität, die Behausung wird zum Pol für alle Emotionen. In anonymen Neubauvierteln herrschen Unverbindlichkeit und Zerrissenheit.

Alte Häuser auf dem Land sind ganz aus Naturbaustoffen gefertigt. Auch Stroh, Röhricht als Putzträger. Moos in Holzbauten in Bayern.Wieso weniger gut als moderne Materialien? Kalk heute ist nichts im Vergleich zu abgelagertem Kalk früherer Generationen. Korasan!

Da Holz früher besser und dauerhafter war, keine giftigen Anstiche nötig. Lauge anstelle von Xylamon. Beispiel Massing.

Veröffentlicht am Kategorien Bavarian Farmhouses and Furniture, Kazavition, Melanesian ArchitectureSchlagwörter , , , ,

Über Thomas Schultze-Westrum

Dr. Thomas Georg Hans SCHULTZE-WESTRUM Author of Scientific and Popular Publications Producer and Director of Documentary Films and Videos Adviser in Nature Conservation and Preservation of Rural Cultures Initiator of Conservation Programmes German national. Born 1937 (Berlin). Classical education at the Benedictine monastery of Ettal in Upper Bavaria. Graduate of Munich University, with degrees in Zoology, Geology and Cultural Anthropology (Ethnology). Scholarship by “Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes”. Research (University of Munich, other scientific institutions) and publications on social and population physiology of marsupials and other vertebrate fauna of New Guinea and the Mediterranean Region, cultural anthropology, conservation and resource management on the village level, mainly in Greece and New Guinea. Author of the books “New Guinea” (Berne 1972) and “Biologie des Friedens” (Biology of Peace), Munich 1974. Dr. Schultze-Westrum has joined for several years the Commissions on Ecology and Environmental Planning of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). He is the founder of the working group (IUCN Commission on Ecology) “Conservation and Traditional Life Styles” 1979; the “ECOCULTURE” Movement 1981; the “Gesellschaft für die Erhaltung alter und gefährdeter Haustierrassen” GEH (Society for the Preservation of Old and Endangered Breeds of Domestic Animals) 1981; and the non-profit-making society “KALLIERGIA”, for traditional agriculture and village conservation in Greece, 1993. As a consultant he has worked for the EU, IUCN, OECD and WWF. As a film maker he has produced, directed and mostly also shot, for German television and international TV networks, 75 documentaries, mainly ecological portraits with emphasis upon the integration of local and traditionally living people into conservation projects. His first film (1974) was about alternative (sustainable) utilization of tropical rainforests in New Guinea, for ZDF. Never Dr. Schultze-Westrum has entered any of his films into an award winning competition, because he is more concerned about the effects of his TV work in actual conservation and public awareness. One of these real awards was the creation of the Marine National Park Alonnisos Northern Sporades in Greece as a result of his film “The Coast of the Monk Seals” in 1976/77 for ZDF (ratings 36 % - shown in 11 countries). His programme “Green Desert”, about traditional water management in the Sultanate of Oman was distributed by the Television Trust for the Environment TVE to 44, mainly Third World, countries. Another leading aspect of his film work was the production of environmental films for the people of the country where he was filming. So, he produced the first TV series of films on ecology, rural life styles and conservation for Greece (in the early 80’s, 14 programmes) and for the Sultanate of Oman (late 80’s, 12 films). His deep interest in ancient human traditions inspired him to produce “Omani Seafaring”, for Oman TV; “Im Kielwasser Sindbads” (In the Wake of Sindbad), for the series Terra X of ZDF; and “Insel der Magier” (Island of the Sorcerers: Waigeo) for ARTE TV. After retiring from TV film production at the end of 2002 he is returning to his earlier scientific work (abandoned in the early 70’s) about the social and population physiology of marsupials ( Petaurus breviceps papuanus and closely related species); village based conservation; the evolution of human communal behaviour and cultural diversity; and the evolution of art styles in the Papuan Gulf province of New Guinea. Since 1992 he is also involved in eco- and agrotourism programmes that are based on his earlier promotion of this alternative “soft” tourism through publications and films, in Greece and West Papua. His conservation activities are continuously focussed on Greece and New Guinea, since 1957 and 1959, respectively. Dr. Schultze-Westrum now is writing up his experiences of many years field work and he is keeping communications alive through his homepage, from the ancient village of Kazaviti on the island of Thassos in the northern Aegean Sea. The conservation and re-activation of outstanding traditional values of Kazaviti stand at the centre of a local museum and documentation centre to be set up in one or even two old Macedonian stone houses.