Folk / Vernacular Architecture: From the Traditions to the Future
(2nd International Conference of the Committee for Folk Architecture of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Veszprém)
Budapest – Veszprém – Taliándörögd – Káli-medence,  27-31 August 2023
Vernacular roundtable – presidents’ forum
Elaine Jackson-Retondo, President, Vernacular Architecture Forum, U.S.A., Adrian Green, President, Vernacular Architecture Group, U.K., Howard Davis (Ed., Vernacular Arch., U.S.A.), Nobuo Mishima (VP., Saga Univ., Japan), Dénes Nagy, President, Committee for Folk Architecture of HAS, Veszprém, Hungary

Opening by Zorán Vukoszávlyev, Deputy State Secretary for Monument Protection
On changes and permanence our obligations through generations

Hossam Mahdy, President, ICOMOS CIAV
Dénes Nagy, President, Committee for Folk Architecture of HAS, Veszprém, Hungary
Learning from folk architecture: Our possible route from the traditions to the future with glocalism

“Around the world: Great Britain, North America, and Japan” – Chair: Howard Davis

Elaine Jackson-Retondo, President, Vernacular Architecture Forum, U.S.A.
Vernacular Architecture Forum, Beginning, present & future
Vernacular Architecture Forum (VAF) is the premiere organization in the United States dedicated to vernacular architecture studies. My paper will focus on the path VAF traversed over the last four decades. I will highlight core principles and activities, inflection points, new projects, recent articles and questions that we are currently exploring.

Railway station is one of the important landmark elements in local town with folk architecture to promote community regeneration, especially in case the station building has cultural meanings as heritage. Hizenhama Station is such a building in which nineteenyear-old part was remained and expected to be preserved. In this lecture, I would like to introduce and share a part of the success for regenerative conservation design of the local landmark.

“Good/Wood afternoon” – Chair: Elaine Jackson-Retondo

Linda Lindblad and Karl-Magnus Melin, Aspen in buildings / From tradition into the future
University of Gothenburg hosts a national center focusing on traditional crafts called the Craft Laboratory. Craft research is being conducted in traditional building techniques, materials, and re-innovation. In an ongoing project the traditional use of aspen in historic architecture is examined thru literature reviews, field studies and processual experiments. The aim is to understand more about aspen as a building material and as a timber source for maintenance of historic buildings and further to introduce it as an alternative material in contemporary construction.

Franziska Dalheimer, Wooden vernacular architecture of present-day Finland & Finnish Sápmi:
Livelihoods & life cycles
Life Cycle Thinking (LCT) is an increasingly popular and necessary approach used for assessing impacts of building materials and building processes. While there is a growing understanding in the field of architecture that the life span of building life cycles should be increased, this reflection on wooden vernacular architecture in present-day Finland and Finnish Sápmi indicates that building life cycles are strongly connected with the inhabitants’ seasonal livelihood and awareness of resource depletion.

Gergely Rodics, Profession-led built heritage conservation initiative in Transylvania
A regional Built heritage conservation program was initiated in the remote, rural area of the Csík-basin and Gyimes in Transylvania, central Romania. This initiative was first implemented in an area of a few dozen villages and subsequently it was taken over and scaled up by the Harghita County Council and two years later by the regional and the national LEADER network.

Győző Esztány, Barn conversions in Transylvania, Szeklerland
In my presentation I would like to briefly introduce the traditional barn conversions in Transylvania, Romania. The territory we cover is in the Eastern Carpathians where most of the small farms still use their traditional barns to store hay and accommodate their livestock in the same building. However, the younger generations in villages tend to either stop farming or scale up and modernise their agricultural activities, therefore vernacular agricultural buildings, such as old barns, lose their primary functions. This unfortunate transition leads to the decay of heritage created by vernacular architecture.

Khaled Saleh Pascha, The historical development of vernacular timber construction in Chile
Chile, with its diverse geography and climates, showcases a range of timber constructions that have adapted to the environment. From the arid north to the central valley and the southern regions, Chilean timber architecture reflects the country’s unique character. These traditional practices have not only shaped the aesthetic character of contemporary Chilean architecture but also contributed to the resilience and longevity of timber buildings in the country.

In-Souk Cho, A tale of vernacular in transition: modern techniques and traditional concepts / Architecture of ‘Humanities Archive Yangleem’, Cheongju City, Korea
The presented building was designed to house humanities books, photographs, and audio-visual records from the beginning. During the course of design and built, the name “Humanities Archive Yangleem” was created with the intention of nurturing knowledge and cultivating human beings. What is noteworthy is that, while using the state-of-the-art technology in design and built, efforts were made to adopt the most authentic traditional concept.

Mária Szilágyi and Gábor Kerner, The Great Szeged Region: Traditional architecture from a new perspective
Our research focused on our built environment and the architectural heritage of villages in the Great Szeged Region, the milieu in which our ancestors lived, the living space they created and shaped for themselves – according to their needs. The aim of this research and the guide is to provide assistance to local organizations and architects in order to preserve the traditional image of the settlements by designing and constructing buildings which are based on traditional architectural elements and are meeting the needs of the modern man.

Domonkos Wettstein, Recreation and vernacular inspiration in twentieth century architecture of the Balaton Coast
The question of regional architecture was constantly on the agenda in the twentieth-century architecture of the Balaton coast. From the beginning, touristic interest and recreational developments focused on the architectural patterns of local landscape units, while modern architectural endeavours kept a distance from the use of traditional forms. The lecture reviews the different efforts to apply local patterns from the perspective of the history of ideas and shows two different eras when the relationship between folk architecture and modernization was discussed at the level of regional conceptualization.

Imre GráfikAbout the changes of (folk) architectural heritage: The example of Balatonalmádi, past – present – future
Using the example of his hometown (Balatonalmádi) in the lake Balaton Highlands, in the lecture the evolution of the folk architectural tradition that fits into the landscape is presented. In addition to their historical protection of certain old buildings – in the spirit of environmentally conscious living – efforts must be made to ensure that new buildings use as many sustainable elements of architectural traditions as possible.

“From the traditions to the future…” – Chair: Adrian G. Green

László Koppány Csáji, Director, Research Institute of Art Theory and Methodology, Hung. Acad. of Arts (HAA)
Elementary forms of (folk) architecture
This presentation joins the discourse about the fundaments of (folk/vernacular) architecture. I examine some elementary forms of architecture from Eurasia. All of them change the environment in a way: by creating sacred spaces, or graves, ovens, hutches, barns, dovecotes, dikes, etc. These ancient, folk, or vernacular basic forms can be considered a base of architectural thinking that may inspire our contemporary thoughts.

Howard DavisVernacular architecture: Re-defining the field with a new compendium of critical and primary writings
This lecture will describe and explain a new four-volume reference work now in the final stages of production, to be published by Bloomsbury Publishing in London. The work, Critical and Primary Sources in Vernacular Architecture (CPSVA), is intended to coincide with the publication of the second edition of the Encyclopedia of Vernacular Architecture of the World, originally edited by Paul Oliver and now Marcel Vellinga. Critical and Primary Sources in Vernacular Architecture will have about seventy-five items, that range over the development of the scholarly field of vernacular architecture from the late nineteenth century to the present, and includes writings of the major figures who have studied vernacular architecture all over the world.

Hugh Conway Morris, What hope for contemporary architecture? How we might learn from the power of the vernacular
This paper is intended on stimulating discussion of the connections between contemporary “organic” design and traditional “vernacular” architecture. In particular, I would like to examine the contention that traditional building was in one sense an unconscious production of form, and whether there is therefore any hope that individual, contemporary architects can access the beauty, power and fitness to landscape and purpose, seemingly so effortlessly embodied in the vernacular.

Borut JuvanecTheory of using energy in vernacular architecture / Use of energy in vernacular architecture
Water covers more than 70 percent of the world’s surface, and is used for drinking, washing, sports, as a carrying surface and, finally, as energy. Calm water can be used for navigation, but for movement, energy is needed: provided by humans, the wind or by a motor. A watermill uses the energy of a current by means of a millwheel, a raft exploits passive help (control only), but the most remarkable system is that of a reaction ferry with use of the principle of propeller.

Jan HülsemannTransformation of traditional building technologies into the future
A continuation or adaptation of traditional construction techniques, leveraging contemporary knowledge of material properties, building physics, and sociological effects, could provide invaluable tools to tackle present-day challenges in the construction industry. Architectural design should deviate from the mere replication of historical patterns using modern industrial methods. Instead, it should strive to creatively employ traditional craftsmanship techniques and materials to achieve contemporary and comfortable designs.

Mike ShanahanNew buildings in vernacular contexts / An Irish perspective
The lecture will give a quick overview of the characteristics and peculiarities of Irish traditional buildings and their current status. It will examine and illustrate the reasons why many new buildings are at odds with such settings. It will question if Irish people value their traditional buildings or understand that they are an inherent part of their identity. It will also look at both rural and urban buildings in small town and village contexts, in illustrating traditional organic type settlements, their buildings and layouts. It will look at how new developments more often than not fail to respond sympathetically and look at some successful ones and the reasons for that. It will give a quick overview of the Cork Rural Design Guide publication produced twenty years ago, which this author was involved in and how it has been used and implemented in the interim. It will also reflect on sections which should be included should a second edition come to be.

Jenni Reuter, A contemporary interpretation of the vernacular / Presentation of five own projects
The lecture “A Contemporary Interpretation of the Vernacular” discusses five projects designed by Jenni Reuter or Hollmén Reuter Sandman Architects (Saija Hollmén, Jenni Reuter and Helena Sandman). The projects are geographically situated far from each other and differ in room program but have several factors in common. They are rooted in the site through the local circumstances, the vernacular architecture and the local materials and ways of construction. These aspects are analysed within each project.

“Central Europe” – Chair: László Koppány Csáji – Dénes Nagy

Hubert FeiglstorferUpgrading the vernacular: Eastern Austrian perspectives
Over centuries, building traditions shaped regional cultural identities. In contemporary European architecture, traditional transmission of local knowledge has widely been replaced by exchange of globalized and transregionally standardized knowledge. The lecture deals with approaches to upgrade rural buildings in eastern Austria for a structurally and ecologically sustainable future.

Martin Cernansky, Vernacular architecture in the Czech Republic and its sustainability
Adapting building to climate change including reducing energy consumption and thereby greenhouse gas emission is a worldwide priority led by the EU. Although there is often a lack of exact data and long-term experience concerning the effectiveness of some mitigating measures in specific conditions and locations, they are also automatically applied to monuments. Maladaptation is a frequent result, characterized by cultural loss without long-term benefits to cultural protection.

József Istenes, The influence of folk architecture on contemporary architecture in Slovakia: Insights and reflections in contemporary architecture
Main features of traditional folk architecture in Slovakia. Skansen, unique protected monuments of folk architecture, technical monuments. Institutional framework for the protection of monuments of folk architecture. Inspiring influence of folk architecture on organic architecture. Reflections on vernacular architecture in contemporary modern architecture, trends and examples.

Andreja Benko, Vernacular was (is) sustainable
The presentation deals with the different kinds of vernacular architecture in the area of Prekmurje (Slovenia). It outlines the quality of vernacular architecture and the knowledge of old craftsmen when dealing and working with natural materials. The point to outline is, that contemporary architects, professionals and craftsmen should learn from old knowledge and again integrate it into contemporary buildings.

Hubert Mełges, Dissemination of knowledge about the values of folk architecture and their endangerment as a requirement of time (as exemplified by Podhale Region)
Over the centuries, invaluable values of folk architecture, literature, music, plastic arts and folklore have developed and been preserved in the particularly precious Podhale Region. The rapid political and socio-economic transformations after the Second World War and after 1989 brought very significant changes and threats. All this has violated the peculiar regional canon of design and construction and its aesthetics derived from tradition. This lecture aims to point out the immense dangers that impair or even eliminate numerous natural, landscape and cultural values of the region and, in a broader sense, social values.

Małgorzata Mełges, Roofs as distinctive features of cultural and regional values
Poland is a country with a particularly complicated history. Political and historical legacies have affected the development and aesthetics of housing in cities and rural areas for at least two hundred years. By observing, documenting and interpreting the transformation of housing forms in regionally specific natural and cultural landscapes, the author has gathered evidence that roof shapes and forms, as well as their proportions, significantly determine the belonging of a building to a particular region. This is evidenced by comprehensive building inventories and photographic documentation relating to various periods.

András Bögös and Péter ZilahiContemporary vernacular architecture: From experiencing to doing
In the range of contemporary architectural theories, we see very extreme ideas on the subject of architectural behaviour. At one extreme is Olgiati’s idea of non-referential architecture. On the other hand, there is Alvaro Siza’s belief in simplicity. Our team, the architectural studio P8 Workshop, seeks to make sense of referentiality and to formulate it in a new interpenetration of simplicity in architectural works. In our presentation, we would like to illustrate this complex process of experiencing and its impact on our design methods through two examples. On the one hand, we will show how a person can be influenced by both the characteristics of tradition and contemporary functional needs. On the other hand, we will show how the findings of this research can be put into practice through a design project we are currently working on.

Biljana Jovic, Creativity via art and science: Geometry workshop
Geometry workshop is a creative platform, started 2012, and designed for students of all levels of studies at the Department of Landscape Architecture and Horticulture, Faculty of Forestry, University of Belgrade. The workshop provides to students the opportunity to develop and express their creative inclinations. Students are engaged in geometry, graphics, form, composition and visual communications, and at the end of each academic year they have the opportunity to present their work in a group presentation.

Anthony Gall, Vernacular impulses – contemporary community: Reflections on the activity of Károly Kós in Transylvania
The architect Károly Kós (1883–1977) whose work in Transylvania after 1919 is worthy of recognition as a genuine continuation of Arts and Crafts practice and philosophy. The possibility to further elaborate the artistic program of his early career can be directly attributed to the changed status of the Transylvanian region following the First World War. For Hungarian artists living in Transylvania, the region became the workshop for a very different type of art practice than that of their contemporaries in Budapest. These strategies remain relevant today.

Andor Wesselényi-GarayThe barn as inspiration / Notes on the eco-regionalist shift in contemporary architecture in Szeklerland
In 2019, the Research Institute of Art Theory and Methodology of the Hungarian Academy of Arts launched architectural research in Szekler Land. The aim of the project was to explore the context in which the new contemporary architectural trends, independent of the developments in Hungary but inseparable from the architectural and natural features of the local cultural landscape, emerged in Szekler Land in the first half of the 2000s. The research sought to explore the architectural-sociological background of the phenomenon and arrived at the conclusion that barns played a key role in the eco-regionalist shift in the contemporary architecture of Szekler Land. The lecture discusses the impact exerted by barns over time, while stating it as a thesis that barns became the catalysts in contemporary architectural aspirations because their details and solutions overlap with currently popular architectural solutions.