The diversity of Slovak folk architecture is result of the overlapping cultures (Western and Eastern), different religions, and mainly of the diverse topography of the territory. The topography also influenced the building materials used and so visually divided Slovakia into two areas – wooden architecture developed around the Carpathian Mountains and clay, stone and brick architecture typical for the lowlands. Original dwellings reflect the times when they were built and create an important part of the country’s cultural heritage. In many cases their value is overlooked and Slovak built heritage is facing the threat of a complete destruction, or inappropriate restoration. On one side people find living in an ‘old house’ fashionable, on the other, they claim restoration is more expensive than building a new ‘catalogue’ house and living in such a building requires lot of maintenance.
In Nitrianske Sučany, the village I am currently living in, roughly half of the original buildings are lightly reconstructed (new roof, new plaster,…) and still inhabited, while the rest is left empty and decaying.
As opposed to empty houses in the village centre, new street is being built on the outskirt. It is criticised by residents for its orientation, spatial organisation, high diversity of house forms and dimensions and general lack of order.
Interestingly, I found in a small local shop a great magazine about reconstruction of vernacular buildings. It does not only provide successful examples of reconstructed houses which aim to preserve the authenticity of the original buildings, but also provides suggestions about how to solve the problems such as high moisture, thermal bridges and advises on building materials, construction methods and landscaping. Recycled materials such as bricks, stones and recycled insulation are highly recommended.