Sustainability and Tradition
In general, the communities of the present are either the followers of the rural communities that have existed for centuries in Romania, or communities created as a result of the displacement of a great part of the rural population towards urban areas, during the excessive industrialization of the 1950-1990 period. In both cases, the basis of housing is the home of small dimensions, built with the most affordable materials, evidently natural, in the years before the advent of synthetic materials (in Romania, not sooner than 1980…1990).
Consequently, the present demand for sustainability, viewed in a complex manner for this category of homes, actually means an update of the entire set of eco-sustainable values of the traditional home, complemented by the requirement for energy efficiency and for a life cycle in conformity with the energy indicators of sustainability, including those concerning the balance of polluting emissions.
Representative in this sense is the perfecting process undergone by one of the constructive systems with the best balance between accessibility –cost- performance – durability created in those times by gifted and technically inclined people from the very communities with limited resources, which make up the majority of the population in this entire geographical area of plains, hills and mountains, not only in Romania but also in neighboring countries.
Tradition, in fact, knows no boundaries. In this system, the walls of the house were made of a wooden frame and closing walls consisting of a network of twigs and yellow soil binding (clay). Initially, the posts of the structure were anchored into the ground, after which they were set on wooden girders supported by stone foundations. Under this form, this constructive system with a wooden load-bearing frame, closing walls consisting of a network of twigs and yellow soil binding, attested on the territory of Romania since the Neolithic Age, was in use until the middle of the 20th century and is still being used.
Later, instead of using a network of twigs and yellow soil binding for the closing walls, a wide range of other filling materials began to be used: strip boards with yellow soil binding, wooden splinters and lately even bricks.
Going back to the beginnings, in the Dacian era, circular dwellings appeared. The diversification of technologies and constructive systems from the Carpathian-Danube-Black Sea region continued into the following centuries, when, aside from the known load-bearing structures (wooden frame and horizontal beams) the first buildings were attested with walls of rammed soil diaphragms, a system which is used mainly in plain regions.
The formative factors that define the typology of traditional rural dwellings are volumetry, planimetry, constructive structure and architectural expression. These factors have diversified the range of rural dwelling models orienting the evolution process towards a type of architecture developed according to the natural environment and organically integrated into the site and area.
The organisation principles of the planimetry of the traditional home, aside from the functional advantage, ensures volumetry a configuration in full harmony with the placement site, thus enforcing the unity of the traditional architecture with the environment.
Compelled from the Author: Dr.Eng. Constantin Miron, Urban-Incerc Iasi, Romania