Famed and unknown masters of vernacular architecture

Masters and craftsmen

Buildings of vernacular architecture provide testimony to the extraordinary work of countless numbers of master builders and craftsmen. This is especially true if the buildings are still standing. Unfortunately, most masters and their buildings remain forgotten forever alongside the stylistic architecture and building works. The important characteristic of their skills was the transfer of practical experience from father to son as a continuation of the family craft. Some experience was also acquired during work in parties in local or distant regions. This is why the skilful carpenters, masons and bricklayers must be remembered. As well as the other bearers of local craft traditions, such as joiners, woodcarvers, stove makers, sculptors and more.

Parties of craftsmen work beneath the leadership of masters. Some of these masters have already entered into history. It was primarily due to studies of archival materials such as chronicles, farmland books, drawings, and plans. It is also important to visit the buildings themselves since initials or names may have been indicated directly on the building components, although this was not common. Building archaeological analyses, inspections, and simply sightseeing are also important sources of information.

Building techniques and forms

There are several primary building techniques in the present-day Czech Republic. These are specific to its geographical location in the middle of Europe. Not only do these techniques represent cultural influences at the intersections of trade routes, but they also stem from the accessible raw materials for buildings fulfilling various functions. It was appropriate that wood, earth, and stone were utilized based on regional and local building traditions. This led to the regional forms of vernacular architecture from the 16th century, particularly in the following centuries. The development of these handicrafts and professions correspond to these materials and the social and economic living conditions of the given location and age.

Buildings development

The evolution of houses and other buildings generally tended towards heavy, hard, and fireproof materials at the expense of light, soft, and combustible materials. This signified a turning away from materials which were easily processable, warm to the touch, and with good thermal insulation properties towards those which were harder to process, cold, and with poor insulating properties requiring advanced methods of heating.

Author © Martin Cernansky