Would our ancestors have used chainsaws to build houses?

The Põhjala factory has two shelter pavilions, the history of which is worth stopping for a moment. One of them is a waffle structure with a sod roof in the city garden, the other is a fun "tiki bar" in the roof garden with a thatched roof resting on the structure of the Mandala roof.

The sod roof of the urban garden, whose parts have been "rescued" and relocated from the roof of the adjacent building, and the shelter of the Põhjala roof garden with an octagonal ground plan.

When I used to work at the Open Air Museum, I often dealt with the term "vernacular architecture". Behind the complex word is a simple content - self-created folk architecture, i.e. buildings and structures that do not have an architect. For example, we can cite all self-built residential houses, barns, saunas, as well as summer kitchens, bunkers and sheds familiar from modern times. Drawing parallels with the plant world, such architecture could be considered a weed that arises and disappears spontaneously.

The mandala-type structure of the roof garden shelter was measured and assembled for the first time on the ground. 16 spruce logs were used, which had to be peeled first.

Placing the beams in their correct position - sunset, because the working day was long.

  Mandala roof construction is a system where each subsequent beam rests on the previous one. It is strong and does not need additional support in the middle.

Roof beams, reeds.The entire structure can be viewed from below and looks visually beautiful.

For me, such self-built facilities are hugely exciting.

First of all, because they are born from people's long-term needs, (nature) experiences and opportunities. The peasant wisdom stored in these buildings is not to be despised. Have you noticed that old houses are cool in the hot summer? That huge (threshing) stoves keep the room warm in log buildings with poor air tightness? That the dwellings were built on the sunny side? That a long eave casts a shadow at noon, but lets sunlight into the room in the evening?
Old architecture is smart.

Reed gutters awaiting installation. To make a thatched roof, special tools are needed, for example, a roof clipper, roof hooks, scissors, a knife.

I consider the Põhjala pavilions to be an excellent example of folk architecture. We have created them by working together with the community, using old techniques and traditional materials and keeping sustainability in mind. Our shelters exude warmth and friendliness and make the urban factory environment human-scaled and friendly. They welcome our guests, their textures are interesting to observe. You can hide under them. They are for people and they are made by people.

Installing a thatched roof on a mandala structure requires skill. Reed is very long-lived and durable, the lifespan of a reed roof is 40-60 years.

That's not all. The construction sector is extremely energy-intensive - it consumes 50% of natural resources, 45% of energy and 70% of wood.

Therefore, it is more important than ever when building new buildings to find solutions that relate to our nature and the surrounding environment in the best possible way. No, you don't have to build new "old" farmhouses, because even the old Sass and Juhans would have used a Husqvarna chainsaw instead of an ax and a push-pull saw when building a house or a forest. what to take from your own hands.

It's that simple. Let's be proud to be "countrymen".

The post was written by Liis Serk, leader of Põhjala Tehas NGO.

The information in the post is taken from this article HERE

Masters Sven Aluste and Margus Väli and apprentices Martin, Siim, Ott, Kaur, Bruno, Silver contributed to the construction.

Thank you to everyone who helped make our somewhat crazy ideas come true!


The Natural Construction Festival is coming soon, which will take place July 30th - August 1st in Koordi, Tartu and Mooste. Additional information and program https://hobukoolipark.ee/loodus/loodusehituskoolitused

Botik´s garden kitchen 
Kasaganaan - a festival to make sense of abundance

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