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Design of a model country house inspired by the architecture of Polish manor houses

31 of May '22

A graduate of the Warsaw University of Technology and a member of the JEMS Architekci team, {tag:studenci} drew on the architecture of Polish manor houses to design an atmospherically neutral house. Interpreting the traditional form and translating it into contemporary language, she created a proposal for a model country house.

The project "Polish Manor as an archetype of home. Model rural house in Mazovia" is a master's thesis carried out under the supervision of Maciej Miłobędzki and Piotr Trębacz.

Widok domu od strony warzywnika

view of the house from the vegetable garden

© Aleksandra Rusin

archetype of a house

The first place where we learn to live is home. This is where we mature, learn about things, and prepare for existence among other family members. In old Poland, manors were considered a symbol of the family nest. Defined as the center of national, social and economic life, they nurtured traditions, customs, memory of ancient times," Aleksandra introduces in her project.

At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, the manor house became the inspiration for the national style known as manor style. Poles were looking for a symbol of Polish culture that would build their national identity. The manor house style was a huge success, and was so well received that it was even applied to a place it had not previously been in contact with, namely urban space.

Analiza tradycyjnych dworów polskich

analysis of traditional polish manor houses

© Aleksandra Rusin

"pseudo manor houses"

The apparent ease of shaping houses on the model of a Polish manor house still reaps its aftermath today. The contemporary Polish landscape is full of "pseudo manor houses" now seen as a form of kitsch. These are the houses appearing in catalogs, where there is a whole range of ready-made designs inspired by the manor style. In the published ranking of the most popular house designs in 2010 in the pages of the newspaper "Murator", those in "manor style" were very popular. This product was successful because it was associated by potential buyers with prestige and an indicator of wealth. As a result, the topic of the manor house was never seriously considered by a group of architects about the way Polish houses are built in the 21st century, primarily due to the lack of interest caused by the deformation of the image of the Old Polish manor house. The current image of its appearance is a caricature, created as a result of transformations that have grown over time," says the architect.

Projekt modelowego domu wiejskiego inspirowanego architekturą dworkową

The author wanted to create an atmospherically neutral house

© Aleksandra Rusin

vernacular architecture

According to the author, reaching back to traditional forms of habitation is a search for original values, not only in terms of architecture, but also a way of building familiarity - feeling at home.

The problem of climate change forces us to reflect on how to build with a reduced carbon footprint. For this reason, directing the search towards indigenous architecture is strongly justified. vernacular architecture is a good model, which for pragmatic reasons was oriented towards simple and economical solutions. There are many examples of regional architecture in Mazovia, and mansions are such a programmatically developed form that, according to the author, they carry potential, and have the potential to adapt the plan to modern requirements.

Projekt modelowego domu wiejskiego, schemat zagospodarowania terenu Projekt modelowego domu wiejskiego, rzut

The project is a model house that could be built in Mazovia

© Aleksandra Rusin

return to manor house assumptions?

The return to the form of manor assumptions is a controversial topic. On the one hand, it can be seen as an attempt to restore an economic model and a social group with the status of nobility transferred to modern times. On the other hand, the current state of the Mazovian countryside, which represents nothing but pervasive chaos, squandering its values, all the more begs for ambiguous solutions. The problem is the immigration of "gentrifiers," i.e. the middle class flowing into the Polish countryside in search of peace and escape from the city. This process is a natural progression that is not worth fighting. The existing situation requires the initiation of a discourse in the architectural community, which has so far left rural areas out of the picture. Creating today's country house only on the basis of transferring visual patterns from local forms does not seem to be the right answer to the complex issues affecting rural habitation, Aleksandra Rusin believes.

Wnętrze strefy dziennej Wnętrze domu, przedsionek z umywalkami

Interior of the designed house, living area and vestibule with sinks

© Aleksandra Rusin

model country house

Due to the assumptions of creating a model house, the author did not choose a specific location. She designed the object in the context of the Mazovian countryside, creating a model example of the way architecture functioning as a rural farmhouse is shaped in this region. Her design considerations primarily touch on the cultural continuity of Mazovia, which has lost its rural architectural identity as a result of years of transformation.

Aleksandra Rusin's project is a proposal for a country house that responds to the needs of a rural resident today.

A man who, living in harmony with nature, would like to run a contemporary small farm, taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the spacious and crop-rich countryside, the architect adds.

Projekt modelowego domu wiejskiego, przekrój A-A

Project of a model country house, cross-section A-A

© Aleksandra Rusin

climate neutrality

The model country house was designed to achieve climate neutrality, which translates into a low carbon footprint over the building's life cycle. To achieve this goal, the author used not only material and installation solutions, but, above all, special methods of shaping the body, the layout of the rooms or the heating system, which she took more from traditional country manor houses.

Widok na alkierz Wnętrze salonu

The project is designed to meet the needs of a modern family living in a rural area

© Aleksandra Rusin

The whole project was designed based on an interpretation of traditional solutions, and then translated into contemporary language. The priority was to create an atmospherically neutral house, which at the same time meets the needs of today's family living in rural areas, maintaining cultural continuity in the way architecture is shaped, the author concludes.

elaborated: Dobrawa Bies

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