Craft in architecture – traditional stonemasonry

Craft in architecture – traditional stonemasonry

Ľuba Paučulová

In past, stone was a popular construction material. Being the most important building material, stone was widely used in historical architecture. Folk architecture used stone for building purposes when natural resources were nearby, building storerooms as well as parts of or whole houses. Stone was viewed as a material protecting against fire and enemies.

What did remain in architecture of today from traditional stonemasonry? Conditions, motivation and principles of traditional stonemasonry have changed massively. Unlike carpentry, stonemasonry has been limited by diminishing natural resources. Stone extraction is subject to applicable nature protection limitations. From the 19th century, stone as a construction material for bearing structures of new buildings started to be replaced by other materials. Concrete, fired brick and metal reduced stone in architecture.

Construction of stone houses diminished in Slovakia around second half of the 20th century. Only sustained walls and fences are built from stone. Natural stone is used mainly for exterior and interior cladding and paving and special-purpose interior elements.

If we want to specify for which area it is a must to preserve manual work and shaping of stone, it would definitely be historical architecture. Reconstruction and maintenance works strongly require traditional stonemasonry skills.

Secondly, it is traditional folk stonemasonry with rich history in several regions of Slovakia that requires care. Delicate stone forming work may improve public space in a village or town. Manually-processed elements may add a unique character to architecture. Stonemason´s skills and his cooperation with an architect greatly influence final appearance of natural stone at a new building.