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RESIDENTIAL SPACE

Slovaks only wait for the boom of alternatives

SLOVAKS still do not trust alternative construction materials. Only a small percentage of people decide to build houses from wood or other alternative materials, and brick and mortar is largely preferred in Slovakia. In Western Europe, and even in some neighbouring countries like the Czech Republic, the share of alternative construction materials is increasing.

photo: Courtesy of atelier SEA

SLOVAKS still do not trust alternative construction materials. Only a small percentage of people decide to build houses from wood or other alternative materials, and brick and mortar is largely preferred in Slovakia. In Western Europe, and even in some neighbouring countries like the Czech Republic, the share of alternative construction materials is increasing. For example, one-third of people building their houses in Canada, Germany, and Scandinavia would opt for wood.

Insiders point out that wood, for example, is the healthiest and the most natural construction material. Compared with brick and mortar houses, wooden ones are cheaper and it is easy to heat their interiors. Weaker insulation against the noise and relatively fast cooling after the heating stops are the drawbacks. However, modern construction technologies can alleviate these problems.

Apart from wood, there are other materials, such as straw. Formerly, people used straw in Slovakia for the roofs, or people mixed it with clay when building clay houses. Currently, in Slovakia the straw as a construction material has disappeared.

According to Patrik Martin from Architecture for Sustainable Development (ArTUR), houses developed in Northern America that appear also in Austria and the Czech Republic are built of straw bales coated with clay. A wall from straw bales has a good insulation, and it also is acceptable from the point of fire resistance.

It is also possible to eliminate the impact of rodents and humidity. The lower weight of construction material with straw does not demand large foundations. The lower costs for the material, the energy conservation, and the fact the materials are renewable also are advantages.

So far, there are no straw houses in Slovakia. "If someone wanted to build such a house, he would face great legal obstacles," Martin said.

On the above picture, there is an original house designed by the Czech architectonic atelier SEA from Prague. The straw bales are used here as an insulation and house facade. The house is located in Mladá Boleslav in the Czech Republic.


- Marta Ďurianová

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