Folk architecture 2.0

József Őrfi's design for the house expansion pays an hommage to the cultural milieu of Eastern Europe, while manages to live up to the high-standard level of architecture in the west. Find his words below with pictures made by Tamás Bujnovszky.

Within the narrowest framework the possibility of creating value is still there: if you are focused on your decisions and presistent with your efforts, you can transform the disadvantages into benefits. In the Eastern part of Europe, it still remains a dream for many to have a refined home, although architectural quality can be achieved despite financial constraints.

The house extension shown here is a continuation of a small two-family home, designed by an architect for herself and her adult son. His son later became an architect too. When his family had outgrown the one-room apartment, they did not move, they decided to expand the property instead. Instead of getting a home loan or a mortgage, they sought solutions that would make the construction less expensive.

At first, the family collected money for three years, then the father built their house on his own plans, in his spare time, with his own hands. Then he established a construction company for the next three years. For structures and covers, he has chosen the cheapest building materials. He came up with such simple, ingenious solutions, that he was able to make his own. The household furniture and equipment is mostly made of recycled raw materials.

The final shape of the three-generation house, which adapts to the terrain, was formed by the elongation of the roof. Under this new roof the space is small, but just enough for a living area for four people, with the transitional spaces organized around. Pier foundation used under the wooden structure which allowed the trees to be kept. Because of the thick thermal insulation, the lightweight building is also economical for the electric heating, with no need of gas. The varied solutions of the external, complementary thermal insulation of the wooden platform determine the appearance of the house. The new central space is displayed as a black shell between the white mass of the former house and the father’s also new, wood-covered hobby house. Behind the wooden slats there is a DIY workshop, a driveway, a storage facility and a small future architect office is located in the attic.

Acclaimed simplicity, innovative creativity and patience have led to the successful completion of the house. With the cost-saving, self-built construction method, the price of a nearly 80 square meters expansion has fallen to one third of the standard acquisition costs.

József Őrfi