In the article about these peculiar structures, are wooden houses essential or a hazard, and what does it entail to build a wooden house?

Wood is a versatile material, admired in a variety of ways from its usage or texture. Wood is found in the stems and roots of woody plants and trees and is an organic material strong in tension and compression. As mentioned about the versatile nature of wood, it has been used for centuries, making tools with it, such as fuel, weapons, furniture, paper, and construction material in varying forms. With the understanding that wood is a diverse material with varying usage, this article narrates Wooden Houses found in Central Eastern Europe. Wood types range from Oak, Ash, Linden, Maple, Pear, Cherry, Elm, Beech, Alder, Pine, Spruce, Larch, Juniper, Hornbeam, Aspen, and Birch.

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Europe is divided into the Eastern and Western parts; therefore, Central Eastern Europe comprises 12 countries that are central to Europe but situated in the East, namely: Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, the Slovak Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Slovenia, and Lithuania. 

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Wooden Houses built in Central Eastern Europe use Pine wood mostly with a thickness of about 25mm to 125mm and flooring of about 38mm customized to the clients’ needs with a lifespan of 50 years and weatherproof. These Wooden houses can be built either manually or mechanically. These hand-crafted log houses display the original beauty and exquisiteness of the log because it is felled from mature trees and plants. On the other hand, Machined log houses allow for versatility by adapting to the needs of the design to create a cleaner, smoother, and more modern outlook. The latter is mostly preferred in the wake of the modern era and is perceived to be cost-effective and time friendly. Wooden houses have evolved from a limited usage to a robust variety of usage, from residential, holiday cabins, garden houses, playground lodges, resorts, and museums. 

A glimpse at one of the oldest wooden houses in Europe, which is over 700 years old and owned by a family unknown named the House of Bethlehem, has survived diverse circumstances like fire and still stands firm, now a museum, the secret to the longevity of these buildings are in the occupation of such structures. Wooden houses built in past years could be dismantled and reassembled in other places, thus making them flexible, time-conserving, and cost-effective. 

Wooden Houses are sustainable in nature as compared to brick and concrete, as it is gotten from nature; these houses are of immense value to the environment and identity of a people. In recent years, wood can be gotten naturally in trees and plants, recyclable, and biodegradable non-petroleum materials. Wood needs lesser energy and has a lower carbon footprint and environmental impact.

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An overview of wooden houses in Central Eastern Europe will be incomplete without the merits and demerits of considering or building these structures.  

Wooden House in the façade has a rustic, cabin or country aura with its exquisite interior aura, which can be transformed based on taste; it complements the furniture and visual outlook using fabrics, metal accessories, vases, and glass. They have a construction time of about six months, a short span, relatively cost-friendly, and it does not involve many human resources compared to other alternatives of building. These houses are structurally sound and robust, provided their foundation is firm. 

Wooden houses can be both complex and simple; such a paradox gives these buildings the admiration and praise it endears. Houses built with wood help to regulate the temperature by absorbing about 50% of the humidity, thereby thermally insulating in summer or winter. An additional merit is that the buildings can be easily dismantled and recoupled at another place. It has been a popular option to dismantle the building in recent times. It is implored in low-rise structures. Wood absorbs noise making the space conducive. In general, the attributes of wood help to improve occupants’ well-being and reduce sicknesses like headaches. 

The demerit of Wooden House is primarily on the subject of deforestation; many of the demerits have been covered by technological advancement, for example, pest attack, which is to be maintained sparsely by painting the exterior, and its selling price may not be profitable after construction.  

A false myth about wooden houses indicates that fire can affect wood, but when it’s treated, it can withstand fire outbreaks for a while because even concrete cracks under intense pressure. Durability is another false myth, as it is believed that wood cannot last, but many wooden buildings in Europe have outlived over 200 years.

In conclusion, wooden houses are a viable, sustainable option for the environment as it brings comfort and tranquility to spaces; the spice of these houses arose with the modern era to include some contemporary features, technologies, and lush greenery; all these add to uplift the ambience of these structures making them palpable pieces to the public. From this overview of wooden houses in Central Eastern Europe, these buildings are not going away soon as they continue to gain admiration.

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Victory Udoh-King is an Architecture creative by profession. She is interested in the built environment, and also in the becoming of an architect best suited for the challenges arising from an evolving world. She loves contemporary jazz and architecture shows.

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