On 25 April 2015, with a magnitude 7.8 Earthquake hit Nepal and major aftershock on 12 may 2015, Nepal was in disaster. The earthquake caused a massive damage to people and heritage sites including Changu Narayan area where the oldest temple in Nepal is located. This video showcases the spirit behind the renovation of the Changu Narayan, and full size replica of the Shiva temple on the 2016 World Wood Day event.
The XIV World Forestry Congress, themed “Forests and People: Investing in a Sustainable Future,” was grandly held in Durban, South Africa from 7 to 11 September 2015. Gathering the world forestry’s sectors every six years, it serves as an important platform for experts and stakeholders to discuss related key issues and explore ways to sustainability. International Wood Culture Society (IWCS) and World Wood Day Foundation (WWDF) also took part in the exhibition and discussions to promote wood culture, a way to remind people that forest is our roots. The diversity of culture and diversity of ecological system are interconnected. We all grow and bind together and therefore, efforts by individuals and groups, big or small, are significant in building our sustainable future.
Renowned sculptor David Best, who has designed and built nine Burning Man temples at Black Rock Desert and various temples in other countries, and his crew, made of volunteers from the United States of America, were invited to create a community stupa in honor of the people of Nepal who suffered greatly from the 2015 earthquakes. The construction site located in Bungamati, a well-known traditional woodcarving village that has had more than 70% of its buildings damaged in the earthquakes. The Temple Crew cut and drilled rough-hewn logs and planks into manageable blocks that were strung on iron rebar and fashioned into the shape of a classic Nepali stupa. This stupa is composed of thousands of pieces of wood representing earthquake victims. Along with bringing international attention to the ongoing wood carving tradition of Bungamati, this project also helped to rejuvenate the community by interacting with local people and artists. The stupa is currently displayed at the Nepal Academy and will eventually be moved back to Bungamati.
The 2016 Collaborative Project kept exploring the possibilities among traditionally-different practices through teamwork as 20 collaborators came together to create wooden sculptural works in Bhaktapur. Together with interactive playground equipment that created a safe wood environment for school children, an installation consisting of 282 carved bricks by 130 artists rose to bring hope of renewal to the community. It was an inclusive venture between creative minds and the community where skills were shared, artistic thinking was challenged, and authentic partnerships were forged through a process of collective ownership, fellowship and mutual respect. This cross-border platform encourages communal interactions while offering younger generation new experiences to discover the art in wood that is both educational and entertaining.
Burning Man is a weeklong festival, a mega art event with many levels of presentation to provide a platform to artists to build a variety of wooden installations and structures in a metropolis in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. This documentary film is specifically aiming on an aspect that would inspire the caring relationship between man and nature, and as well as emphasizing on the meaningfulness of men’s encounters with wood.
In this 5 miles sq. of flat alkaline playa, wood does not only serve as the main material for art pieces, but also represents as a carrier that absorbs people’s emotions, cultures, and hopes.
The festival reached to its climax when the fifty-foot-tall giant wooden man falls, at that very moment wood has been burnt to ashes and blown away with wind along with people’s message spreading out to those who may or may not have experienced with wood or woodworking that a green and brighter future is ours to choose.
San Miniato al Monte is a basilica located in Florence, Italy. The basilica is situated atop one of the highest points in the city, and characterized and constructed in the classic Tuscan Romanesque architectural style. The wooden roof truss is painted with bountiful colors and decorated with adornments, and there’s an uncommon walkway built within the roof truss for people to decorate the roof truss. In addition, the wooden music stand for the choir was exquisitely made in approximately 1420.
Abyaneh is a small mountain village, located 55km to the north of Kashan. Its unique geographical traits have enabled the locals' culture, customs, clothing and language to be better preserved. The his and hers door knockers on the wooden doors can also be found in the village. Men and women use different knockers, which make different sounds, in order to remind the house owner which gender should be answering this visit.
The event was aimed to help those Syrian children staying in refugee camps in Lebanon to receive much-needed education. A wooden classroom was built in seven days at the Tall Abbas Al Gharbi Refugee Camp, situated at the border of Lebanon and Syria, as part of the World Wood Day regional event. Volunteers gave classes on the importance of wood and assisted the children in making classroom equipment, such as desks, chairs, a board, baskets, etc. A tree planting activity was also arranged to spread the message of sustainable development. All the volunteers who participated in the project were deeply moved and touched by what the classroom could do and mean to the children.
More information on World Wood Day.
Zaanse Schans is one major attraction of Netherlands, where is famous by its well-preserved historic windmills. Within here, the combination from colors, nature, and culture is vivid reflection of people's imagination about Dutch lifestyle. And these windmills provides not only touristic value but also multi traditional products. Even more, if we date back to 16th century, windmills actually helped Dutch built Holland!
Nashtifan is close to the border of Iran and Afghanistan. Here, 120 days out of a year are windy, which allows windmills to function well. Some scholars have proposed that these wooden windmills are the origin of the first windmills, which then spread to China in the east and Europe in the west. Pine wood, which grows in the neighborhood forest, is usually used as the axis of the windmill.
There’s a village called Choubin in Neyshabour, which means “made of wood” in Persian. All buildings in this area including mosque, library, and even a gigantic residence are not only built of pure wood, but also featuring quake-resistant. Various kinds of timber, such as pine, walnut, and cherry are used and combine in numerous constructions.
The Qadisha valley, which also known as the Holy valley, is one of the earliest Christian monastic settlements in the world. Its monasteries, many of which an age of centuries, stand in subtle positions in the deep gorge. Nearby, the “Cedars of God” is one of the oldest cedar forests in Lebanon. The cedars here were once exported for many usages and now is a protected species. The sites are now co-listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Adobe is also known as the southwest style of house in the U.S.. The houses are made of clay and vigas and latilla, which are usually made of spruce and aspen. Dan and Della Barrone, who run the Olguin’s Sawmill that provides timber for daily usage to the locals, have been in the trade for 28 years. In the video, they talk about the southwest house style, their sawmill, and why they operate their business in a sustainable way.
Encompassing the major cities and metropolitan areas of San Francisco, the San Francisco Bay Area is abundant in natural beauty, exquisite art and diverse culture. There is a unique architectural history illustrating many styles and forms of construction in this area where the landmarks stand for period architectural styles designed by distinguished architects, including Julia Morgan, the first female architect licensed in California. Some timber buildings of great cultural and developmental significance tell the stories of the early immigrants while withstanding the major earthquakes and devastating fire.
A thousand years ago, Saint Romuald founded the Sacred Hermitage and Monastery of Camaldoli in the forest a thousand meters above the sea level in Tuscany, Italy. The resources provided by both exotic and regional trees have been a support for the daily life, and as a protection to the monastery. The beauty of the mutualism between the monks and the trees is well demonstrated in this forest.
Dai village is in transition from traditional materials to modern ones. Traditional Dai-style houses retained original topography for decades, but many wood, stone and other natural materials are being replaced by modern materials.
Early Taiwanese architecture most often used wood. The maintenance of these historical buildings may require tremendous effort and expense.
Government expenditure for the high maintenance and restoration can actually be reduced if high quality wood was selected at the beginning of construction.
Rampant termite treat
On the other hand, terminate infestation poses a threat to the safety of the residents and jeopardizes the groundsill integrity.
“Taiwan is located in a subtropical region where termites reproduce at a rapid rate,” said the Deputy Officer of the Headquarters for the Administration of Cultural Heritage in Taiwan.
Termite pesticide may harm people’s health
The most common anti-pesticide in Taiwan is copper chrome arsenate (CCA) but the waste management of CCA can produce toxic gases with environmental consequences.
Some profiteers under the guise of promoting anti-pesticide in fact abuse pesticide waste management that harm people’s health.
Other solution to prolong your house’s life
There are still some natural ways to keep your house in a healthy condition.
“Many problems arise from poor ventilation; therefore, keeping houses well ventilated and dry would prolong its life,” said Mr. Chang Yu-Huang, architect and CEO of Foundation of Historic City Conservation and Generation.
Many people mistakenly believe that the durability of reinforced concrete structural buildings is better than wooden structures.
In fact, reinforced concrete buildings can be preserved at most up to 90 years, yet the world’s oldest wooden building is thousands of years old, such as the Horyuji Temple in Japan.
The most intact wooden architecture in Taiwan is the Tainan Wooden Octagon which is 160 years old.
“Wooden houses are like the elderly. Keep the windows ventilated and you would prolong their life,” said Mr. Chang Yu-Huang.
The Pilátovás persist in keeping the traditional marionette in Slovakia despite the fact that new technology has almost taken over the younger generations’ lives. To revive the beautiful tradition, the Pilátovás have devoted their time and energy to teaching people of all ages the fun and spirit of marionette. They enjoy the feel of wood and the fun of marionette. Their joy we now share with you.
The City of Georgetown, Penang, is known for its ancient, tropical ambiance and laid-back pace of living. Two-to-three-story wooden houses built during the western colonial era stand in exotic colors. While windows may be cracked and paints peeled off with time, age only adds pride to the antique houses. Where buildings are too old, they are torn down, and the old tiles, blurred glasses and oxidized wooden pieces are recycled by those enthusiasts who care to revive the ancient elegance.
Kyoto, a city in central Honshu Island in Japan, had been the capital for Japanese emperors for centuries. Here, you can find abundant traditional craftsmanship and wooden architectures that embody the culture of ancient Japan.
Many traditional wooden constructions are still well-preserved in Kyoto. For example, Ryokan-Tsukimikan, the historical hot spring hotel established in the vicinity of Ujigawa, Kyoto in 1937, features Momoyama hot springs, ancient Japanese style design and delicate wooden furniture.
(Mandarin subtitle video: http://iwcs.com/archive-single-page.cfm?id=77)
The architect Yoshiaki Nakamura is a master of Sukiya-zukuri, a traditional wooden architecture style incorporating tea house aesthetics with natural materials. Also, he blends in foreign elements in the hope to explore more possibilities for the traditional Japanese architecture.
The traditional Malay house is a wooden one and serves the housing needs of people living in the rural areas of Malaysia. Since Malaysia is located in the tropical area, the house is designed to meet certain standards to adapt their needs, culture and climate.
The house of Rieck, built in the 16th century, was restored in 1949 and handed over to the Altona Museum as a branch open air museum. The house reconstructs an image of the life of a rich peasant family back in time. Because of its large amount of wooden structure, furniture, and objects, it was subject to woodworms’ attack and was taken care of by scientists of related profession at the Johann Heinrich von Thunen-Institute (vTI) several years ago.
Wood pasture, a historical land management system in the Europe, is an open woodland providing shelters for cattle and sheep, as well as the timber products including charcoal and house construction.
Glen Finglas is a glen in the Trossachs, which has been described as the miniature Highlands. Part of the region within the area was the Royal Hunting Forest from the King David and James II onwards. And wood pasture is restored across the estate, creating a vast mosaic of woodland. Glen Finglas was once covered with plenty of different tree species, including alder, birch, oak hazel, rowan and willow, but over the centuries, the wood pasture has been decreased to scattered remnants.
Established in 1970, the Open Air Museum Stuebing displays 97 reconstructed historic wooden peasant houses that are mainly used to be in the Alpine Provinces. They are lined from the west to the east according to the actual geography of Austria. A house often consists of living space for both human and livestock, with various styles and roofs made of thatches or shingles. There are various kinds of wooden houses, as different designs are made to fit local geological characteristics. Prehistoric hunting huts made with local tree bark accompanied by ancient coal-making facility can also be spotted in the museum.
The name Salzkammergut, meaning “Salt Chamber" in German, was derived from the Imperial Salt Chamber, the authority that ran the salt mines during the Habsburg Empire.
The salt mine, located at Hallstatt, dates back 7000 years. There are many wooden relics left in it by the miners back in time. It has therefore been an important excavation for the archeological projects conducted by the Naturhistorisches Museum at Vienna. In addition to wooden digging and collecting tools, there is a world-famous Bronze-Age wooden staircase lying deep in the mine. The staircase was used by the miners to transport goods in the mine.
Also in the region is the Anzenau Mill Museum, the first building in the town of Bad Goisern. Originally a farmhouse when it was built in the 14th century, a watermill was added to it to saw wood and make bread in the 18th century. Up until now, tasty bread is still being made and sold in the house. In 2005, the building was transformed into a museum to display the traditional lifestyle of the residents.
Bregenzerwald is in a valley situated between Lake Constance and the Arlberg Mountain that was once completely covered in woods, thus the abundant wood cultures exist in the region. The IWCS visited Hittisau, where the renowned Women’s Museum, set up in a modern wooden building, locates. We visited the wooden houses designed and built by a local architecture Mr. Nenning, learned about the local’s philosophy of natural wood use, and saw how the people preserve old wooden bridges. The people in the region also put great efforts to develop sustainable green energy by operating a biomass plant that consumes wooden residue left after constructions and so on.
The Hohenloher Freilandmuseum is located in the village of Wackershofen. This fantastic open air museum, which has collected hundreds of ancient, reconstructed rural wooden buildings from around the Badem-Wurttemberg region, serves as a popular educational and tourist destination for visitors to learn about peasant life in the past. The wooden houses are constructed with local woods such as pine, oak, and beech, and in each of the houses there are traditional wooden objects that faithfully demonstrate how people live with wooden tools back in time. There are also staff members demonstrating wood turning, crafts, and wooden furniture production.
Previously a carpenter, Mr. Ojārs Narvils now has turned himself into a rabbit-lover and has built the whole Rabbit Town because of love revenge. This small wooden rabbit town started with Mr. Narvil’s unsuccessful love story and it suddenly dawned on him that rabbits are actually easier to handle with than women. He said rabbits return your love by giving you the warmth and staying with you. Now he only uses those skills of carpentry to do nothing else but build more wooden rabbit houses. Each house has its own characters for rabbits whose temperament suits the house. The whole rabbit town is actually a typical Latvian town in miniature.
A young renovator, Mateusz Niwiński, devotes himself to his favourite job, renovating old wooden house. He has showed us the houses he renovated and his own workshop, and briefed us the current circumstance of the wooden house renovation in Poland. Due to the particular history of Poland, wooden houses in Poland were mostly built up after World War II and many shabby houses are inhabited by the Jews. In Otwock, wooden houses scatter over the whole town. Many of them need proper renovations to sustain for a longer time, but some are even illegally occupied without being claimed by anyone.
The tale that makes the Holy Mount of Grabarka become a centre for pilgrimage for Orthodox Christians since the 18th century is that, while the whole country suffered from a cholera epidemic, a man dreamed of being called to this mountain and washed his feet in a mountain stream in this area. He was cured by washing his feet here, and therefore this place has become well known for its miracle cure. Throughout a year thousands of Orthodox Christians carry crosses on them, be it small or big, walking to the Holy Mount of Grabarka, from far or near, to show their respect this holy sanctuary.
Folk Architecture Museum in Sanok is a young open-air museum aiming at bringing the ethnographic knowledge of different period of time in history to the public, especially school kids. The most particular wooden house of all is the Jews house of 100 years old which was the first house moved into this museum. Being the only open-air museum in the most southerly point of Poland, Folk Architecture Museum has gained in popularity among all levels of schools and all age groups. All the wooden houses are relatively new as most of the houses were destroyed during World War II.
Being one of the UNESCO heritage sites, St Michael the Archangel Church in Dębno was a Gothic church built of larch wood in the 15th century. It’s still in use at present for the locals and tourists. On Sundays, the church is always packed with faithful disciples for the Sunday service and curious tourists waiting for going inside the church, opened only 10 minutes for tourists each weekend, to witness the well-preserved interior fittings and paintings. The maintenance is down to the priest who is not just the ‘tour guide’ of this historical church, but also works as a guardian of this small village and surrounding area.
Čičmany, one of the most famous living villages in Slovakia, has the least information distributed on the internet. Having been a mysterious village to the world outside Slovakia, Čičmany needs to gain more recognition from the public to publicize the characteristics of the lime painted wooden houses. Painting lime on the wall is not just for decoration, but also to prevent the wood from cracking up with the result that these residents then start painting patterns to beautify the house. Northeast to Čičmany lies the wooden Bethlehem in Rajecká Lesná made by an enthusiastic carpenter who devoted his life on this project which was unfinished by the time he passed away. A priest afterwards was then by his passion and continued to accomplish the carpenter’s dream.
Being one of the few living villages listed in UNESCO heritage, Vlkolínec was reluctant to turn itself into a proper museum. A group of volunteers found this remote mountainous village and were stunned by which they still remain the old way of living. As time goes by, however, people move out into the city gradually as there is not much to do in this remote area other than herding animals. Up until now, there are 55 houses standing in the village, but only 6 of them are inhabited by 19 people. Some of them are kept as it was and some are turned into cottages in display. People living there are actually feeling hassled most of the time with people walking around their houses. Occasionally some tourists would abruptly walk into people’s house without knowing they have intruded resident’s privacy. We were lucky that a half-drunken man invited us into his house and told us his stories and the history of this village with a big happy smile on his face.
Arriving in the Liptov Village Museum, we were welcomed by a lively performance telling a story of highway man in Slovakia. Over 80% of the whole country is covered by mountains and therefore the country tale of highway man has been always a notable story to be told. The director of Liptov Village Museum, Dr Iveta Zusinova, a local grown anthropologist, commenced this museum for the sake of keeping important parts of 22 villages at which the area was wiped out to build up a dam. This museum holds various events in order to form an image of the country life in the olden days for tourists.
Spreading over the meadows at the bottom of the Western Tatras, Orava Village signals a good location for an open-air museum. Orava village museum is aiming to represent the exterior settings of settlements and the living environment of these villages of the 12th to 13th Century, and brings the visitors closer to the wooden structure and furniture with which the life of village people are connected. Scattering as a real village setting in Orava, the Latin school, the market, cattle place, fire alarm bell and the surrounding settings of the whole village compose the image of a mountainous village of the old time and offer the pleasant atmosphere for visitors to experience the country life.
Old Rauma is the largest Nordic wooden town with over 600 well-preserved wooden architectures from the 18th -19th century, and most of which are privately owned. It is valued for its vernacular architectural heritage, and these houses, workshops and shops are still in use today.
Back in the old days, almost every household had lace-makers making bobbin lace, a technique believed to have been brought by sailors in the 18th century. Although, lacemaking had once brought wealth into the city of Rauma, it is now a declined industry and a cultural heritage practiced and preserved by local people. When making bobbin lace, lace makers need a lace pillow with pin set and wind threads on wooden bobbins, to determine the lace pattern according to the placement of wooden bobbin and pin.
The City Renovation Center exhibits tools and materials used for constructing and preserving Rauma wooden houses, and photos documenting the preservation history of these traditional buildings, are valuable and worth visiting. The center is a place where people can acquire techniques, and obtain knowledge of conserving and renovating the traditional Finnish wooden architecture.
In 1997, Eksjo was awarded the Europa Nostra Diploma for its remarkable renovation of the traditional buildings gives a new life to the old town. Today, Eksjo has become one of the best-preserved timber-built towns in Sweden.
The city of Eksjo has burned down twice throughout its history. In 1568, the town was burn down during the First Northern War, and subsequently rebuilt in a different place that was easier to defend. In 1856, Eksjo burned down for the second time, and the fire had destroyed all of the southern part. In the 1860s, the area was re-planned and re-built, and the fire-protection system was taken into account at this time; therefore, most of the traditional buildings we have seen today are from the 17th - 18th century.
In order to protect wooden houses against fire, Eksjo has several fire-protection measures, for example, using fire-resistant glass windows, and sealing the not-in-use gate, door or window to prevent wind-driven fire from spreading; and installing water sprinkler system on the roof of houses to extinguish or suppress fire, etc... In addition, the old town has efficient alarm system where, when the fire occurs, firefighters will arrive within 5 minutes to put out the fire.
Bergen is a city and municipality on the west coast of Norway. The economy of Bergen today is based on tourism, fishery, shipping, and offshore petroleum industry. Bryggen, the old wharf of Bergen, has a series of North European wooden houses from medieval time aligned on the side of fjord. Back in Hanseatic period, Bryggen was a business district and now is preserved and listed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. The museums in Bergen University with rich collections of the Vikings’ hut, appliances and wooden ships are also worth a visit!
On the campus of University of Bergen lies the Cultural History Collections of University Museum that exhibits wooden axes, huts, and shipbuilding tools used by the Vikings. Bergen Maritime Museum presents Norway’s history of shipping from the past to the present; its collections of shipwrecks and ship models include Viking ships, archeological ship remains, and artifacts.
Located at Heddal in Notodden municipality, Norway, Heddal Stave Church (Norwegian: Heiterdals kircke) was constructed in the early 13th century. It is the largest among the 28 stave churches remained in Norway today. Stave church is a medieval wooden church of traditional Nordic style.
Heddal stave church is a timber-built church with three small turrets. The church contains numerous symbols of old Christian and heathen traditions. The holy cross on the turrets is the symbol of Christianity, whereas the dragon heads at the gable ends represent the old heathen motifs rooted in Celtic and Germanic sources.
Laténium Museum is an archaeology museum located in Hauterive, suburb of Neuchâtel. Its name is a combination of “La Tène”, the name of archaeological site of the Celtic civilization back in the late Iron Age, and the word “museum.”
Inaugurated in 2001, the museum has rich archaeological collections of Celtic artifacts, and those from both older and more recent periods as well. Laténium Museum has a collection of 3000 objects, including a 20-meter long Roman wooden ship discovered in Bevaix.
Apart from indoor exhibition, there is another open-air area within the museum park. The dwellings of the lake villagers could be dated back to 1,000 BC, and the museum has reconstructed several architectures in order to demonstrate the history to the visitors.
Bönigen is a small village in the canton Bern, which is located in the central Switzerland. This small village has an area of 15.12 square kilometers, where steep mountains surround a large part of the area.
The village of Bönigen is famous for its unique decorated wooden houses. Radiating from fountain square, which is the former town center, numerous frescoed houses are scattered within the old town area. Dating from 1549 onwards, these buildings functioned as either dwelling for people or storehouse for cheese.
Many of these wooden dwellings had expanded to house the enlarged family. The original structure and the expanded parts of the house could be differentiated according to the doorway or color of paint. These well-preserved wooden houses in Bönigen are decorated with colorful patterns and images, plus biblical quotes in Gothic and Roman letters that inscribed on the exterior wall of the building. Visitors could easily perceive and understand the value of these cultural legacies.
Schwyz is the capital of canton Schwyz, which is located in the central Switzerland. It has an area of 53.3 square kilometers and a population of 14,331. German is the main spoken language within the region.
People in Schwyz still preserve many traditional ways of wood use, and musical instrument is one of the examples. Büchel, also known as Alphorn’s brother, looks like a trumpet but has brighter tone, is a handmade instrument mostly made of fine spruce. Chlefeli is another traditional wooden instrument, which is only played during Lent, is a clapping instrument that could only be found in the area of Schwyz.
Apart from instruments, other noteworthy crafts such as armbrust and sledge are also traditional woodcrafts that are still manufactured within the region.
In addition to handicrafts, there are a lot of wooden houses that have stood for centuries in Schwyz, and the oldest among these is the House of Bethlehem. Built in 1287, the house is well preserved and opened to the public as a museum today.
The foundation of Venice was constructed on vertical wooden piles, which has mostly remained intact after centuries of submersion. The piles penetrated through layers of soft sand and mud until they reached a harder clay ground. In fact, apart from the footing of the city, several buildings in Venice are also either built of wood or decorated with wood, such as Doge’s Palace in the Piazza San Marco, the well-known St Mark’s Square.
Quite a few chambers in Doge’s Palace including one of the most gorgeous rooms, the Council Chamber, are decorated with elaborated paintings and carvings on wooden ceilings. The roof of the Palace is also made of strong wooden structure; we were fortunate to be able to get up to the loft and see the structure under the guidance of a local architect.
Lello Book shop is located in Porto. It was inaugurated on January 13, 1906, and designed by a noted engineer of the time, Xavier Esteves. The Lello Bookshop is housed in a white architecture with art nouveaux facade; its distinguished outlook stands out from the rest of the other historical buildings on the street.
When stepping inside the bookshop, you will immediately feel a welcoming and cozy atmosphere, and be amazed by the full wall height bookshelves, and the high ceiling which created an expanded view. Other magnificent wooden interior decoration, such as carved wooden spiral staircase, fine carving of famous local writers on the column, and intricate woodcarving ceiling are just as impressive.
This beautiful bookshop is now one of the attractions in Porto. It has been selected as the third best bookshop in the world by the well-known travel guidebook, the Lonely Planet.
One of the highest mountains in Romania, Apuseni Mountain, which belongs to the Western Carpathian, is dwelled by only small number of people dotted over the whole mountain range. Wood is the only and the main resource people have up in the mountain. They rely on wood to make a living and live their life. People travel on cart into the deep forest to log and bring their own supply home. We met a plank maker, a rich man who had hired two local young guys to build his new house and a poor family who has no job and only rely on the berries collected from the forest nearby to bring them some income.
Cut through by the Carpathian Mountains in the middle, Romania has the mountainous terrain from the centre to the west. Because of the geographic barrier, the north-west of Romania has a peasant life in contrast to the tourist-oriented prosperity of the south-east Romania. Maramure?, a typical mountainous area situated at the north-west border amongst Romania, Hungary and Ukraine, due to its geographic location, has been handed between Hungary, Romania, Ukraine and CzechoSlovakia over last hundreds of years, and therefore the wooden buildings, interior and exterior decoration, and people’s life style related to wood are all affected by the past sovereign.
The ASTRA Museum of Folk and Civilization, one of the ASTRA National Museum Complex, is recognised as the largest permanent open air ethnographic exhibition in Europe. The chief director of National Museum Complex, Valeriu Ion Olaru, kindly showed us the distinctive wooden architecture within the open air museum and allowed us to go into buildings to explore its interesting stories and facts.
Apart from the museum, Mr. Olaru guided us into the largest restoration institute, situated next to the open-air museum, to show the scientific way of restoration and preservation of various types of material, including wood, metal, fabric, etc.
National Village Museum, located in the Herastrau Park, north of Bucharest, was created by Dimitrie Gusti, Victor Ion Popa, and Henri H. Stahl in 1936. From 33 units of authentic wooden constructions on the first phase of building up the Village Museum to the present 272 units, village museum has strived to preserve the traditional farms and houses from all over Romania.
The homesteads including living houses, barns and stables from different area of Romania that are all displayed in this museum represent the various lives across Romania, from farmer life, poor peasant life, rich peasant life to merchant life. Various houses in people’s daily life such as public houses (pubs), churches, mills and even playgrounds are in the range of wooden representation.
Tam-Awan Village is located in Pinsao Proper, Baguio City, and it is famous for reconstructions of traditional wooden houses that recreate scenery of the native village in the area. Tam-awan now has seven Ifugao huts and two Kalinga houses.
The Ifugao hut is compact and relatively simple, and usually made of hard wood. The Kalinga house, on the other hand, is more spacious and is made of pinewood. All of these huts and houses are built by using mortise and tenon joint without a single nail.
Apart from wooden houses, Tam-awan village is also a venue for art exhibitions and workshops, with the aim to draw more people’s attention to the traditional culture and offer a platform for artists to perform their art.
Penang, located on the northwest coast of Peninsula Malaysia by the Strait of Malacca, is the second smallest Malaysian state and the eighth most populous.
Penang is composed of two parts – Penang Island, where the governmentis, and Seberang Perai on the Malay Peninsula.
George Town is the busiest and largest city in Penang. The inner city of George Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and there are numerous century-old wooden houses standing by the street. Grand Chinese clan buildings and kongsi with magnificent structure and exquisite wooden carvings scatter in the city and tell of prosperity and the history of the immigrants.
The island of Langkawi, also named as the Jewel of Kedah, is located some 30 km off the mainland coast of northwestern Malaysia. It has been a popular tourist spot for its natural pristine beauty.
With a population of about 64, 792, the island has a rich culture of wood and timber use is embedded in the life of the residents. For example,the Temple Tree/ Bon Ton Resort has a collection of ancient houses from allparts of Malaysia that display the unique wooden constructions of each regionand culture.
There are also traditional Malay wooden houses scattering on the countryside. Among them, we visited a large, luxurious private residence,which is a blend of tradition and modern construction.
We traveled to the suburb of Kuala Lumpur where we have visited National University of Malaysia and Seri Menanti. These visits allow us to understand better the uniqueness of traditional Malay houses.
National University of Malaysia is 30 km away from KL downtown, there is another delicately carved traditional Malay house, which used to be owned by an aristocrat back in the early 1900s. The structure of the house is well kept now for research purpose.
Seri Menanti is about 100 km away from the southeast of KL downtown,. It is the royal capital of the state of Negeri Sembilam. One of the landmarks within the small town is Istana Lama Seri Menanti, a 4-story wooden old palace, which was constructed without a single nail.
Kuala Lumpar is the federal capital city of Malaysia and located in Peninsular Malaysia. The city covers an area of 243 square kilometres (94 sq mi) and has an estimated population of 1.6 million. It is the cultural, financial and economic center of Malaysia.
We visited Rumah Penghulu Abu Seman, a preserved traditional Malay house, and an exhibition on wooden arches in the National Museum of Malaysia. In addition to these, the Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM), a governmental organization in forest management and sustainable development is also one of the remarkable places we have visited within downtown Kuala Lumpur.
Gudingzi village (now renamed as JinJiang village) is located in the Fusong County, is famous for its wooden constructions. It has a history of 400 years and there are 44 households left in the village. Here, Manchu is the main ethnicity.
Due to its high altitude of 900 meters, there is only little agricultural development in the village. Therefore, the villagers mostly rely on gathering and exchanging vegetable, medicine and pine nuts from woods for money and food.
The harmony way of living with the nature has captured the attention nationwide, so does the wooden houses. Gudingzi village is now preserved as the last wooden house village at Changbai Mountain.
The JinJen Octagon, built in 1703 A.D.was one type of Hinayana Buddhist architecture. It was used as a venue for meeting and chanting amongst monks. During the Cultural Revolution, Chinese government forbade people from participating in any religious activities. Many monks at the JinJen Octagon were sent back to their countriesor hometowns. The revolution ended in 1976. Restrictions on religious activities were lifted in the 1980s and JinJen Octagon gradually regained its vitality.
Experts congregated at the JinJen Octagon to discuss plantsspecies, tree growths and usage surrounding it. The biggest tree around the JinJen Octagon is the Bodhi tree (sacredfig). Next to it is a Blossoming Tree, which is known as the Golden Lotus forits shape. The Golden Lotus belongs to the Musaceae family. Growing on the Bodhi tree was Lumeria Rubra and ferns. Therefore, the Bodhi tree itselfis regarded as a botanical garden.
Manyangguang Forestry mostly lived by Dai people now, who use Dai language still. Dai language is 80 percent similar to Thai language in Thailand. Some Manyangguang schools teach bilingual languages (Dai language, Mandarin). To the overall village, there are no much differences from a decade ago to now, but the original wood tiles have been replaced by modern cement. Traditional Dai houses - so called Ganlan-style Architecture (Stilt-style Architecture), which often kept animal on the ground floor, and people live above. The usually use selected wood to build the Ganlan- style Architecture, because selected wood can prevent termites from decay the wooden column. Dai people also know that chicken eats termites, so they raise chicken too. In addition, they raising buffalo and pigs, so that mosquitoes will attack livestock rather than human being, deducting the chance people getting malaria.
Manfeilong Pagodas are called “Tanuo” meaning “bamboo tower” in the Dai language. The pagodas were built in 1204 BC from brick and stone. There are nine towers total with the main tower in the center surrounded by the other eight forming an octagon. It is considered a valuable work of art and a national symbol for ancient buildings. The Manfeilong Pagodas and other Buddhist temples are built by the minority ethnic groups whose religion is Theravada. The trees and flowers to be planted around the temples are chosen according to Theravada beliefs. Each species of tree is a sacred representation of each generation of Theravada Buddha.