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Craft in architecture – stucco

by Ľuba Paučulová

Stucco in folk architecture, Svätý AntonStucco was very popular throughout the long history of European architecture. Baroque architecture made heavy use of stucco craft. The 19th century and Secession architecture made use of stucco, too. Stucco craft was still employed in the interwar architecture. Stucco craft was popular mainly in so called higher architecture. Folk architecture absorbed some elements and adjusted them to serve its purposes.

In the 20th century, stucco craft diminishes with introduction of new building materials and technologies and social and philosophic movements. Architecture rejected decorativeness. In general, architecture derived from Greek and Roman tradition, folk architecture and land planning, all of which developed in Europe for many centuries into region-specific appearances became very unpopular. Architecture eliminated traditions and began from point zero.

Results of such movement can be identified now, after several dozens years of a campaign against traditions. Taking a closer look, results are quite unconvincing here, in Slovakia. Building activity often fails to respect the surroundings and changes it very harshly, and according to chaotic and often unregulated ideas. Such interventions violate natural appearance of settlements, streets and squares.

The above process includes decoration. It is not natural to deny decorative elements and ornaments which were part of our culture and architecture for such a long period. “New, modern and simple“ concept results in misshapen arches, balustrades and columns. Revival of stucco decoration in architecture appears. Without proper knowledge of composition principles and justification of styles to be used, decorations are mixed to form complete turmoil.

Stucco now? It is not an unreal idea. However, understanding of past and workmanship is required. Architects are expected to learn about creative capacity of stucco and revive the craft to conform to current requirements.




Further articles in the magazine Craft, Art, Design 02/2008:


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