Archive for November, 2010

Prishtina Museum

26 November 2010

The new Kosovo Assembly building is in the bold turbo architecture of concrete frame and plated glass.  Reflected are the Prishtina Museum built in Austro-Hungariona style at the end of the 19th century as an HQ for the Turkish Army and the 15th century Çarshi Mosque.


14 November 2010

Çardak: “upstairs corridor one end of which was used for receiving guests”, Oxford Albanian-English Dictionary.  Or as a fascinating alternative, from the Albanian Academy of Science, “Traditional Albanian Dwellings and Houses” (Vendbanime dhe banesa popullore shqiptare):  “An ancient two storey abode where the ground floor is built by stone walls until the upper storey is by wooden.  It has been the predecessor of turret-type houses.  The replacement of pop-gun had its influence on the technical-construction process that had associated the transition from mound to turret-type house.”  So, that makes it all clear.  My first introduction to Çardak was at the Pristina Ethnological Museum where the Çardak (below) is to the right of a short stair and is the first receiving room for guests.  It is surrounded on three sides with window frames and many small square windows.  That inspired the Çardak design in the Runjeva house.

Village Toys

14 November 2010


This is my new axe, Slovenian.  I was told that I should get Kadrije’s father to choose an axe head for me.  It needs experience to be sure of the weight, balance, and lack of twist in the cut.  Well, time ran out and the wood was waiting to be cut, the shopping opportunity arose… so, I took a chance on a Struc 180 toy (1.8 kg).  Having now learned its reach I have a 70% wood-spliting accuracy and am learning to conserve energy and my back by tactical swings and blows.

Skopje Wallpaper

5 November 2010



Lois, Andy and I made a trek down to Macedonia.  In the old city a house was collapsing.  Hidden inside was a wall with this stenciled wallpaper.  Some echo of an unknown period in Yugoslav history.

I wondered also about catching this and recreating it in the new house.

Runjeva: Hay, Wood, Home

5 November 2010

Some days I realise that Runjeva is transforming, and that I am not convinced that the future is better.  Winter is coming and the preparations accelerate, wood is brought down from the forests, wisely or unwisely, legally or illegally, and it is stacked, cut, split.  The grass is built into stacks.  Smoke begins to plume from the old chimneys.  There is a bracing and a beauty.


5 November 2010

The Maestro that came to do the marble window sills was glowing about the wall.  He loved the wood insert that echoes styles of the past and lamented that so much building is throwing out the old in exchange for a modern both brazen and shallow.  I longed for our little experiment to influence the trade and generate improving Kosovo construction.  The wood is special, it comes from the roof timbers of Burim’s house, my Kosovo home in 2000.  His house is coming down but the memory of it is caught and preserved in Runjeva.