20 November 2016

CURTENI, Vaslui County, 1844

The village of Curteni in Olănești commune, Vaslui County is positioned inside a small depression surrounded by tall hills from the area of Central Moldavian Plateau. The household from Curteni exhibited on The „Dimitrie Gusti” National Village Museum premises is typical to rich villages inhabited by yeoman peasants living near vineyards. It was built in 1844 and transferred to the Museum in 1959. The household encompasses the house, the wine cellar and the chicken shack. The house is built with burnt bricks, a digression from regular homes in the area, built with walls from clay and straws, adobe houses. The burnt bricks technique was scarcely used during the time.

The open porch to the main façade is built with 4 wooden pillars, the house itself is erected onto a fundament of rock. The thatched rooftop presents stuffy eaves on the front side, and is covered with water reed made using a local roofing technique, weaving.

The roofing technique requires the overlay of water reed into rows on top of thick wooden strips of acacia trees, arranged with a special tool. The rooftop mane is braided to node the last rows of water reed and consolidate the tips of the house.

The thickness of water reed used for this technique is different from the water reed bundled one next to the other in piles and fixated with perches. The house is set out in depth and the floor plan is symmetrical, with a middle hallway and two rooms on each side. The interior space stands out considering a few design elements – arched openings between the rooms, mantelpieces affixed on the upper part of the walls (modeled from clay), the volumes and shapes of ovens, the ocre colour of wood used on ceiling boards, doors and window panes, wood painted with natural pigments, as well as the porch pillars and the ends of visible beams on the outside of the house. The clay flooring is painted in warm colours which make the interior feel welcoming.

The wine cellar, the second important construction in the household, particular due to its function and architecture, features a floor plan structured in two units – the slopped entrance (Romanian: „gârlici”) and the cellar basement floor laid with straight boards. The wine cellar is built with cliff rocks glued with clay. The resistance structure of the building has a particular characteristic. The flooring is made up from thick oak wood trunks cut in halves with manual tools, supported on an inclined plane onto longitudinal walls and a central beam. The roof framework and the supporting elements – beams and logs – are specific to archaic construction techniques used for the building of cottages. On top of round and short pillars rooted in the ground along the longitudinal sides of the construction lay thick beam on which the logs are fixated at each end. The rounded shape of the poultry shack is made from woven wattle glued with clay and covered with reed. The fencework around the household is made from woven walnut wattle set atop a pillar framework, covered with reed. The access inside the household is facilitated through a wooden gate constructed out of three carved pillars, altogether unitary in style with the ensemble.