Accepted paper:

The idea and values of Ostrobothnian peasant house


Sulevi Riukulehto (University of Helsinki)
Matti Mäkelä (University of Helsinki)

Paper short abstract:

Ostrobothnian houses are important cultural heritage in Finland. They are an essential component of the cultural landscape and people’s everyday life. They still serve as people’s homes and leisure-time houses. What values does the Ostrobothnian house culture involve?

Paper long abstract:

The Ostrobothnian house is the best-known icon of Finnish South Ostrobothnian culture. It evokes many positive associations. The University of Helsinki Ruralia Institute launched a series of projects related to Ostrobothnian houses in 2013. Apart from producing new knowledge, they aim at the cognitive, skill-based and institutional strengthening of actors interested in rural cultural heritage.

The concept of Ostrobothnian house can be regionally and temporally delimited, or by assigning content-related criteria to the house. The value of buildings can be considered from various perspectives. In most cases, value assessment is based on expert opinions. The most commonly considered factors are the cultural and historical significance of the building. Attention is paid to how rare, typical, representative or layered the building is. The building is also assessed as part of its environment. We also know and recognize value formation that is not based on external assessment. Such are experiential, utility value and the value of a house as one's home. It also shows in the living environment: everybody could ask themselves what things - for instance, peasant houses - define the experience of being in their home region. The fact that a house is a place for doing and events is even more important. The Ostrobothnian house is not merely a material building with its interior. An expert and an authentic experimenter recognize the values of the Ostrobothnian house as quite similar. Both encounter ecological, social, esthetic, economic and spiritual values in the Ostrobothnian house.

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