Lemko vernacular architecture (Southern Poland & Northern Slovakia)

Pattern No.224 of 'A Pattern Language' recommends a “Low Doorway” to help you appreciate the transition between spaces...



This Polish log home in Zawadka Rymanowska was built around the turn of the 19th and 20th century by Lemko builders, the people of the Carpathian Mountains (Lemkivshchyna which became part of Poland). After WWII there was state ordered resettlement of Lemko people to northern Poland and Russia which saw their building skills exported to those regions.


A notable Lemko you may know is the artist Andy Warhol. This Lemko log house has been lovingly restored by the Płociennik family who have lived there since 1990. The home has its own well and his heated using log fires. The family collect lots of fruits and mushrooms from the surrounding forest.

The vernacular architecture in the Lemko Region were most often made of split, half-round fir logs. The round side of the split logs formed the exterior, the flat side the interior walls. At the corners the timbers were fitted by overlapping using a fish-tail joint. On the exterior the timbers were rubbed with burnt clay mixed with water or linseed oil was used to protect the timbers. The rounded logs were filled in or packed along the whole length with moss and clay. This mortar was then whitewashed so that the resulting horizontal stripes stood out vividly against the dark background of the logs. The roofs were thatched with straw, and the houses usually had two sloping surfaces. The living space was quite spacious, in contrast to the entrance doors which were usually very low and narrow.