"The builders guild has had an important role in the making of Balkan arci-lecture. This paper describes who they were, how they worked, and thebuildings they made in this land between two cultures. It concludes with anexplortion of the process used to create magnificent diversity within a cul-tural continuum.At the beginning of the eighteenth century, the villages and small Yugoslavia,Bulgaria and western Turkey were composed of compact, yet distinct sub-cultures working and living in a symbiotic way. The strong physical contin-uity of the dwellings throughout the area speaks of a unique building process that was able to embrace the many sub-cultures. While Turk, Greek, Bul-gar, Viach and Jew maintained distinct languages and beliefs, the housesbuilt for such a diversity vary only slightly in their plan and detail.The grand houses, major works of architecture though they are, were notthe product of trained architects, nor were they built by residents as part ofa layman's vernacular. Rather, these dwellings were the product of an ex-tensive network of "design build" teams, direct descendants of the Byzantinebuilders quild.Contact and competition between the teams produced powerful and uniquebuldings which are only recently being documented. Many centers into theform, detail, and decoration of their building. Descending from only a fewmountain villages, and speking a secret builders dialect, these teamscreated a building by calling on a number of rules, or central qualities thatwould suggest an iconic house. Such an image was flexible enough, and at such a deep level that it could not only adapt to site and client but to sub-culture as well. This was the result of the strength of interconnectednesswithin the guild and the power of the central qualities.The houses that survive from that sensitive and responsible system testifyto an integrated process of bulding and culture based on a shared vision inwhich designing and building were united in craft. The eight central qualitiesthat shaped each house have a lineage in time across many cultures. Theremay be lessons from these places that can speak to our contemporary searchfor continutiy with a human face contiuity that can emerge from our ownculturally diverse and pluralistic world."