Representation of the Vitruvian ‘Primitave Hut’ by Marc-Antoine Laugier
We were speaking about the archetypal home, or architecture and I began to make connections to many thoughts I have been having surrounding the subject.
Often when I understand the role of the contemporary architect I think back to basic human needs in creation of shelter. It was an act concerned with collecting immediate resources and creating a solution. This solution can be achieved in a variety of ways including finding wood and stones, or by finding a near by cave. In our modern globalized world where extreme specialization has occurred the architect must remember his role as an extension of this ancient act. Now this process has become effected by our constructed economic, political and social systems.
In a recent discussions with a group of classmates we explored these ideas. In our proposal for the Migrating Landscapes competition for this years Architecture Biennale the group looked at what generates culture and how it progresses. Being in Canada, a culture of cultures, we must re examine our beginnings in relation to our current situation.
During the modern era of architecture we understood this landscape in an entirely new way, we began to focus on functionality, efficiency and newly created technologies such as the automobile, the house became a machine for living. I am reminded of a visit last year to the Villa Savoye by Corbusier. The structure was lifted off the landscape establishing a second plane on which to live. The newly formed lower space becomes shaped by the turning radius of the car - an element which determines the houses scale.
This project is one of many of Corbusier’s built works that represents his concept of the Domino House. This idea represents a shift in building construction, focusing on the use of reinforced concrete. Using this material created thinner floor slabs, supported by inset columns, which allowed for a free facade. Now the exterior walls were freed from their load bearing responsibilities, a pivotal point in the foundation of the modern era. This is displayed in many early modernist buildings such as the Open Air School by Duiker which we had the opportunity to visit recently.
I am currently studying the Olivetti Complex in Ivrea Italy which provides a beautiful example of how architecture and technology evolve through time to represent and define social values. Pictures of the built factory timeline taken recently on a trip will be uploaded shortly.
Although it is important to look back and study the primitive hut to increase our awareness and understanding of our immediate resources, we must snap into the present and realize just how complex this landscape has become. Today’s landscape is being constructed by the computer and the Internet - the tools of the Information Age. This virtual World has a complex set of effects and implications that must be navigated by todays contemporary designer or architect.
This set of observations is connected with recent projects that will be updated in the coming weeks.