Sunday, 15 November 2009

The Origin of Architecture - Nest Building

Architectural anthropology is described as: ‘At the end of the sixties, in the course of the so-called 'crisis of modern architecture' a movement of architectural theoreticians greatly stimulated by Amos Rapoport's 'Built Form and Culture' (1969) began to widen their horizon into the ethnology of architecture’ (Egentre, 1990).
In this sense it is the research into the history of architecture. Together with an illustration of five lines of architectural evolution it is presented as a comprehensive body of work into the understanding of how architecture developed into a technological sophisticated science. But essentially it argues that as long as humans (even great apes) had a urge to adjust the environment to suit specific needs.
Interesting to me seems the argument that architecture can be traced back to the nest building of great apes. However this will definitely be challenged with questions around design and the idea of a discipline of architecture as opposed to individual temporal structures. However this is probably an argumentation of modernist understanding of the ‘plan’. Nevertheless I would argue that between temporal structures of ‘night beds’ constructed by apes and a detailed concept of space and time lies a big gap. It might be down to a few million years of evolution, I don’t know.
The argument is logic, however I would remind that a lot of species build nests or construct temporal structures. Even more beyond the nest usually animals have a clear concept of space and the idea of ‘owned space’ in the sense of a territorial behavior. This territory is marked for example by a black bird singing or a cat spraying. In this context the argument might look different.

Image by Nold Egenter - The plate indicates a Macro-Theory of the Evolution of Habitat and Architecture and at the same time the Evolution of Culture

For the argumentation and presentation of architectural project a lot of leaps an crazy combinations are undertaken. And recently nests have seen a rise in popularity, but I have not heard H&dM arguing for their Olympic stadium that the shape is the origin of architecture. However it would fit.

Image taken from creative class - the bird nest at night

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