Porches and the Primitive Hut
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How concepts of the "primitive hut" and "back-to-nature" relate to porch design. Continue reading →
The idea of escape to a simpler more relaxing way of living is especially appealing right now. In my case that would mean lounging on a porch — like this
elegant screened version by In Situ Studio — my head buried in a good spy novel
(photos courtesy In Situ Studio). The Roman architect Vitruvius believed that all architecture began with the primitive hut, which I think you could say is in the DNA of most great porches. Later philosophers, like the former Jesuit priest Abbe Laugier in his Essay On Architecture of 1753, adopted this idea and visualized the first buildings as simple — but classical — lean-tos made from tree trunks. You can see the
roots — literally! — of the classical pediment in that triangle of twigs at the top. The big idea was that architecture evolved as a refinement of elemental nature, meaning that the tree is simply a column in its primitive state. Or, put another way — in the beginning there was a gazebo! (Remember that Jean-Jacques Rousseau is talking about man’s natural state at this time as well.) This elemental and romantic nature-based concept remains powerful — think of Henry David Thoreau’s back-to-nature shack on Walden Pond or the evolution of the camping tent — especially among architects and designers and almost
anyone looking for rest or relaxation, as this wonderful recent example designed and built by Alan Brown on the Big Island of Hawaii — out of mostly recycled materials — shows. Note to Thoreau: Why build in the cold-climate east when you can enjoy balmy evenings with scents of plumeria and ginger on the slopes of Mauna Kea?! (Photo courtesy Alan Brown)
Moscow architects Kerimov Prishin designed their Arbor 15 project as a
very logical when you think that conversation in the dining room is the subject of so many plays and film scripts (photos courtesy the architects via designboom). It’s the outdoor dining room as dacha…Chekov, anyone?
Perhaps the most extreme form of the porch as primitive hut is a unit at the famous Swedish Treehotel (another room was mentioned in an earlier post) in
the shape of a giant nest, as shown here — or is it a condorminium…(image courtesy Treehotel).
Though most porches are attached to houses, it’s also true that many rooms can grow up to become porches; it just takes a little education and the addition of a
folding window wall or two. Which is what happens in the kitchen of Plan 48-46,