Original Matters in Architecture
Edited by Jo Odgers, Flora Samuel, Adam Sharr
Routledge – 2006 – 304 pages
This innovative edited collection charts the rise, fall and possible futures of the word primitive.
The word primitive is fundamental to the discipline of architecture in the west, providing a convenient starting point for the many myths of architecture's origins. Since the almost legendary 1970s conference on the Primitive, with the advent of post-modernism and, in particular, post-colonialism, the word has fallen from favour in many disciplines. Despite this, architects continue to use the word to mythologize and reify the practice of simplicity.
Primitive includes contributions from some of today’s leading architectural commentators including Dalibor Vesely, Adrian Forty, David Leatherbarrow, Richard Weston and Richard Coyne. Structured around five sections, Negotiating Origins; Urban Myths; Questioning Colonial Constructs; Making Marks; and Primitive Futures, the essays highlight the problematic nature of ideas of the primitive, engage with contemporary debate in the field of post colonialism and respond to a burgeoning interest in the non-expert architecture.
This now controversial subject remains, for better or worse, intrinsic to the very structure of Modernism and deeply embedded in architectural theory. Considering a broad range of approaches, this book provides a rounded past, present and future of the word primitive in the architectural sphere.
Part I: Original Matters 1. Primitive: The Word and Concept Adrian Forty Part II: Negotiating Origins 2. The Primitive as Modern Problem: Invention and Crisis Dalibor Vesely 3. Origins Redefined: A Tale of Pigs and Primitive Huts Mari Hvattum 4. The Primitive Hut: Fantasies of Survival in an All White World Lorens Holm 5. Semper's Primitive Hut: Dureation, Construction and Self-Creation Jonathan Hale 6. Mineral Matters: Formation and Transformation Richard Weston Part III: Questioning Colonial Constructs 7. Post-Colonizing the Primitive Felipe Hernandez and Lea Knudson Allen 8. Notes for an Alternative History of the Primitive Hut Stephen Cairns 9. Reinventing 'Primitiveness': Henri Lacoste and the Belgian Congo Pavilion at the 1931 Colonial Exposition in Paris Johan Lagae 10. The Radicalisation of the Primitive in Brazilian Modernism Styliane Phillipou 11. The Need to be Critical Robert Brown Part IV: Urban Myths 12. Practically Primitive David Leatherbarrow 13. Giants and Columns Nick Temple 14. The Emblematic City: John Wood and the Refounding of Bath Jo Odgers 15. Alvar Aalto and the Primitive Suburb Harry Charrington 16. Metaphorical Manhattan: Paradise Lost Lorna McNeur Part V: Making Marks 17. The Perception of Self-Navigation in the Space of Emptiness: The Primitive in Tadao Ando's Architecture Jin Baek 18. The 'Primitive' Surface: Carving, Modelling, Marking and Transformation Stephen Kite 19. The Modern Day Primitive Hut? 'Self Building' with Jung, Aalto and Le Corbusier Flora Samuel and Sarah Menin 20. The Wisdom of the Sands Simon Unwin Part VI: Primitive Futures? 21. Digital Commerce and the Primitive Roots of Architectural Consumption Richard Coyne 22. The Primitive and the Everyday: Sergison Bates, Lefebvre and the Guilt of Architectural Expertise Adam Sharr 23. Heart of Darkness: Air of Comfort Helen Mallinson 24. Primitive: From which Construction Begins Peter Salter 25. United Cultures of Britain C.J. Lim
Jo Odgers is an architect and lecturer at the Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University. She previously worked in architectural practice for 15 years. She is currently working on the architecture and writings of John Wood of Bath in relation to the tradition of Occult Philosophy. She is Associate Editor of arq (Cambridge University Press). Her next project (with Flora Samuel) is a book entitled Facades.
Flora Samuel is an architect and senior lecturer at the Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University. Co-author, with Sarah Menin, of Nature and Space: Aalto and Le Corbusier and author of Le Corbusier: Architect and Feminist she is currently writing Le Corbusier in Detail as a Leverhulme Fellow. She has a particular interest in the narratives implicit within the construction of buildings and was one of the original initiators of the Primitive conference from which this book has evolved.
Adam Sharr is a lecturer at the Welsh School of Architecture and principal of Adam Sharr Architects, based in Cardiff. His book Heidegger’s Hut will be published by The MIT Press in 2006. He is Associate Editor of arq (Cambridge University Press), editor of made and Joint Secretary of AHRA (Architectural Humanities Research Association).