|hunter-gatherer type shelter|
It is universally understood that the fundamental basic human needs are food, shelter, and clothing. History offers numerous examples of peoples that have that have been deprived of one, or a combination of these needs. Whatever that causes, the results were, and are still, pretty bleak - starvation, exposure, disease. The importance of these basic human needs should not be underestimated. Although these basic needs are all interconnected, I am attempting to remove one of the needs, shelter, for further examination.
On to the connection with architecture. Conventional wisdom is that while architecture shelters, that is only part of the story. The late architect and theoretician Philip Johnson was quoted as saying "All architecture is shelter, all great architecture is the design of space that contains, cuddles, exalts, or stimulates the persons in that space."
|Ziggurat at Ur|
As agrarinan societies developed it was no longer necessary for shelter to be temporary. Early societies began to grow well beyond small tribes and the shelters that were constructed could be more perminent. These new societies permitted specialized roles for its citizens which led to specialized buildings. Agricultural buildings, Sacred buildings, civic buildings and palaces emerged. They began to understand that these buildings could do more that provide shelter. If manipulated in the correct manner, they could raise their spirits. These new building types began to take on increasing importance to their societies. They still sheltered, but they did much more. At some point they became, in Johnson's words, "great architecture."
|The Wynn, LasVega|
Reflecting on my writing of this post, it seemed somewhat ironic that I am only now writing about the connection to the basic need that is most closely akin to architecture. I have written several posts on the connections between food and architecture and a couple on the connection between clothing and architecture. Another seemingly obvious topic about which I have failed to write is of the connection between architecture and space. That will be the topic of the next post, Shaping Space.