The 'Primordial Hut' of architectural theory and the nest?building behaviour of the higher apes

by Nold Egenter

This study was first published (in German) in 1983 in UMRISS, a well-known Viennese journal for architecture and Design (Nr.2/:2-9). Later, in 1987, a modified version, in both English and Japanese, was printed in the Japanese architectural journal 'Architecture and Urbanism' (A&U, Nr.197/Feb.). As early as in 1982, this topic was dealt with in a paper entitled 'Nest?building of the pongidae - a form of subhuman constructivity?' which was held at the annual meeting of the 'American Anthropological Association' in Washington (4.-7. Dec.), in the section 'Primatology: Evolutionary Processes?'. The primatologists attending the lecture instantly realized the potential of the approach in view of human brain development and responded enthusiastically. This was a great stimulus for the author to pursue this type of research further. In 1985 Groves and Sabater Pi (1985) published their "From Apes Nest to human Fix-Point" which provided new actuality to the topic, but neglected the evolutionary processes of "constructivity" already suggested convincingly by the Yerkes (Yerkes/ Yerkes 1929). A recent publication in 'Current Anthropology' by Sabater Pi et al. (1997) provoked an "Apes-Nest-Controversy" from our side. It maintans that the terrestrial nest of the great apes is a key phenomenon for the understanding of cultural "constructivity" (architectural anthropology, habitat anthropology).

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