1 Polar cognition is incompatible to the analytical system of thought. The first perceives the environment in harmonious analogies, the other defines objects by analytically judging its characteristics (quality, quantity, etc.)

2 Criterias of the applied 3rd/1st world concept.

3 A grown-up chimpanzee female is building her nest in the crown of a palm-tree (Goodall 1962)

4 Goodall (1962) gives a sketch of how the basic elements used by the subhuman builder are intervowen to form a stable base.

5 Gorillas build ground-nests close to the ground (Bolwig 1959).

6 Izawa and Itani drew the structure of six chimpanzee nests. 5, 7, 8 and 9 are essentially tripods, 6 represents a platform supported by two inclined trees. 4 shows a tree- nest supported partially by a slender tree and by a horizontal piece of thick wood to which the nest is fixed.

7 Goodall (1962) describes various positions of chimpanzees in their nests. There seems to exist a considerable behavioural individualism in basically the same situation.

8 Rain doesn't much bother the animal . Goodall gives this drawing of a chimpanzee sitting in his nest during rain.

9 Different stages of the mother-child relation are reflected in different stages of the nestform (Kawai/Mizuhara 1954).

10a Horizontal plan of a group of 6 gorilla-nests used during a night camp in mountainous woods (Kawai/ Mizuhara 1959)

10b This horizontal plan was reconstructed vertically so as to give a kind of architects view of the gorilla nesting site. For better view materials not used for construction are cut off. The visual relations among the animals might thus be of lesser importance than the audio relation produced by the working process and the animals voices. Mother and baby are placed in the centre of the group and in an elevated tree-nest. The dominating male is most exposed in his ground-nest. Maybe he protects the access path to the nesting site.

11 Distribution of orangutan nests in an area of about 6 km2. The clusters are rather disperse, not clearly related to rivers.

12 Distribution of chimpanzee-nests in the area researched by Izawa and Itani (1966). The clusters are preferably located in the trees of 18-25 m height (steep slopes of valleys).


The plates A-F give a selection of the historical and ethnological materials documented as 'semantic architecture'. Detailed description and bibliography will be given in another publication.


1 Function of semantic architecture based on reconstructions in Japan: territorial demarcation of village territory: A = prehistorical (pre-buddhistic); B = historical Shinto, influenced by Buddhism (with outer and inner torii and Shinto-shrine)

2a Those who 'make' the sign 'own' it and thus also are 'owners' of the territory

2b Different forms represent different villages

3a The main sign is instituted by the village founder at the foundation of the village and from then on annually renewed with new materials. The form of the perishable sign can thus be preserved over a considerable period of time. The renewal of the sign is the central function of these rituals. In relation with the house of the village-founder whose representant is priest of the village-cult and chief of the village, it documents the social hierarchy of the settlement.

3b Semantic architecture set at the foundation of settlement defines its layout (coincidence of opposite domains: a natural part is set in polar relation with cultural domains like agricultural fields and space for dwellings. The relations among founderhouse, descendants and later newcomers forms the basis of the local hierarchy.

4 Binding thin linear elements to form a bundle always creates geometry!

5 The sign defines front and back and a central axis with an mobile empty upper part and a compact and stable lower part. The sacred rope marks the centre where the opposites 'coincide'

6 Reconstruction of structural and formal analogies provided by the principle of >coincidence of opposites<. Though the semantic function of the signs requests differenciation, they all obey to the principle of harmony of opposite categories and thus show a formal system of unity and difference at the same time.


8 Coincidence of opposites among territorial signs as cognitive principle. An 'artificial' tree which is built in the region surveyed lead to an interesting hypothesis for the cultural perception (or the 'discovery'!) of the natural tree (and natural objects in general). The multi-categorial structure of 'coincidence of opposites' with which the semantic builder is familiar is transferred to the natural tree, first in the function as a territorial marker (tree- cult!), then in a general sense.

9 What correponds to the principle of 'coincidence of opposites' and thus expresses harmony was of highest value since the beginnings of Japanese art-history.


B Forms found in the region surveyed by the author.

C Forms found in other parts of Japan (plates based partially on Japanese folklore literature on festivals, partially on field work of the author).


Script seems to have its origins from semantic architecture. Different cultures show very similar prototypes!


1 The concept of >Buildings in the building<, or of accumulation is reflected in an example of the traditional architecture of the Ainu in the north of Japan. The drawing shows how various elements accumulated and formed a harmonious whole:

2 The accumulated whole provides various polar domains (coincidence of opposites):

3 The sacred signs (inau) of the Ainu play an important role in defining use and value of spatial domains of the house and the environment. They mark the borderline between two different domains (nature, culture). During rituals they are the centre of gift exchange between polar domains (nature and culture). With this system of 'coincidence of opposites' the Ainu structure all their activities (dwelling, hunting, fishing, collecting). The sacred signs are the symbolic models of their world-view (similar like the Chinese Yin- Yang-symbol). Thus, house and environment are essentially an accumulation of semantic and domestic architectural elements.

4 Schematic representation of the concept of >buildings in the building<, or accumulation. The elements A, B, C, D, E are originally independent elements which have accumulated through time. Thus the 'house' is not a functional totality but shows its composite character. E. g. the fire (E) in this concept is an independent construction of its own which entered the house in a secondary development. Similarly the windows and the door can be considered as independent structures.

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