Yanomami´s Shabono
Font: Wikimedia Commons

The primitive hut is a concept in the history of architecture that alludes to its origin as a logical consequence of human development. Societies modify the environment and create architectural spaces in response to room needs. Which are the product of the sedentary.

«Therefore, on the occasion of the fire, meetings, assemblies and life in common arose among men, which were increasingly seen in one place; (…) Some began to obtain roofs using branches and others to dig grottoes under the mountains, and some to do, imitating the nests of the swallows with mud and branches, enclosures where they could shelter. Then, others, observing the roofs of their neighbors and adding new ideas, were improving their hut types day by day. (…) At first they planted horcones, and intertwining them with branches they raised walls that covered with mud; others built, with lumps and dry lawns, on which they placed crossed timbers, covering all this with reeds and dry branches to protect themselves from the rains and heat; but so that such roofs could withstand the winter rains, they topped them on end and covered them with mud so that, thanks to the sloping roofs, the water slipped.

First chapter of Book II of The ten books of Architecture , Vitruvio

  • Before Hut

There is a human group that still lives in a phase prior to the primitive hut. In the North Sentinel Island its inhabitants have been living as hunter gatherers for tens of thousands of years, obtaining what they need from the ecosystem without altering it, the Sentinelenses.

Indigenous North Sentinel Island
Font © Indian Coastguard/Survival

On November 17, 2018, the death of a preacher on the part of an indigenous uncontacted tribe on the North Sentinel Island, located in the Andarman islands, India, was news. This unfortunate incident drew the attention of the general public about the existence of this tribe.

The Sentinelenses are the only isolated human group in the Old World, they inhabit that island since the Pleistocene. They do not know the navigation and it is possible that their ancestors came walking from the continent when the sea level was much lower.

On the map you can see the North Sentinel Island, as far as we know from the Sentinelenses they do not know the fire and agriculture, being possibly the last totally paleolithic human community that remains. No structures have been found or logging of the dense jungle of the island has been appreciated, which is verifiable in satellite images.

It is possible that the Sentinelenses sleep in the trees, in small bivouacs to protect themselves from the rain, as some nomadic tribes of the Amazon do. In any case, its culture is prior to the modification of the landscape and the creation of Architecture.

  • The hut

La creación de la cabaña primitiva implica la necesidad de un espacio semipermanente donde habitar con el fin de almacenar y procesar recursos. Es un salto cualitativo en la complejidad social, que acaba desembocando en  la sociedad urbana.
Muchas tribus aisladas siguen manteniendo modelos arquitectónicos que responden a sociedades incipientemente agrícolas que siguen dependiendo de la caza y la recolección.

Shabono Yanomami, 1961
Fuente René Fuerst

El caso de los yanomami es paradigmático. Al carecer de estratificación social ni tener concepto de propiedad privada, su espacio de habitación es común y los recursos almacenados se comparten. Su arquitectura típica es el Sabono, el cual es una gran casa comunal de planta anular.

Tradicionalmente los Sabono estan fortificados con una empalizada.
Fuente Wikimedia Commons

No todos los grupos  tribales no contactados tienen una estructura social horizontal como los Yanomami. La estratificación social implica la creación de estructuras arquitectónicas diferenciadas. Ésto es lo mas comun en las sociedades totalmente agrícolas, ya que la necesidad de protección de los cultivos y el crecimiento demográfico acaba desembocando en la formación del concepto de propiedad de la tierra y de clases sociales.

En la Amazonia muchas de las tribus no contactadas mantienen esas estructuras sociales neolíticas aunque son nómadas. Esto se puede explicar debido a que en realidad llevan pocas generaciones como nómadas. Dado que huir a la selva fue su única forma de salvarse de persecuciones durante la colonización de sus tierras. Por lo que pasaron a llevar un estilo de vida más primitivo.

Tribu no contactada estado de Acre, Brasil
Fuente Wikimedia Commons

En la imagen superior se puede ver un ejemplo de comunidad amazónica con estratificación social jerarquizada. Sus cabañas se agrupan formando una T. Al contario que con los Yanomami cada grupo social dispone de su cabaña y sus recursos, orientandose todas las cabañas hacia la del líder del grupo.

1 Comment

AffiliateLabz · 16 February, 2020 at 1:25 am

Great content! Super high-quality! Keep it up! 🙂

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