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Idea by

Michael Hirschbichler

http://www.atelier-hirschbichler.com

Zurich, Switzerland
Michael Hirschbichler works on the threshold of art, architecture and anthropology. Moving between research and speculative transformation and employing a wide range of media, he explores how cultural, social, political, religious and scientific narratives, mythologies and ideologies materialize and shape the spaces we live in. He taught at ETH Zurich, HSLU Lucerne and directed the architecture program at the Papua New Guinea University of Technology.

It’s time to let go of the ‘primitive hut’


Papua New Guinean lessons for future complexity

It’s time to let go of the ‘primitive hut’


Papua New Guinean lessons for future complexity
Beyond the colonial ideology of the ‘primitive hut’, a better understanding of indigenous art and architecture might help to challenge some of the impasses of Western modernity.
File under
Type of project
  • Systemic changes

The idea of the ‘primitive hut’ stubbornly haunts the discipline of architecture. A colonial instrument in the quest for origins, it fashions a ground zero for building (and the cultures built thereupon). Travelling through time to primitive beginnings was – and often still is – equated with travelling through space (away from Western ‘civilization’), establishing a hierarchy of cultures with Europe at the top. In order to understand the richness and complexity of non-Western cultures, it is time to finally let go of the ‘primitive hut’ and its fake simplicity. Through a detailed investigation of the cult and spirit houses of Papua New Guinea I would like to expose the incredible material and sociocultural richness of indigenous architecture and art and learn from it for the future, in the West and elsewhere. Just as we may assume the future to be complex and challenging, we must know that also the past (and its spatial correlate: the distant ‘other’), is neither uniform nor simple.


Murik cult house, Big Murik, Papua New Guinea

Murik cult house, Big Murik, Papua New Guinea

Gogodala long house, Isago, Western Province, Papua New Guinea

Gogodala long house, Isago, Western Province, Papua New Guinea

Abelam cult house, Kalabu, Sepik Region, Papua New Guinea

It’s time to let go of the ‘primitive hut’


Papua New Guinean lessons for future complexity

It’s time to let go of the ‘primitive hut’


Papua New Guinean lessons for future complexity
Beyond the colonial ideology of the ‘primitive hut’, a better understanding of indigenous art and architecture might help to challenge some of the impasses of Western modernity.
File under
Type of project
  • Systemic changes

The idea of the ‘primitive hut’ stubbornly haunts the discipline of architecture. A colonial instrument in the quest for origins, it fashions a ground zero for building (and the cultures built thereupon). Travelling through time to primitive beginnings was – and often still is – equated with travelling through space (away from Western ‘civilization’), establishing a hierarchy of cultures with Europe at the top. In order to understand the richness and complexity of non-Western cultures, it is time to finally let go of the ‘primitive hut’ and its fake simplicity. Through a detailed investigation of the cult and spirit houses of Papua New Guinea I would like to expose the incredible material and sociocultural richness of indigenous architecture and art and learn from it for the future, in the West and elsewhere. Just as we may assume the future to be complex and challenging, we must know that also the past (and its spatial correlate: the distant ‘other’), is neither uniform nor simple.


Murik cult house, Big Murik, Papua New Guinea

Murik cult house, Big Murik, Papua New Guinea

Gogodala long house, Isago, Western Province, Papua New Guinea

Gogodala long house, Isago, Western Province, Papua New Guinea

Abelam cult house, Kalabu, Sepik Region, Papua New Guinea


Idea by

Michael Hirschbichler
Zurich
Switzerland
Michael Hirschbichler works on the threshold of art, architecture and anthropology. Moving between research and speculative transformation and employing a wide range of media, he explores how cultural, social, political, religious and scientific narratives, mythologies and ideologies materialize and shape the spaces we live in. He taught at ETH Zurich, HSLU Lucerne and directed the architecture program at the Papua New Guinea University of Technology.