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Reading 14 "Geometry and the Primacy of Dwelling" by Norman Crowe


1. domicile

According to Crowe, man created the domicile, or dwelling, in order to "fix certain characterisitics among the ever-changing aspects of the natural world and thereby provide a predictable environment." It has certain characteristics of the natural environment, however, because it arose as a paradigmatic creation of it. Crowe outlines how the man-made built environment imitates the paradigmatic creation of the gods and "personalizes" it. The most complex architecture man has ever conceived of, however, arose from the simple domicile; from the first simple home built, in a sort of Laugier "primitive hut" fashion.

2. paradigm

Architecture and the built environment can be traced back to the first simple structures constructed by man in his attempt to imitate nature, and even further to the first geometric forms arising from nature. The first simple architectural structures constructed by man were very close to the natural world. Over time, our dwellings have distanced themselves from the natural paradigmatic roots of our physical world.


1. Crowe notes that architect Louis I. Kahn once pointed out that "architecture cannot be reinvented; it must evolve so that...When the work is completed, the beginning must be felt." (page 63) What does this tell us about the roots of architecture and the nature of the built environment?

2. Crowe explores the nature of the "house" on pages 41-42. He cites Gaston Bachelard in proclaiming that "the house is the human being's first world." (41) Crowe goes on to illustrate how the "house" model has shaped all subsequent architecture (the courthouse, the houses of parliament, etc...) In illustrating such, is Crowe advocating a purity in architectural form similar to that advocated by Laugier and the architectural purists of the Greek revival camp of the 17th and 18th Centuries?