Images of Home
In 1755 Marc-Antoine Laugier, a Jesuit priest and architectural theorist, published the second edition of his Essay on Architecture, including a now iconic illustration (to architects and architectural students at least) of a ‘primitive hut.’
Depicting a simple structure of unhewn wooden posts supporting a two-sided sloped roof, this allegorical engraving speaks to the far earlier Vitruvian idea that ancient Greek temples owed their architectural language, including the gabled roof shape, to the earliest manmade dwellings: four posts supporting a roof sloped to shed rainwater.
This image, with it’s ancient, romantic logic had a profound effect on me as I began studying architecture. And growing up in Western Pennsylvania, among gable roofed homes, barns, and industrial buildings, the continuum from ancient shelter to present day was clear.
As I became more familiar with the development of architectural form, the tenets of early modernism were equally compelling, especially Corbusier’s boxes on pilotis.
But the familiar image of the gable roof, connoting shelter and residence, enduring throughout history, and with its structural simplicity and easy constructability, has stuck with me.