Los Angeles—based Bureau Spectacular has designed an indoor treehouse that reconsiders Marc-Antoine Laugier’s 18th-century idea of the so-called “primitive hut.” The installation—dubbed Another Primitive Hut—will be featured in an upcoming episode of the Seattle-focused travel show Been There, Made That produced by Vox Creative to highlight the city for Millennial arts and culture-focused travelers.
Bureau Spectacular’s installation hearkens toward Laugier’s vision of the semiotic, platonic ideal of a primitive dwelling, where a home’s structure is made up of the trunks of a grove of trees and the roof consists of the tree canopies above. But, instead of calling for a more fundamental, stripped-down view of building and shelter as Laugier did—Laugier’s Enlightenment era treatise was written at a time of intense fascination with lavish, Baroque architectural forms—Bureau Spectacular has created an idiosyncratic melange of repurposed contemporary architectural symbols.
Bureau Spectacular founder Jimenez Lai, in his design for Another Primitive Hut, combines the notion of Laugier’s idealized hut with the architectural manifestations of several other canonical dwelling spaces, namely Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye and the Roman Parthenon, by merging the forest canopy, the latter buildings’s roof and the former structures’s triangular pediment into an enclosed dwelling space lifted above the ground on piloti made from dimensional lumber. The space is meant to act as a “welcome chamber” for friends and family and call into question contemporary forms of humanity.
The structure also draws inspiration from OMA’s Seattle Public Library, which a press release for Another Primitive Hut describes as “a floating stack of stories to accommodate the 21st century Human.” In the press release, the architects also ask, “What does Laugier’s old idea that architecture should be derived from nature even mean, when nature now consists of the materials and detritus of consumerism, rather than the perpendicular trunks of trees?”
Lai and Bureau Spectacular were invited to The Emerald City exhibition by Visit Seattle, a Seattle-focused tourism group. For more information on Been There, Made That and Visit Seattle, see the Visit Seattle website.