07/31/2018 _Perspective

Building New Concepts

Concepts in Indigenous Architecture as an Interdisciplinary Enhancement Factor?

1_Introduction: On Accordance and Discordance between Architecture, Intention, and Translation

In order to discuss ‘travelling concepts’ in indigenous architecture, the latter’s characteristics will be introduced with an overview of indigenous building traditions in Central America, focusing on the eight remaining indigenous peoples of Costa Rica: Ngöbe, Bribri, Cabécar, Boruca, Térraba, Huetar, Maleku, and Chorotega. An in-depth comparative investigation into architectural cultures in Central America reveals various independent and unique building types and traditions, as well as similarities in basic principles and symbolism. The analyzed architectural traditions show the independent development of ground floor shapes, structures, materiality, ceremonies, and symbolism, articulated in different basic shapes, deriving from round, oval, and rectangular ground plots with various roof constructions and three-dimensional projections (see fig. 1).

Fig. 1: Basic shapes with three-dimensional projections of different Costa Rican indigenous architectural traditions. [1]
The selection of typology varies significantly from culture to culture. Despite their territorial proximity, the architecture traditions in Central America and Costa Rica differ greatly and show different architectural solutions (see fig. 2–6), notwithstanding proven relations between some of them. [2]