John Pawson, Minimum
The primitive hut by Charles Eisen for Frontispiece of Marc-Antoine Laugier: Essai sur l’architecture represents not only ideal self-sufficient structure at the time but also shows universality of timber use in building structure.
In a primitive hut all its elements: columns, beams and rafters are made entirely of fresh cut wood and work as a whole superstructure. Structure is assembled without any additional bonding elements and therefore seems suspicious.
In my opinion this drawing is an allegory about universality of vernacular principles and their connection with nature. It also represents idea about simplicity as human quality against complexity of nature.
Wood is simple and sophisticated at the same time. It is the only one building material which is a living organism. None of building materials is so diverse, complex and inconstant as wood.
Complexity of wood is not only in its physical properties but also in structural principles used in timber structures through the centuries. Timber works best in structural system where each element is assisted, compensated by another. Joints are crucial in these systems and they must be precise and effective to achieve strength and toughness of the whole structure.
The minimalist hut represents basic, essential structure accomplished in such a way to achieve simplicity and clarity of building language. The aim is to use joints without fasteners, bindings or adhesive. Structural elements are interconnected together only by interlocking and fixed with hardwood plugs.
The minimalist hut uses limited size of standard timber: beam 75x150 or 75x100mm.
Ridge and cornice detail drawings
Process of making.
Cornice detail - complete structure
Ridge detail - complete structure