Nomadic Concepts through the Ages / Manuel Gsaller

06 22nd, 2018

“The word fit may be defined in the most generous terms imaginable, but it still does not necessarily imply the erection of buildings. Environments may be made fit for human beings by any number of means.”

Banham, cited by Langevin, 2008

Nomadism has always been the adaption of societies to a diverse set of environments.This begs the question: How much does the environment influence living situations? 

This adaption does not stop with the modern types of nomadism. The reasons for the choice of rejecting the conventional settled live are varied, including among others economic and cultural reasons. The lifestyle of modern digital nomads, as well as labour migration is basically an act to adapt to the economic pressures of a globalised world. While it is less about reaction to environmental influences and much more about economical pressure and fitting oneself into existing organised societies. 

In this book the question is raised, what traits contemporary nomads, mainly the digital nomads, share with their historic counterparts, and what deficiencies they have in comparison. 

A throwback to historic nomadic societies shows, how nomads merely use inhabited space instead of straight out acquiring and heavily modifying it. Nomadism was more of a reaction to a changing situation.

To analyse this in an architectural settings we will look at projects by architects of the 1920s and 1960s that added nomadic attributes to their urban utopias. They often react to the societal and political problems of their time and also deal with a theme of adaptation an transience. Technological development was always used as basis for those ideas.

The border crossing and open ended concepts presented in the fourth section heavily play with the idea of unconventional space realisations both on a merely sensual level as well as on a more physical one.

In the end there is a proposal of a structure that, like the iconic dwellings of traditional nomads, should take into account the specific needs of a modern day digital nomad.

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